(From left to right) Robby Bell, Gary Sutherlin, and Justin Jones. Photography By Harlen Foley
Firing the first shot in the 2014 World Off-Road Championship’s season opener at Honolulu Hills, California, was Gary Sutherlin. And it was a David vs. Goliath type effort as the privateer rode a loaner 450 KTM from Dirt Rider Magazine and fought back from fourth to the lead in the final four laps. Following Sutherlin across the finish line was Justin Jones and defending WORCS Champion Robby Bell, the pair finishing second and third, respectively.
Making his debut in the Pro class was last year’s Pro 2 Champion Eric Yorba, who got off to a great start and grabbed the holeshot. The rookie’s lead would be short lived, however, as he fell back to third by the end of lap one. Jones then took over the lead for several laps.
On lap four Jones lost his lead to Bobby Bonds, who returned to the series after a two-year absence. Although Jones relinquished his lead, he wasn’t willing to give up so easily and continued to battle back and forth with Bonds and Sutherlin.
Also in the mix was Bell, who tried to take over the lead from Bonds with three laps to go, but Bell lost his rear brakes, putting him into damage-control mode to the finish.
Sutherlin took over the lead on the final lap after Bonds suffered a flat rear tire and ultimately came away with the win. Jones maintained his position in second and Bell was able to soldier on to finish in third.
Even with his tire woes, Bonds was still able to finish in fourth with Evan Kelly rounding out the top five.
The two Pro class rookies – Ty Tremaine and Eric Yorba - finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Taking the win in the Pro 2 class was last year’s Pro 2 Lites Champion Steven Gibson.
2014 WORCS Round One Results
1. Gary Sutherlin (KTM)
2. Justin R. Jones (KTM)
3. Robby Bell (KAW)
4. Bobby Bonds (KAW)
5. Evan Kelly (HON)
6. Ty Tremaine (KTM)
7. Eric Yorba (KTM)
8. Justin Bonita (KTM)
DNF Justin J. Seeds (KAW)
DNF Cody Lee (HON)
1. Steven Gibson (KAW)
2. Jeremy Lasater (KAW)
3. Justin L. Morgan (KTM)
4. Justin Wallis (KTM)
5. Matthew T. Maple (HON)