Taylor Robert won his fourth consecutive race during the AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series at Cinder Hills OHV Area in Flagstaff, Arizona, June 8-9. Robert and his FMF KTM remain undefeated this season. Zach Bell was second in the Pro class, followed by Dante Oliveira. Gary Sutherlin, still recovering from foot surgery, was fourth, while Andrew Short was fifth in his Sprint Hero series debut.
Robert Tops Arizona Sprint Hero Enduro 2019
The venue was unique among the tracks visited by the Sprint Hero series. Situated within the San Francisco Volcano Field, the track surface featured cinder-like volcano ash. The porous and light cinders forced competitors to stay high in the RPM range and carry more speed around the picturesque circuit. The roots of the large pine trees on the course made it even more challenging.
Twelve tests were run on two courses. The off-road course was over three miles in length, while the moto course was a shorter mile-long loop.
Robert was again unstoppable and kept up his dominating ways in the series. Adding to his win streak in the WORCS Series, Robert has now won 10 consecutive races this season. However, even he struggled to tame the soft racing surface.
“It’s really tricky and keeps you on your toes because those tree roots come out of nowhere,” said Robert. “The lava rock is so light and moves around so much that you have to stay up in the rpms or it just sucked you down. [This place] is easily one of the strangest places on earth to have a motorcycle race.”
Bell (Precision Concepts/Kawasaki Team Green) laid down a steady pace early in the event and earned first starter honors. He also found the course challenging and was happy to finish second, earning his third consecutive runner-up effort.
“I did what I could today,” Bell said. “I made a few mistakes, but I also had a few good runs. I just tried to adapt as well as I could. It was really slick, so I had to make sure to carry more speed. I tried to find the edge of the track and get a little bit faster.”
As he has in the first three rounds, Oliveira (KTM) again struggled early in the event but bounced back during the second half of the event. He earned his second consecutive podium in what is becoming a real breakout season for Oliveira.
“I’ve been struggling early all year, and I’ve picked it up on the second part of the events,” said Oliveira. “I liked the moto test because the berms were a little more built up and it was a little more worn in. The off-road loop kept me guessing.”
In Open A, Cooper Abbott scored his second victory of the season. Austin Serpa finished second. Clayton Hengeveld, who sat third in points coming into this race, crashed and suffered a broken leg.
Abbott said the racing surface looked a lot like sand but didn’t behave as such. While the victory allowed him to pad his points lead, he was happy just to make it through.
“It was definitely something different,” said Abbott. “You kind of think it’s like sand, but you can’t really plow into the corners as you can with sand. Every lap I stuck to the same lines and tried to stay smart because it was scary getting out of those lines with all of the tree roots.”
Serpa was also fooled by the racing surface early on, but he quickly caught on to the fact that high rpms and more speed were rewarded on the time charts. The finish, along with Hengeveld’s crash, moves him into the top three in points.
“Second place is good, and I can’t ask for much else,” said Serpa. “It looks like it’s hard packed and heavy, but it’s really light, and you just sink into it. I just tried to put it where it looked hard packed and stay high in the rpms.”
The AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series now heads into the summer break. It returns to action at MMX Racing in Marysville, California, August 24-25.
2019 Sprint Hero Enduro Racing Championship
RESULTS: June 8-9, 2019
- Taylor Robert (KTM)
- Zach Bell (Kaw)
- Dante Oliveira (KTM)
- Gary Sutherlin (KTM)
- Andrew Short (Hus)
Click here for complete results.