Leonard Spall Takes Fifth In Class In His First Race
Okay so fifth place isn’t a podium finish but for this Kansas City, Missouri resident just being able to compete was a big personal win. Being a Southern California native off-road racing was in my blood, but competing was always out of reach. After finding out about WORCS just a few years ago I knew I wanted to race in the series, but living in the midwest might be a problem.
So during the next few years, I bought gear on clearance from Rocky Mountain MC/ATV and tried to get my stock TRX450ER running as good as possible. In 2018 I didn’t take any vacation days from work so they would pay me that time in one check, I also took a two week block of time off for Jan 2019. As 2019 came within months, the dates for the MC/ATV races were moved which put the race outside my time off. But I vowed I’d be at the Round 8 race the following Nov.
Nov 2019 rolled around and everything was falling into place, hotel, money, days off, wife’s days off, and my son’s days off. So on the morning of Nov 20th with everything loaded into the bed of my truck, the wife and I set off on a 1,495 mile road trip to Primm, NV. We drove non-stop all night, trading driving duties and only stopping for gas and food.
27 hours later we arrived in Primm, picked up my son from the airport, checked in to the hotel and set up our “pit”. I felt a little out of place surrounded by fifth wheels, trailers and RV’s. Our “pit” looked more like a day trip to the local riding spot in some farmers field than a race.
The registration process was quick since I had registered online and had my own transponder. Went out for the MX section practice, first several laps I took it easy to get a feel for the track and riding for the first time with all my gear on. After that practice I was muddy and a bit sore but definitely had a fun time. I then went out for the full course practice, 27 minute lap not a stellar time but this is the first time I ever raced so I wasn’t too worried but knew I could or had to improve that. Rinsed off my quad, showered then went out to dinner.
RACE DAY, I was nervous but excited. My “pit crew” was there to cheer me on, my wife, son and one of my sisters. Actually had a little trouble securing my helmet but my wife told me to relax as she secured my helmet. With a “good luck and I love you” from my wife I headed to the start line. 15 minutes felt like a long time to be sitting there, trying make small talk with the other riders next to me.
GO TIME, as the first row left the starting line my heart started beating out of my chest. Row in front of me leaves, ‘It’s go time” I thought to myself. GREEN FLAG!!!! and I stall it, how embarrassing, got it running again and took off.
LAP 1, the course was rougher than the previous day, got into a pace I felt comfortable with. I tried to hold off some racers trying to pass but they got around. 21 minute lap time, not great but an improvement over my practice time.
LAP 2, lapped by more ridders but thought to myself “I’m racing my first race and don’t let it get me down”. A 21 minute lap time.
LAP 3, I was starting to feel beat up and thirsty. My left hand started hurting more with every mile. By half way I was trying to get a drink from my CamelBak but couldn’t get the tube under my helmet to my mouth. With the track sweepers not far behind me I knew I was almost to the checkered flag, so I sucked up the pain and thirst and took the checkered flag with a 22 minute lap.
My wife, son and sister met me at the finish, I did it!!, I competed in my first off-road race!! Back at my “pits” my left hand was so sore I couldn’t undo my helmet, again the wife helped out. I then called my father and told him how I did.
Sunday morning we packed up and left to drop my son off at the airport and start the long drive home. I didn’t win a podium but for me just being able to race was a win. We had a great time, met some great people and made some great memories. WORCS puts on a great program and I plan to attend more races. My son now has the racing bug. Next time I’ll be better prepared to look more like a race team than a day trip.