Kawasaki’s Ricky Dietrich and Yamaha’s Bobby Garrison went into the 12th and final round of the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off-Road Championship Series in Mesquite Nevada, over the weekend, separated by just four points, leaving the title hunt fairly clear: Whoever wins, wins it all.
The race and championship came down to the last lap. In extremely dusty conditions, the two riders battled back and forth for the lead in the final hours of the race. Towards the end, with the Yamaha rider leading, both Garrison and Dietrich’s bikes were struggling in the air-filter-clogging dust, but neither rider wanted to pit for new filters, so they both gambled and hoped for the best.
As they headed into the final lap, Garrison held a small lead on Dietrich, as both bikes gasped for air.
When they came back into view, it was Dietrich out in front, his bike having barely enough power to get over jumps. But it was more power than Garrison had left in his bike.
"Getting down and dirty, and running through my mind how bad I want this [made the difference],” Dietrich said. “I rode with a lot of heart today, and this was the hardest race all year. I mean, me and Bobby were fighting like it was a motocross race out there, going wide-open the whole time. Man, I started cramping up at the end and stuff, but I just kept going."
Garrison said, "I'm disappointed with how things turned out, but at the same time, second place for the season, that's above what I expected. Next year, I've got one more spot to improve, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
KTM's Kurt Caselli came from a bad start and air filter woes of his own to climb into third place; however, he'd lost too much ground in the early going in the dust to be much of a threat to the leaders and settled for third, even after running out of gas on the final lap.
Team Green's Nathan Woods settled for fourth on the day and third in the series points standings. Honda's Robby Bell rounded out the top five.