Stewart Sizzles at Adelanto GP Big 6 Opener

Mark Kariya | January 15, 2018

Adelanto GP Big 6 Race Report – After dominating the AMA Big 6 West Coast Grand Prix (WCGP) Series Pro II championship in 2015, Trevor Stewart knew the next step would be winning in the Pro class. He—and sponsors—felt it was only a matter of time, and that time finally came at the Adelanto GP Big 6 hosted by the So Cal Motorcycle Club, the opening round of the AMA District 37/FMF Big 6 Grand Prix Series.

Adelanto GP Big 6 Trevor Stewart
JCR Honda’s Trevor Stewart got his Big 6 season off to a winning start, taking the overall win in the WCGP race at the Adelanto GP. Photography by Mark Kariya

The Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda rider proved untouchable in the $2000, 90-minute WCGP feature race to kick off the season, leading from start to finish aboard his CRF450RX. He finished 12 seconds ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Dalton Shirey while FMF/Maxxis/RPM Racing KTM’s Eric Yorba rounded out the podium, a further 13 seconds back.

The expected showdown between East Coast and West Coast racers didn’t quite materialize on the super-fast course based at Adelanto Stadium. After getting too throttle-happy and spinning the rear wheel at the start, FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Kailub Russell—who owned the season finale last month in his first-ever Big 6 GP—discovered he has a little more fine-tuning before he’s at the front, and he settled for fifth place behind Chaparral Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Justin Seeds.

“Disbelief almost!” Stewart declared. “I worked so hard in the off-season, then I got sick a couple days ago. It’s been rough, but mentally I was just so strong. I really felt coming into this season, dripping in confidence, I knew this was my year and I’m not going to let anything hold me back from that.”

Stewart Sizzles at Adelanto GP Big 6 Opener

Of the race he said, “I got a holeshot and it’s not [usual] for me so when it happens, it’s something special, for sure, and I took advantage of it. I sprinted hard those first two laps and I tried to break away a little bit. It was a first for me because I’m never out front early—at least I haven’t been since I was on two-strokes. It was a nice feeling again and I knew what I had to do.

“Halfway through when I pitted, that was when I knew that nobody was going to touch me. I can’t believe it! I’m really excited and I’m ready for 2018.”

Adelanto GP Big 6 Kailub Russell
Many expected Kailub Russell to dominate the season opener the way he did the 2017 finale, but the FMF KTM Off-road star finished fifth, and admits he has some adjusting to do. Photography by Mark Kariya

Rain earlier in the week left the fast course in nearly perfect condition, but despite being unable to kick up a cloud of dust to hide in, Stewart still inched away to eventually win with a 12-second gap over second. At first, it was Yorba who held that spot on his 450 XC-F, though after a couple laps Shirey put his FX 450 in the runner-up slot to stay.

Shirey shared, “I got a really bad start—I spun really bad—but I made my way up through the pack and got up to fourth. A couple corners into the motocross section, I passed Yorba, then I sat there for a while.”

Stewart Sizzles at Adelanto GP Big 6 Opener

Though Yorba passed him when officials directed Shirey through the alternate instead of over the infamous water jump, Shirey repassed Yorba the next lap in nearly the same spot. He couldn’t erase Stewart’s lead, however, and settled for second, also while riding sick and unable to train or practice normally.

After crashing out of this race last year, Yorba was happy simply to finish healthy on a bike he only finished building the day before. “There was kind of a mishap going on with the freight company for KTM; it wasn’t just me—there were a couple other bikes that were missing,” he explained. “The bike that I’m riding wasn’t supposed to be mine, but I’m happy to have a bike and be here racing.”

Justin Seeds represented the new collaboration between Chaparral Motorsports and Precision Concepts well with fourth after an unplanned pit stop to rectify a handlebar issue on his KX450F put him back in 14th early.

Russell was unable to repeat his remarkable Big 6 debut triumph from last season’s finale after spinning the rear tire of his 450 XC-F off the start. “I was really good in the practice sessions earlier about taking off easy, but I just gave her a fistful and just spun and spun and spun,” he explained. “I got a little surprise there on the first lap; I was expecting the track to get rough, but the way it kind of developed and got rough, I wasn’t expecting it straight away. I just was having a hard time finding my marks and I was in all the roost and I got tight. Those guys are going fast! When you’re in the roost and you’re not sure what you’re hitting, it’s a little sketchy; I’m not used to it.”

He added, “There’s just a couple issues I had, I feel like, and I know how to work on that part of stuff. The first part of the race just kind of ruined me and the end of the race, too, because I got tight. I’m happy with the fifth for, like I said, how I rode; I didn’t feel like that was a fifth-place ride I had.”

Zip-Ty Racing CRF450R-mounted Justin Wallis, defending series champ Zach Bell on his 3 Brothers Racing/STI Husqvarna, John Burr Cycles KX450F rider Ryan Reina, WCGP Pro II winner Clay Hengeveld and defending Pro II champ Beau Baron rounded out the top 10 overall.


Adelanto GP Big 6 WCGP Overall:

  1. Trevor Stewart (Hon)
  2. Dalton Shirey (Hus)
  3. Eric Yorba (KTM)
  4. Justin Seeds (Kaw)
  5. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  6. Justin Wallis (Bet)
  7. Zach Bell (Hus)
  8. Ryan Reina (Kaw)
  9. Clay Hengeveld (Kaw) Pro II
  10. Beau Baron (Hon) Pro II

Mark Kariya | Contributor Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.