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AMA NGPC Championship Round 4 | 29 Palms, CA
The 29 Palms NGPC is fast and furious. The average moving speed for the riders is in the mid-40mph’s, and that’s including a tight corral section, rocks single-track, and the motocross track. So, what that means, is that over the rest of the desert terrain, the riding are absolutely moving. With such a fast course, the ninety-minute pro-race seems to fly by quicker than normal. And with conditions on Sunday afternoon typically including a bit of dust, early track position makes a huge difference for the racers.
Tyler Lynn — 5th Pro
As the starting lights blazed green, Tyler had a decent drive, but was just outside of some of his main competitors as the pack of pro riders entered the first corner. Lynn was at the edge of the top-5 through the opening lanes of the motocross track, where the action was fast and frenetic. Each rider knew track position would be key, as they reached the end of the MX track—and the beginning of the faster desert—which made for aggressive passing attempts. When the 450 pro riders began to string out, Tyler had settled into seventh position.
Through the opening laps, Lynn held a solid pace, just behind the Yamaha of Trevor Stewart. As the race neared the hour-mark, Tyler visibly upped his pace, as he settled into the track, and was able to overtake Stewart for sixth just before the pit stops. From there, the Kawasaki rider closed the distance to fifth-place Justin Hoeft in a hurry. Lynn looked to have the speed to make the pass, and even close in on the rider ahead. However, the dust had thickened up by that time, which made it tough for Tyler to get close enough to make an overtaking attempt. When the white flag came out, it appeared as though Lynn would have to settle for sixth on the day. But the KX450X-mounted rider wasn’t quite done. In the last one-third of the final lap, Tyler closed right up to the rear wheel of Hoeft. As the riders rocketed down the final straightaway, Hoeft made a slight mistake in lapped traffic. The mistake opened the door just enough for Lynn to accelerate by and lock down his first top-five finish of the season, right before the final turn.
Robby Bell — 1st Vet AA
A full row of vet riders lined up for Saturday’s 30+ AA/A race, with Robby Bell lined up toward the outside. Bell didn’t get the best jump off the line, but was able to flow around the outside of the first corner and come out in third place. From there, the KX450X-mounted team manager passed into second place halfway through the motocross track. He then went for a wild ride when Bell hit a sloshy patch of mud before a tall, dirt-covered tire wall. The mud slide sent Robby into an unplanned scrub off the side of the tire wall. Luckily, Bell was able to land on his wheel on the side of the track, and didn’t lose any positions in the incident.
From there, Bell worked to close the gap to the leading Dustin Pulliam. About halfway into the first lap, the leader blew a corner at the end of a high-speed, asphalt straight, which opened the door for Bell to motor by. The antics weren’t quite finished for the Kawasaki rider, though. At the start of the second lap, Bell again hit a soggy spot in between two jumps, which sent him flying off the track, and straight toward a eight-foot-tall bush, when his traction caught. Bell threw the bike sideways as he headed toward the bush, in order not to torpedo face first into it. Simultaneously, Robby held the throttle near wide-open to prevent getting stuck in the branches, and when his rear tire hooked up, it sent him perpendicularly across the track—quite the sight for second-place Nic Stover. After that excursion, Bell was able to smooth it out and hold onto the lead to take his fourth win of the season in as many attempts.
“The speed at 29 Palms never disappoints, as every year the talk of the pits is how fast the pace is at that place. It seems to make the race go by really quickly, too, as the riders are covering an expansive course really quickly. Tyler had a great ride in the pro race. He was steady through the opening laps, and you could see when he was able to dial his pace up. With a little less dust, he may have been able to advance further up the field. But even so, he rode strong and should take some confidence from passing and matching some podium-contenders while coming through the dust to take his first NGPC top-five.” - Robby Bell, Team Manager