Just days after returning from his gold medal performance at the ISDE in Greece, Team FMF Suzuki Off Road's Nathan Woods stood at the top of the podium again with a dominating victory at round nine of the World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS). Though often pressed during the course of the two-hour event, Woods fiercely held the led until all challengers dropped away, winning by almost a minute when the checkered flag waved.
In another display of skill, determination and drive, Team CCR's Bobby Bonds scored yet another second place finish in the WORCS Series. "Who ever heard of six second places in a season?" asked Bonds. Bonds was the main challenger to Woods at Honey Lake, but a series of crashes and a broken brake lever halted his charge and had him settle for second at the flag.
Third place fell to Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ricky Dietrich, who had also just returned from a Gold Medal performance at the ISDE. Dietrich came from way behind to make it onto the podium after getting tangled in a first-turn pile-up which left him in 20th place at the end of the first lap. He slowly worked his way forward and found himself in fourth on the white flag 40 seconds behind team-mate Damon Huffman, and with defending Champion, Kurt Caselli pressing on his rear wheel. Both Dietrich and Caselli made the pass on Huffman just a few corners before the finish line.
"I was really surprised when Caselli went by," said Huffman. "I didn't know he was that close."
The talented field of riders who led the race included Red Bull/KTM's Justin Soule who got the holeshot, Mike Brown in his second WORCS race, Team JCR's Kendall Norman, Bonds, and Woods with Woods emerging triumphant. Bonds finished second, Dietrich third, Caselli fourth and Huffman surrendering a sure podium for fifth.
Woods, the former 2-time WORCS Champion was happy to score a big win for his team. "I've had some set-backs this season, but it feels really good to win," said Woods. "I went to the starting line determined to just have fun and nothing is more fun then winning."
The results of round nine make the title chase into another nail-biter. Dietrich (165/3 wins) came into round nine with an eight point lead over Bonds (157/1 win) with Caselli (144/2 wins) in third. Bonds second place finish gained him four points on Dietrich which brings the championship down to the wire.
The final round is in Taft (Bonds home town) on October 19. If Bonds wins he's earn 30 points, if Dietrich is second he'll earn 25 and Bonds will get the title by one point. So neither rider can afford to let the other beat him. And, let us not forget that there will be a hoard of talent with names like Woods, Caselli, Huffman, Soule, Brown, Weigand, etc. who will all go for the win as well. "We're keeping it interesting," said Bonds.
"Come to Taft to see the Ricky/Bobby show," said Dietrich. "It's going to be a great race."