Hughes Takes Taft

Mark Kariya | February 21, 2006

Suzuki’s Ryan Hughes and Mike Kiedrowski went 1-2 to sweep the second round of the World Off-Road Championship Series in Taft, California, last weekend.

Hughes showed he’s not immune from mistakes stalling his RM-Z450 on the first lap and lost his lead and several positions, but it didn’t take long for him to make up for the gaff and pass his way back into the lead on the Honolulu Hills Raceway track. His teammate, however, Kiedrowski shadowed him the entire way making it a 1-2 finish for the team.

It was Hughes second straight win of the young season.

“We just stayed the same for an hour and 45 minutes,” Hughes said. “I think right at the end, I pulled out a little bit. It was a tough race, man. We went 95 percent for two hours, and that’s tough. This track, I think it’s one of the roughest tracks I’ve ridden in my life. It was rough, rough, rough, rough!”

Thanks to brief showers on Saturday afternoon and again that night, the track was close to perfect, though it developed many square-edged holes, as usual, putting a premium on suspension setup and physical conditioning. Indeed, after finishing a disappointing fourth at round one, Kiedrowski went stiffer on his suspension, and it paid off at Taft.

After winning the opening round of the AMA National Hare Scrambles Series the week before, Ricky Dietrich was primed to do well again at the WORCS race, and for much of the race he sat in third place on his Carter Powersports/Pro Circuit/ARC KX450F. That would’ve matched his round-one WORCS finish, but Dietrich stalled the bike on the last lap in the telephone pole section with the finish line in sight and forfeited his podium spot to Bobby Garrison, who’d come up through the pack in a last-half charge on his Montclair Yamaha/Zip-Ty Racing/Moose YZ450F.

“I got a gift at the end,” Garrison admitted.

Dietrich got his bike restarted in time to salvage fifth place, as Mike Corder, on his Race Tech/Dunlop/Troy Lee Designs KTM 450 XC, also squirted past Dietrich to grab fourth.

Mark Kariya | Contributor

Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.