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Oct 29, 2018

2018 WORCS - Primm

Primm, NV was the location of the 2018 WORCS series finale. If there are two things Primm does well to offer, it's sharp breaking bumps entering the corners and deep sand whoops through the turns. Furthermore, the conditions made for a true test of the racers as the WORCS crew left most of the course un-graded between days. After a full day of racing on Saturday, that made for a rough track straight-away, first-thing Sunday morning.

Each of the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki Team Green riders was looking to end the championship on a high. Justin Seeds had a shot at creeping inside the top-five in the championship standings. Blayne Thompson had his best ride of the season earlier in the year at Primm (a second-place finish in BIG 6) and looked to replicate that performance. Lastly, Clay Hengeveld had an outside chance at the Pro 2 championship if he could get the win and have a few results go his way.

Justin's had a history of nailing dead-engine starts. True to form, Seeds got his KX450 to fire up on the first kick and he headed towards the first corner in second. Opportunistically, Justin dove inside through the first turn and grabbed the holeshot. Seeds went on to lead the first lap before a mistake in the scoring shoot saw him fall to the ground. Justin was quick to remount, however, only losing one position. From there, he continued to battle in and around the top-three throughout the ninety-minute pro race.

Coming into the single-file scoring shoot on the final lap, with the checkered flag waving just thirty feet away, Justin held third just ahead of Gary Sutherlin. In a last-ditch effort to overtake, Sutherlin sent himself and his bike into Seeds, which put both riders on the ground. Justin was trapped under both bikes, unable to move until Gary got going. Seeds lost another spot while firing his bike and crossed the line in fifth.

Like his teammate, Blayne was quick to fire his KX450 and settled into third through the first few corners. Thompson was pushing to make the pass on second place when he was caught out by the early-morning shadows. To explain, as Blayne was entering a sweeping bowl corner, the low sun on the backside shaded the terrain ahead of him. This made it difficult to see the numerous ruts through the turn as he focused on making the pass. Unfortunately, Thompson's wheels cross-rutted and sent him swiftly to the ground.

As a consequence of the crash, Blayne's handlebars rolled forward. Not wanting to lose any more time, Thompson did his best to adapt to the bars and began moving forward through the field, making it up inside the top-five. The team could tell he was struggling with something and without any direct communication with Blayne possible, decided to bring Thompson into the pit early to diagnose the issue. Sadly, the plan back-fired some as the time lost in the pit outweighed the benefit. Blayne rejoined the race at the edge of the top-ten and could only recover to ninth at the finish.

Hengeveld was on the opposite end of the spectrum off the starting line, as compared to his teammates. It took Clay three kicks to get the bike fired and he entered the first corner outside the top-ten of the pro 2 field. Lil' Henge showed his determination as he passed up to third place before the close of the first lap. From there, Clay stalked second-place Austin Serpa for a couple laps before finally pulling the trigger on an overtaking move for the position. Just a couple laps later, Clay had closed in on the lead bike of Tallon LaFountaine. In nearly a carbon-copy of the pass he made on Serpa, Clay used a sweeping outside line to maintain more momentum around LaFountaine and take the lead.

Clay looked set to pull away out front, but just past the halfway mark he suffered a vicious fall. As Clay leaned into a rut that curved over a tall mound, his rear tire clipped a large rock buried in the sand. Consequently, Hengeveld's back end kicked wildly to the side. Once he landed on the backside of the mound the bike high-sided and spit him off. Clay was fortunate to get up relatively unscathed and after shaking himself down for a few minutes, he rejoined the race. After dropping back to seventh due to the fall, Hengeveld was able to recover to fifth by the finish.

WORCS Final Standings

Pro Class

1. Giacomo Redondi — 165 (1 win)
2. Zach Bell — 154 (2 wins)
3. Taylor Rober — 147 (5 wins)
4. Gary Sutherlin — 142
5. Eric Yorba — 113
6. Justin Seeds — 107
9. Blayne Thompson — 77

Pro 2 Class

1. Mitch Anderson — 152 (1 win)
2. Austin Serpa — 144 (2 wins)
3. Clay Hengeveld — 132
4. Tallon LaFountaine — 116 (2 wins)
5. Cooper Abbott — 89 (1 win)

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