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Apr 15, 2019

2019 WORCS Round 5 - Las Vegas

The Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts/Kawasaki Team Green crew invaded "Sin City" for the fifth round of the 2019 WORCS series. The Las Vegas round is a very unique stop on the circuit. The tight, arena-style racing is quite a break from the traditional terrain. Additionally, the endurocross-style obstacles and shorter race length increases the intensity and unpredictability. Zach Bell was lined up on the inside for the dead-engine start of the 45-minute pro race. At the wave of the green flag, his bike fired instantly and Bell was only beaten to the first turn by his teammate. Bell was able to square up his stablemate early on lap one and secured the lead. Just as the first lap ended, Bell made a small bobble in the difficult rock section, losing the lead to a competitor.Within a couple laps, Bell had found the lead pace and closed the distance on the two front runners. Around the halfway point, Bell was able to make a pass in the log session for second place. From there, Bell set quick laps, trading fast times with the leader, and closing to within 10 seconds. From there Bell held a good pace to the finish, losing a little time in the closing ten minutes, but claiming an impressive second."The whole weekend went great. I'm getting better and better in the rocks and more comfortable in these kinds of obstacles. I got off to a second-place start behind Blayne again, he ripped the start. It was a good position considering my start pick. I made a few mistakes the first couple laps and those guys got around me. Looking back, I was being a little timid the first few laps with how slick it was. Once we got into the later laps, lappers played a part in the race. The lappers were battling and I couldn't get by them for a while. Getting second here is great. I'm learning and building, and feeling good."Blayne Thompson's KX™450 fired up instantly, earning him an uncontested holeshot. Thompson showed good pace early, battling inside the top-five. The fighting continued as he came around to a bit of a pile-up in the rock section. Taking a different line to avoid the stopped riders, Thompson lost traction and got stuck in the rocks. Unfortunately, Thompson's chain derailed in the process. Thompson got his bike out of the section and was able to realign the chain, but he had fallen over a lap down through the incident. Thompson rejoined the race and continued to push to make up as much ground as he could. In the end, he was able make a few passes to salvage an 11th place finish."I got off to an awesome start and ended up getting the holeshot. I pushed a little bit in the beginning, but made a couple little mistakes. From there I just started to ride my own ride. To be honest everybody out-rode me tonight, I'm just not used to these kinds of obstacles. Then I came into the rock section behind a couple guys and they piled up. I tried to get around them, but got stacked up and the chain came off. It was a little bit of a struggle trying to get the bike off to the side of the track. By the time I got the chain back on I was already a lap down. So, I got back on and just rode my race from there."Clay Hengeveld qualified fifth out of the thirty-minute 450A race early in the day, which gave the riders a feel for what was to come that night in the 45-minute Pro 2 Main Event. For the main, the WORCS crew added a slippery pavement section and technical rocks, which would wreak havoc all night. From the middle of the start line, Hengeveld ripped a huge holeshot in the Pro 2 event. Hengeveld held the lead for the first couple laps before dropping back a couple spots. Hengeveld then had a tip-over, but he picked it back up quickly just at the edge of the top-five.For the first half of the race, Hengeveld held solid right outside the top-five before a pile-up in the rock section which really shook things up ahead of him. Hengeveld was able to capitalize, moving into fifth. From there he applied intense pressure on the competition ahead of him, looking for a way by. Hengeveld was right on the heels of fourth place with a coupe laps to go, but suffered an untimely fall in the rocks. The Team Green rider did his best to remount quickly, but lost a position and would cross the line in sixth place."I got off to a great start and got the holeshot [in Pro 2]. Then, to be honest, I was just too conservative on the pavement all night. I did have a few falls, too. I'm happy with how I rode at times, happy with the start, but I think I was just too conservative on the pavement and that's where those guys were getting away. I had a few good runs through the rocks. Then, a few times it was pretty clustered in there with all the Pro 2's and the lights guys. All-in-all, it was a pretty good weekend. I learned a LOT for sure. I feel like I rode well, but not to my full potential so I just want to build into the next few races."

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Mar 25, 2019

2019 WORCS Round 4 - Peoria

The fourth round of the 2019 WORCS series had the feel of an old-school brutal WORCS race to it. Conditions were dryer and warmer than recent rounds. Added to that was a very treacherous racecourse, rocky and rough, with some dust and silt thrown into the mix. Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts/Kawasaki Team Green faced some challenges over the weekend, especially in the pro class, which put their riders further down the results table.Clay Hengeveld — 2nd place Pro 2, 2nd in points | 1st place 450A, 1st in pointClay Hengeveld racing began on Saturday's in the 450A qualifier. Despite a fall, Hengeveld was able to work from seventh place up to third by the time the checkers flew. After the race, a few riders were penalized when the results became official, two of which were the first and second place finishers. As a result, Hengeveld was bumped to first place, which extended his points lead in the class championship.Sunday's two-hour Pro 2 main event was solid, if uneventful, for Clay. He started around fourth and quickly worked up to second on the first lap. From there, Hengeveld wasn't quite able to match the pace of the leader, but he also wasn't getting a challenge from behind. Hengeveld rode a steady, solid race, securing second place and staying close in the championship chase.Zach Bell — 14th place Pro, 7th in pointsZach Bell had a bright start to the two-hour pro race. He was fourth-place early on and able to make the pass for third by the 30 minute mark. From there, Bell was dropping his lap time and inching closer to second-place. Unfortunately, just before the pitstop Bell began to run into some problems which ultimately turned into a crash right after the pit stop, that only further aggravated the issue. With just under an hour still to go, and the problem worsening, Bell came in for a lengthy pit as the team worked to fix it. Bell rejoined the race, but had lost massive time and was shuffled down the order. He crossed the checkers in 14th.Blayne Thompson — 18th place, 9th in pointsUnfortunately for Thompson, his race was over before it really got going. Thompson was able to get off to a decent start, just on the heels of the top-five. However, on the first lap Thompson began to lose power. He made it to the pits, but after considering all options, the team made the call to retire for the day.

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Mar 5, 2019

Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki Team Green's Josh Strang Podiums at Sprint Enduro

Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki Team Green™ lined up this past weekend for the second round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series at Moccasin Creek in Blackshear, Georgia. Defending series champion, Josh Strang took on the 12 different tests over the two days of racing and was able to land on the overall podium in second place. Consistency was the key to Strang's success over the two days of racing. He was able to win a test on each day of racing, and never finished outside of the top-3 in any of the 10 other tests. After two rounds of racing, Strang currently sits in second place overall in the points standings. Jordan Ashburn joined his teammate by riding well, scoring fifth overall and placing two Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki KX™450 machines in the top-5. The Tennessee native scored a fourth and a sixth place finish over the course of two days. Josh Strang – 2nd Place"It was another fun weekend of racing on my Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki Team Green KX450 as we were able to nab another second place overall against a deep field of competition. I am in a really good spot physically and mentally right now and ready for the start of GNCC next weekend!"Jordan Ashburn – 5th Place"I put together a good ride on Saturday where I was just half a second back from a podium position. On Sunday, I struggled a little to adapt to the track changes but was happy to finish the weekend with a fifth overall. We are moving in the right direction, and I can't wait to kick off the GNCC series next weekend in Florida."

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Mar 4, 2019

2019 WORCS Round 3 - Lake Havasu

The Lake Havasu WORCS race course is well-known for its demanding sand whoops and rough terrain. The tighter confines of the location make for shorter lap times, which means more laps for all of the classes. This year's WORCS course exemplified that with the quickest lap times the track has seen in recent history. The WORCS crew had changed up the track to help the flow of the course which many riders preferred, but the trade-off resulted in more laps around an already quick and demanding course. Clay Hengeveld - 2nd place Pro 2 | 8th place 450AHengeveld had a trying time qualifying for the Pro 2 main event out of the 450A race. A minor electrical issue forced him into the pit on the second lap. After the team fixed the issue, Clay rejoined the race in thirty-third position. From there, he charged the entire length of the sixty-minute qualifier and was able to make it up to eighth place at the finish.In Sunday's Pro 2 race, Clay got off to a great start, just about nabbing the holeshot. He led the first third of the race, battling back and forth with another competitor. An unfortunate crash on the seventh lap relegated Clay to second. After the fall, Hengeveld did his best to regroup, but would later take another dirt sample. The second-place finish jumped Clay up to second place in points after round three of eleven.Blayne Thompson - 11th place ProThompson didn't get off to the best of starts in the two-hour pro race. A slight false start on the line seemed to throw him off his starting rhythm. But he was able to sneak around the inside of the first corner and come out inside the top-ten. Thompson quickly moved forward, passing into sixth and getting a tow just behind the top-five. Thompson had found a good pace when his race took an unfortunate turn. The team worked quickly in the pits to get Thompson back out on course, but he had lost a lap to the leaders. Thompson never quit, pushing all the way to the finish and even making a couple passes. He was able to salvage an eleventh-place finish on the day, which keeps him in the top-five in points as the series heads to the fourth round.Zach Bell — 13th place ProZach Bell showed great speed in Saturday's qualifying practice, setting the fastest lap. That earned him the first staging spot for Sunday's pro race as a result. In the pro race, he got off to a perfect start, grabbing the holeshot. From there, Bell lead the first few laps as he and second-place Taylor Robert pulled a gap on the field. Robert was able to get by, but Bell kept close on his tail over the next couple laps. Unfortunately, Zach was carrying a bit of a sore back into the weekend and the roughness that the Havasu WORCS course is known for began to take its toll. Bell was forced to slow his pace, dropping back through the field, but he toughed it out to get a finish in order to salvage what he could for the championship.

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Feb 13, 2019

Kawasaki Off-Road Teams Podium from Coast to Coast

The Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki team made its off-road racing debut this weekend at the opening round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series at the GTR Complex in Gaston, South Carolina. Defending series champion, Josh Strang took on the 12 different tests over the two days of racing and was able to land on the podium in second place overall.On the first day of racing, Strang finished out the day in fourth place and on Sunday he was able to edge out his closest competitor by four seconds giving him the overall on Sunday. His combined scores from Saturday and Sunday put him in second place overall on the weekend. Jordan Ashburn also made his debut this weekend on his new KX™450. Ashburn finished three minutes off of first place which resulted in seventh place overall in the Pro class. Also new for 2019 is Team Green amateur supported off-road racer, Grant Davis, competing in the Supermini class aboard his KX™100. Over the two days of racing, Davis scored a 2-1 overall result, which resulted in second place overall for the weekend in the Supermini 12-15 class. Josh Strang – 2nd Place (Pro)"The first round went well, it's always hard to tell where you stand speed wise until we go race. I started a little unsteady on Saturday but felt good in the afternoon and then all of Sunday. My Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki KX450 was working good all weekend long. I am really happy with the setup and to get second overall is a great start to the year."Jordan Ashburn – 7th Place (Pro)"I was so excited for my first race on the KX450. The Babbitt's Online team and I learned a lot from this first round and we're looking forward to applying that to the next round. We're all excited for this season and can't wait to show off our progression throughout."At the second round of the AMA National Grand Prix Championship this weekend in Taft, California, all three Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts/Kawasaki Team Green riders found the podium in their respective classes. Zach Bell led the way by winning the Pro Main Event, with teammate Blayne Thompson joining him on the podium in third place. Young gun Clay Hengeveld finished second overall in the Pro 2 Main Event. Bell didn't waste any time getting out to an early lead on Sunday's Pro Main Event and never looked back. Bell finished in first place with nearly a two-minute gap over second place. Thompson aboard his KX450 rocketed off the line to a third place start. Thompson lost time during the race to his teammate Bell and another competitor but was able to close the gap on second place just before entering the pits. After an extremely successful pit stop, Thompson had closed in within 10 seconds of second place. However, an unfortunate crash would eventually set the Kawasaki rider back. Thompson remounted on his bike and managed to hold on to a podium position for third overall. An early downpour made for an eventful race in the Pro 2 Main, which wreaked havoc on the riders vision, forcing Hengeveld into the pits twice for goggles. The Team Green rider was able to recover from the nearly one-minute deficit at the halfway point to move inside the top-3 and make a last lap pass, just two corners before the finish line. The pass moved Hengeveld into second place overall and finished just 11 seconds behind the leader. Zach Bell – 1st Place (Pro)"The conditions were perfect all weekend. I got a good jump off the start, but was forced to go outside before banking off the wall and then shoot back down to take the lead on the first tabletop. It was pretty smooth sailing from there!"Blayne Thompson - 3rd Place (Pro)"The weather created a perfect course, which was nice and tacky. Overall, I felt like I rode pretty well. I got off to a third-place start and then had a small crash, but I was able to get back up and finish with a third."Clay Hengeveld - 2nd Place (Pro2)"The track was a little bit different than previous years, it was a bit tighter, which kept the racing close. I got off to a pretty good start and came to the first corner in third. Later, I ran into some issues with my goggles and had to pull into the pit to get a fresh pair, but the rest of the race went pretty well. I'm glad to leave Taft with a second."

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