Big 6 Grand Prix Championship Opener Full of Surprises
Spectators at the District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Championship opener witnessed a series of unfortunate events. After only three laps a red flag was thrown as a downed rider was stuck in a dangerous part of the course. Medical personnel had to attend to him right away and the race was postponed. Upon restart, officials used s staggered start to help avoid further issues. The rougher-than-normal track conditions were repaired and by the following morning racers were treated to a glassy smooth course.
Despite the changes, more crashes and injuries happened the following day. With an overly groomed course, many racers found it difficult to get up enough speed to pass and get the checkered flag. After losing ground, racer Justin Seeds got back up and worked to catch the other racers. Robby Bell also had a hard time, finding it difficult to make up ground early in the race after the restart. Then as the race neared the end, Bell found himself within striking distance of the podium just when his bike starting having mechanical failure. With a cracked header pipe and loss of power, Bell ended up crossing the line in the 6th position.
Both the fans and the racers felt it was a disappointing race. “It was a pretty wild weekend,” said Bell post-race. “First, my race bike had some kind of electrical issue, we’re thinking, in practice, and with limited time to diagnose, Phil [Valdez, the team’s chief mechanic] had to switch everything over to the practice bike so I could ride that in the pro race. Then with the red flags and the early morning restart, it was just crazy, and my heart goes out to the riders who were injured. I struggled a little with the low, early morning sun [after the restart], riding a bit more cautious than the guys ahead of me. It was so smooth out there, too, it just didn’t play to my strengths. I found my rhythm after a couple laps, but then the bike started back-firing a bunch and felt a little down on power, and then the header pipe broke off with a couple laps to go. I think I’ve only had one other exhaust system issue in over a decade of racing, so it was an absolute fluke deal, and just unfortunate because I felt like I was good for a podium finish today. We’ll regroup and move on to Primm [the second round of the WORCS series] in a couple weeks. I feel like I’m still building my way into the racing season, the fitness is there, and we made some big improvements to the bike this weekend, so now I just need a little more early-race pace.”
Hopefully the next few races in the lineup will have fewer issues and be better time for both the crowd and the racers.