RJ Anderson Takes WORCS Pro SxS Win
Taft, CA – Round one of the 2015 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC WORCS Racing series kicked off this weekend at Honolulu Hills MX in Taft, California where Polaris/Walker Evan’s RJ Anderson claimed his first Pro Production SxS win of the season and was joined on the podium by H&M Motorsports’ David Haagsma in second followed by Nelson & Nelson’s Ryan Piplic in third.
Due to increase popularity in UTV / SxS racing at the WORCS series, new classes were added this year including the Pro Stock, 1000 Stock and Ace classes. The addition of the Pro Stock class was a welcomed addition to help separate things a bit in the Pro ranks with both the Pro Production and Pro Stock SxS classes hosting about 20 racers.
In the new Stock classes there was little confusion by some of the racers on the airbox rule, which states cannot eliminate their air box on their SxS/UTV and must run the stock air box; however, they are allowed to change the filter element, and due to some confusion there was some exceptions allowed at the opening round, but the airbox rule will be fully enforced for WORCS round two at Buffalo Bill’s Casino and Resort.
The weather for the weekend was interesting. Usually, the conditions for that area are dry and sunny, but this year, the track was socked in with thick fog for most of the weekend. For Saturday’s races, the fog stayed intact, but it did not have much of an impact on visibility and it did help to keep dust all but eliminated, which is normally an issue at Honolulu Hills MX.
In the Pro SxS main event, RJ Anderson started on the front row, and he got off to a great start by grabbing the Holeshot and quickly began to pull away, but he wasn’t alone. “Mitch Guthrie wasn’t far behind me off the start, and I knew he was right there, so I was trying to pace him a little bit. I didn’t want to push the RZR too far and run it into the ground, but I knew that I needed to keep a big enough gap so I ran pretty hard the first 2 laps. After the 2nd lap, I kind of looked back and saw that Mitch was gone and it was only Beau Baron back there so I backed off a little bit because I had a decent gap on him. The next lap I came around I looked back and Beau was a little bit closer, so I just kind of kept that same pace because I knew at that rate he couldn’t get me by the end, so I was trying to save the SxS enough while maintaining a fast speed,” said Anderson, who took his Polaris RZR XP 1000 to the top of the Pro SxS podium.
H&M Motorsports’ David Haagsma stepped up to the Pro SxS class this year after claiming the 2014 WORCS SxS 1000 class championship, and he quickly made his presence know among the SxS Pro ranks as he claimed a second place finish at the season opener. “I know finishing is a huge thing in this sport, I think Beau had issues and Mitch had issues, and those two honestly were a lot faster than me today, but I was able to bring it home in second and it’s nice to get a good start to the year. I’m pumped, it’s nice to show the sponsors that I could’ve done it, you know, that they believe in me, and now I’ve got to keep on the podium so we’ll see how it goes,” said Haagsma.
Despite having an issue with his steering wheel, Ryan Piplic was able to finish his first race of the season and claim the final spot on the Pro SxS podium. “I just kind of rode my own race out there. After the first lap, I had an issue where my steering wheel kept popping off. I would have to slow way down to about 5MPH and it would pop back on. I started catching up at the end, but for the most part I was in my own field the entire race,” explained Piplic.
The number 176 of ITP’s Nick Thompson finished only one minute behind Piplic for a fourth place, while Mystic Lubricant’s Tim Wyatt returned to the series and rounded out the top five.
Defending Pro SxS champion, Beau Baron was looking good off the start and held the second spot till the last lap, but he encountered issues with his belt, which sent him back to a sixth place finish after replacing the belt on the track. David Martinez took his Can-Am Maverick to the number seven spot, while Matt Hancock, made his Pro SxS debut in eighth. Keith Johnson held on for ninth place, and WORCS veteran and former Pro ATV Champion, Doug Eichner rounded out the top ten.
In the new Stock Pro class, local Bakersfield, CA racer, David Mayhew took the inaugural win. “We were really excited to get out here to camp and have fun. The atmosphere at the WORCS races are second to none, just laid back and you get to go have fun. We run the Lucas oil regional series with a stock motor. We’re from here in Bakersfield so it just made it an easy decision to come when they had a class to keep the car stock. We can do a crossover between the series so it’s awesome to have a place we can come race and it’s close to home so it’s an awesome event,” said Mayhew.
Las Vegas native Codey Rowley took his Polaris RZR to the podium in second place in the Stock Pro class, and 15 year old Ronnie Anderson put in a strong effort and rounded out the top three in the Stock Pro class.
In the SxS 1000 class, Mike Gardner came out on top to take the first win of the season. “I had a good start and thought I was going to be mid-pack with RJ Anderson and Ryan Piplic out there, but I lucked out. It was pretty awesome. We struggled a little last year, so to come out and win, was really great. I have to thank GMH Motorsports, DASA Racing, Walker Evans Racing and all of my sponsors,” said Gardner.
Matt Hancock made his debut in his new Can-Am Maverick in the SxS 1000 class. Hancock, who took second in SxS 1000 series points last season, claimed a second place finish. “I got pushed to the back of the pack because of a pile up, but I knew I had to finish and I knew if I did, I would have a good shot at the podium. I couldn’t be happier to start the season off on the podium, especially with the Can-Am. I really means a lot to me to have the opportunity to drive for a factory team,” said Hancock.
David Martinez also came on strong and rounded out the podium for the SxS 1000 class for his first WORCS podium finish. “It’s always a lot of work at the beginning of the season, but I had a great race on the Can-Am and didn’t think I would even be close to where I ended up,” said Martinez.
The second round of the 2015 WORCS series will head to Buffalo Bills in Primm, NV on February 6-8th, where the battles will be fierce as David Haagsma will have an advantage to take over the points lead in the Pro SxS class with the absence of RJ Anderson.