Kawasaki privateer Bobby Bonds charging his way to the win and the championship at the WORCS finale in Taft, California.
It's rare at the highest levels of racing, even off road racing, for a privateer to make a dent in the top five of a title chase. But in the 2008 WORCS series, Bobby Bonds, a true privateer, scored one of the most prestigious titles in off road by winning the 2008 WORCS Championship. Bonds did in style by winning the WORCS final race in Taft, California, in front of his home-town crowd. The WORCS series is full of factory and factory-support talent from Red Bull/KTM, Monster Energy Kawasaki, FMF Suzuki Off Road, JCR Honda, etc. Bonds is a true privateer, riding a Kawasaki because they had a good contingency program and is supported by CCR and his home track of Honolulu Hills Raceway. Bonds began his Cinderella season by leading most of round one before finishing second to Kurt Caselli. That set the stage for Bonds to take a string of consistent second place finishes (six in 10 rounds) that saw him always in the hunt but never in the points lead all season. Bonds came to the WORCS final four points down on Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ricky Dietrich. Dietrich, the 2006 Champion, had won three races and scored three other podiums during "Bondo's" streak of second place finishes. To take the title, Bonds had to win, as first place paid 30 points and second 25. Bonds needed that five point difference to win the Championship by one point. But there were riders with names like Nathan Woods, Kurt Caselli, Damon Huffman, Destry Abbott, Mike Brown, Kendall Norman, Timmy Weigand, Justin Soule, and Taylor Robert, who weren't going to make it easy for either him or Dietrich.

 

Bonds works his way through the EnduroCross section of the Honolulu Hills WORCS course.
The gate dropped at 10:00 AM and the holeshot fell to Justin Soule with Jamie Lanza running second. Bonds was back around 10th and Dietrich was up near the front. It didn't take long for Dietrich to move into the lead and start gapping the field. That has been a familiar sight this season: Dietrich getting out front in clean air and checking out, never slowing for two hours. Meanwhile, Bonds bobbled in the WORCS-cross section and fell back to 12th. But by this point in the series, Bonds is a seasoned off road warrior who had already grimly decided he was going to win or go down in flames; another second place in the race and runner-up in the standings meant nothing. He bonsai-passed his way through the field and then caught and passed the blazing Dietrich. Soon Bonds had a 30 second lead which he never relinquished. Bonds speed and skills were simply awesome. "I pretty much rode a perfect race today," said Dietrich later. "I was planning to follow Bondo once he got by me, and then take him in the closing laps, but he was amazing today." Bonds won the race, got his 30 points and the WORCS Championship by one point over Dietrich. Meanwhile, Taylor Robert, who had clinched the Pro 2 Championship by winning the last round bumped himself up to the Pro 1 class and put in spectacular premier race to finish third overall, completing an all-Kawasaki podium sweep of the WORCS final.

 

Joe Colombero

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