Red Bull KTM's Kurt Caselli took over the lead on the second lap of round nine of the WORCS Series in Hollister, California, yesterday, and outpaced all comers for more than two hours to take his second win of the season and establish a 25-point lead in the title chase over rival, Kawasaki's Nathan Woods.
When the gate dropped, the holeshot went to Honda rider Ritchie Owens whose best previous finish was a ninth at round four. Owens was followed by Red Bull KTM’s Justin Soule, Kawasaki’s Scott Simon, Woods, Yamaha rider Bobby Bonds, Kawasaki Ricky Dietrich and Caselli. When the bumping and rubbing was done and the pack left the MX track to go into the woods, Owens still held the lead, but Soule was already down and Caselli had moved by Bonds, Dietrich, Simon and Woods.
The riders disappeared into the dusty 4.5-mile off-road course where more carnage ensued.
"We all knew the start would be everything in this race," said Caselli later. "The off-road section is dry and blindingly dusty and impossible to water. I knew I had to get into the top three before we left the motocross track or I'd never make the podium."
Back in the woods, Dietrich crashed and later dropped out of the race. Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott also clipped a tree in the heavy dust and chipped his elbow. He would go on to finish 15th.
It took two laps for Caselli to establish himself in the lead ahead of Woods and Simon. Owens hung in for a while but eventually faded to 16th. Caselli set the pace and even the always powerful Woods could not keep up with him. At the end of two hours, Caselli took the victory more then two minutes ahead of Woods and Simon. Honda’s Robby Bell finished fourth and Bonds rounded out the top five.
"I rode a comfortable pace," said Caselli. "But in the dust, I really couldn't tell how Woods was doing. I really respect him, and he's the guy I've got beat for this championship. I've got to be in front of him or at least right behind him for two more races before this title is decided."
Caselli leads the points chase with 201 with Woods 25 points back with 176, Bell moved into the third slot in points with 165.