Brown Take WORCS 2 at Primm

By

Joe Colombero

FMF/KTM’s Mike Brown is one of the toughest racers in the world and when things get fast, brutal, and treacherous, Brownie excels. That’s what happened at WORCS round 2 this weekend in Primm, Nevada. WORCS Promoter Sean Reddish laid out a Pro course that featured long high speed sections of sand whoops, tight twisting berm turns, rocks, more energy sapping sand and a two-race format adding up to almost three hours of wide-open racing to get the overall. And the man who took the overall was Mike Brown.

Brown got off the line well in both races, having trained himself to get a good jump on the dead engine-start featured at Primm. Mike took the lead early in race #1, but fell victim to his own aggression and crashed hard in the whoops on lap two, falling back to fifth. He recovered and charged forward again to take the third spot by the checkered flag. In race #2 on Sunday, Brown again gated well, but found himself in third place chasing the twin Kawasaki’s of Taylor Robert and Justin Soule. Brown set the fastest lap of the day on lap four with an 8:00 flat, cutting seven seconds off the Kawasaki teammates lead. Then Robert pulled off the track when his 450 overheated and seized. Brown still had to hunt down Soule which he did a lap later. Once out front with clean air, Brown was uncatchable taking the race #2 win and the overall with a 3-1 score for the weekend.

“I’ve always had bad luck here before,” said Brown. “But I guess it was my turn to have some good luck. It wasn’t easy though. I went down a couple of times but nothing too serious. I’m riding the new KTM 450 and the bike is so strong that it really makes it easy especially on a fast course like this one. The FMF/KTM Off Road team is the best a racer could hope for and this win is really for them.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soule showed the off road world that he is a champion-in-waiting. Soule took second overall with a 2-3 score, but those numbers don’t tell the story of how close he came to winning it all. In race #1 Soule gated well and battled his way into the lead by passing Brown on lap three. Then Justin found himself in a dogfight with his teammate Taylor Robert. Like a classic prize-fight, this was a battle of the puncher versus the boxer. Soule – the puncher rides like a grizzly busting through the trees while Robert flies over and around everything almost literally “floating like a butterfly” over the toughest obstacles. Soule and Robert traded paint this way for most of race #1 with Robert getting the win and Soule finishing a close second. Then in a race #2, the Kawasaki teammates took off again and were swapping the lead back and forth when Robert’s motor went south and Soule disappeared. It looked for a moment like Justin would get his first overall in a WORCS round, but it was not to be as his own 450 started to sputter and cough. The bike stalled more than once as Brown went by, but Justin soldiered on trying to keep pace and nurse the boiling Kawasaki home hoping to hold the machine together for the whole 90 minutes. He still held second when the white flag came out but the hounds were at his heels in the form of Gary Sutherlin who had charged forward from a mid-pack start. At the checkered flag Sutherlin came across the line just seconds in front of Soule. Justin sputtered past the flag just before his mount died leaking oil and hissing steam in third place. Soule’s 2-3 score for the weekend was good enough for second overall.

“I’m happy for Mike (Brown),” said Soule. “He rode a great race and deserves the win. I’m not going to say anything about luck or fate, but I’m really looking forward to the next round in Mesquite in two weeks.”

Third overall went to privateer Gary Sutherlin for his first career WORCS podium. Sutherlin scored 4-2 over the weekend with second in race #2 being his personal best-ever in a single event. With help from Zip-Ty racing, Sutherlin was able to carefully prep his Kawasaki for Primm and had an ideal set-up from the desert racing expert. Gary rode incredibly well in both races, coming a from a mid-pack start to take fourth in race #1. Then in race #2 Sutherlin impressed everyone by charging through the pack from a last place start, carefully picking off riders one by one until he found himself in third and closing on Soule. Then on the white flag lap, Sutherlin pounced and took the pass for second just before the finish line.

“I can’t describe how I feel,” Said Sutherlin. “It makes such a difference when you can train and have a bike that really works. I just want to thank everybody who has helped me out especially Ty Davis and Zip-Ty Racing. This is the first time I’ve made the podium overall and now that I’m here I want to go up higher on the boxes and see if I can win one of these.”

The tragic hero of the weekend was Taylor Robert. Robert won race #1 after battling with Soule for 1 ½ hours. Then he was leading race #2, again battling with Soule when his Kawasaki locked up underneath him. He pushed the bike back to the pits almost ½ mile where the Kawi mechanics worked feverously to put in a new motor. It was done quickly, but it still took a lot of time and Taylor jumped back on several laps down and salvaged what he could for the day. Robert finished 14th in race #2 for a 1-14 score and sixth overall for the weekend.

Bobby Garrison took fourth overall while nursing torn ligaments in his shoulder, with Kyle Summers finishing fifth with a 5-5 score. Robert was sixth with Ryan Abbatoye seventh, Robby Bell eighth, Colton Haacker ninth and Kailub Russell tenth.