Ryan Hughes won his third-straight World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) event in four tries this Sunday, extending his series points lead to 19 over second place finisher Kurt Caselli. Caselli, who led the first lap, put on a late race charge to try and catch Hughes, but came up short by 12 seconds at the finish. Third place went to Nathan Woods in his return to the WORCS series after missing the last round with a broken hand.
The WORCS Pro event started at 12 noon on a beautiful course laid out through the rolling hills of western Idaho. Kurt Caselli pulled the holeshot with Nathan Woods close behind and Jake Weimer in third. Hughes was mired in the pack after a ninth place start, but quickly began to pick off riders. By the time the riders went down pit row, Hughes had moved into the lead. Hughes began to pull away gaining as much as a 35 second lead over second place at the 1 hour mark. “I got a bad start, but was able to pick off everybody pretty quickly,” said Hughes. “Then I put my head down and put some distance between me and second. We had a bad pit stop, so I had to keep up a fast pace, but I had enough of a lead that I was able to put it on cruise control for the last lap and I won another one. I like winning!”
While Hughes was pulling away, Caselli was fading, falling back as far as fifth at one point. “I didn’t feel very good for the first 45 minutes,” Caselli said. “I couldn’t find a rhythm and I pumped up a bit.”
Caselli charged back during the second hour and was able to catch everyone except Hughes. “The arm pump went away and everything settled down and I was able to put on a charge. It was too little and too late to catch Ryno, but I can’t make any excuses. My KTM ran great and I’m up on the podium.”
Woods, who suffered a broken metacarpal shaft in his throttle hand just weeks ago, put on a great race, closing to within seconds of Hughes at the pit stop. But pain and conditioning caught up with the Kawasaki rider and he faded nearly three minutes back of the leaders by the end of the race. “I felt really strong at the halfway point and wanted to put on a charge,” said Woods. “But the time off just riding a bicycle took its toll and I just got fatigued. No excuses, I rode my butt off and got on the podium. I’ll be 110% for the next round at Milford, California.”
Robby Bell and Jake Weimer, who rounded out the top five in the Pro 1 class, followed Hughes, Caselli and Woods.