Team Green’s Nathan Woods stuck to his plan to outlast or outride everyone else at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in Oceano, California, and came away the winner of round 11 in the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off Road Championship Series. Though he trailed a bit in the early going, the defending series champ was there to pick off every other would-be winner as the two-hour race through the seaside dunes progressed. It wasn’t until the final lap that the Pro Circuit/Dunlop/Moose KX450F-mounted racer got the lead for good, passing KTM’s Kurt Caselli who lost three gears in his Michelin/Motorex/Moose 450 XC over the final two laps but nursed it in for second place.
Zip-Ty Racing’s Bobby Garrison rounded out the podium finishers on his Race Tech/Montclair Yamaha/Moose YZ450F, but he took over the series points lead for the first time. After trailing by a point going into the event that served as a benefit for the Spinal Cord Injury research center and the Clayton Memorial Foundation, Garrison’s third place netted him 21 points to vault him into the lead with 209 points, unofficially.
“I couldn’t be happier after the race taking third and having [former points leader Ricky Dietrich] be fifth,” he said. “But during the race I wanted to win it, for sure.”
Dietrich got a good start, but a big crash on the first lap in view of the pits cost him time, then he found himself fast enough to stay away from the pack but unable to reel in the leaders. The second-year Pro’s fifth place finish netted 16 points to bring him to 205.
“I just rode within my comfort level today. I didn’t want to push it and crash again and throw it away so I just rode smart, and this is just how it ended up,” he said.
Motocrosser Jimmy Albertson proved to be the speediest in the early going, out to prove that he could last for two hours after spending time training with the Zip Ty group. It obviously paid off, though he came up about 20 minutes short and started feeling the fatigue, falling a couple times and drifting back to an eventual fourth on his Zip-Ty/Pro Circuit/THOR YZ450F.
“I didn’t get on the podium, but I’m still pretty happy with how I rode,” he smiled. “This time I lasted an hour and 40 minutes instead of an hour so I’m slowly getting better so the next time I ride one of these things, I’ll be able to go hard the whole time.”
Woods admitted, “I realized that [Albertson] was out there, and I was like, ‘Man, he’s gone.’ I was set on riding my pace and just doing what I had to do. I just set my pace and I just rode consistently and didn’t really try to push myself too hard because I knew [the course] was going to take a toll on you. And eventually, whenever you get start to get tired, you’re going to make a mistake and you’re going to crash and that’s going to make you even more tired.”
Woods cut his points deficit almost in half. He sits in third with 196 points, unofficially, and is still a realistic threat for the title should Garrison and Dietrich run into problems at the finale in Mesquite, Nevada, in two weeks.