Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich put in a come-from-behind victory to take his second win a row in the WORCS series and take over the points lead for the championship. But Dietrich’s win was not the only story of the day. CCR’s Bobby Bonds once again impressed everyone with his own relentless charge through the field of great riders to another second place finish which moved him up to second in the points chase. And, in another story-book tale, Josh Morros, who was a Pro 2 rider at the last round and earned a Pro 1 bump via a fourth overall finish, showed up with his new, blue Pro 1 plate and stunned the crowd by getting the holeshot and leading for the first hour before bowing to Dietrich and Bonds.
As the riders staged on the line, Red Bull KTM’s Kurt Caselli had his head on the bars of his bike. Unknown to the rest of the field the defending champion had spent the morning in the hospital being tested for an unknown ailment (suspected food poisoning) which had him throwing up all night, cramped and dehydrated. Caselli came to Hollister tied for the points lead and was determined to race.
“The doctors told him not even to leave the hospital, but we hoped once he got going the adrenaline would kick in and he could salvage some points,” said Kurt’s father, Rich Caselli.
Caselli put in a heroic effort, but unfortunately for the iron-willed champion, the physical damage of the ailment combined with the heat and pace of a two-hour race was too much. Caselli stayed in the race for one hour and 45 minutes, then dizzy and cramped-up he was ordered off his bike by KTM Racing honcho Kurt Nicoll and put in the WORCS ambulance. Caselli ended his day in the KTM rig strapped to an IV.
When the gate dropped the crowd was stunned to see rookie Morros pull a massive holeshot followed by JCR Honda’s Tim Wiegand and Red Bull KTM’s Justin Soule. Points leader, Bobby Garrison’s hopes were dashed when he was bumped off the track in the first turn and rejoined the race nearly dead last. Bonds, gated decently, but a crash and a stalled bike would drop him out of the top ten before the end of lap one.
The usual WORCS mêlée ensued; with some of the fastest riders at the back of the pack charging through hoping to close the gap before the fast men up front could get away. Morros looked unstoppable for the first hour, holding a consistent 10-15 second lead, but Dietrich was closing a little bit each lap and the lead changed hands when the pair of Kawasaki’s pitted together.
“I didn’t try to race with Ricky,” said Morros later. “He’s in the hunt for the championship and it was my first Pro1 race.”
Bonds, who was as far back as 15th early on, also caught and passed Morros for second, but could not close on the distant Dietrich. Wiegand, who had looked like a lock for a podium, also fell victim to the Bonds charge when the two tangled in the woods.
“I actually stopped and apologized to Tim after I bumped him,” said Bonds. “He was riding great and I made a mistake and hit him trying to make the pass. I’m really sorry.” Wiegand was unhurt, but the lost time of restarting his bike and climbing out of the hole he was in cost him, he would eventually finish 15th.
With Dietrich, Bonds and Morros taking the top three, fourth place went to Arik Swan with his best WORCS finish this season. Fifth fell to Damon Huffman with Robbie Bell sixth, and Justin Soule seventh. Garrison, who had begun the day tied for the points lead, fought his way back up to eighth.
The day’s results shook up the title chase, Dietrich’s second win in a row gave him the lead with 117 points and two victories, Bonds moved into second with 107 points via three podiums, Garrison dropped to third with 105 points and two victories. Caselli’s heroic effort was enough to credit him with finishing the event; he dropped to fourth in the championship with 93 points and one victory.