In his first race back since breaking his thumb nearly two months ago at Anaheim, factory Yamaha’s Broc Hepler tasted sweet victory at the inaugural Moto X World Championships in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. MDK KTM riders Nick Wey and Justin Brayton earned silver and bronze, respectively.
The win was all but gift-wrapped for Hepler, however. In the main event of the bracket-race format, which featured 10 of the original 16-rider field, it was Jason Lawrence who looked likely to dominate. Troy Lee Designs Honda rider Gavin Gracyk grabbed the holeshot closely followed by “J-Law.” In the third turn, Lawrence tried to duck under Gracyk to take over the lead, and slid out, taking both riders down. Helper dodged the mess and was out front, where he remained for the next eight laps.
Josh Hansen, newly aboard a Jayco/Richardson’s RV Suzuki RM-Z450, ran second early on, but soon the KTMs of Wey and Brayton got around him, where they continued to battle for second. Pastrana was caught up in the J-Law tangle momentarily, and he was also playing catch up. Although he hasn’t raced motocross in years, Pastrana showed some moments of brilliance. He was impressive in his heat race when he came back from a crash to capture one of the qualifying positions.
Pastrana diced it up with Hansen for fourth, but ultimately had to settle for fifth behind “Lil’ Hanny.” Gracyk recovered for a sixth-place finish, and Team Faith/Yamaha rider Kevin Johnson and Kawasaki’s Jiri Dostal completed the field. Lawrence (along with Eric Sorby) did not score a finish in the event
Riders who did not qualify for the main event included Heath Voss, Joe Oehlhof, Antonio Balbi, Ryan Clark, Josh Demuth and Troy Adams.