Dante Oliveira & Taylor Robert Split Glen Helen WORCS Doubleheader Wins
Devore, CA – KTM’s Dante Oliveira and Taylor Robert recorded victories during the doubleheader Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series Presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Bike Pro Motorcycle races at Glen Helen Raceway. The two-race weekend, run on Saturday and Sunday at the Southern California track, represented rounds four and five of the 2020 season. Mateo Oliveira, Tyler Lynn, and Brandy Richards won both rounds of the Pro 2, Pro 2 Lights, and Women Pro classes, respectively.
The events were held on Glen Helen’s circuit that features extensive hills, off-road sections, and a world-class motocross track. On Sunday, officials added two special Pro technical rock sections to further compliment the excellent layout. Temperatures were warm all weekend, making fitness key for the ever-growing field of Pro motorcycle racers. Both races were 75 minutes long plus one lap.
In Saturday’s Pro race, Dante Oliveira took the holeshot and held the lead until he pitted one lap before Robert. Meanwhile Robert was not having a good race. After crashing on the second lap, he attempted to hold the lead in the pits and left early, spilling fuel all over himself and his bike. That handed Oliveira the lead and he went on to win. Robert was second, ahead of Austin Walton. “I’m pumped; that was an awesome win,” exclaimed Oliveira after recording his first victory in the class. “WORCS did an awesome job with the course and I just had fun riding my motorcycle. I was ready for any challenge from Taylor.”
Robert didn’t take a thing away from Oliveira’s victory, but definitely wished he could have had a few laps to do again. Though it stalled his win streak, the second-place finish allowed him to easily hold his points lead. “That definitely wasn’t my finest performance,” said Robert. “Dante was riding phenomenally, and I didn’t have much room for mistakes. I was digging myself out of a hole the entire race. He was going to pass me in the pits and I got a little antsy and pulled a rookie move and took off too soon with the dump can still in. I spilled fuel all over myself and then it flooded out the bike. So, that threw my race away.”
Rough conditions, along with the warm temperatures, definitely took their toll on Walton. Though it wasn’t obvious, as the Nevada rider scored his second podium of the season. “I felt good coming into this race and I thought I had everything dialed in,” said Walton. “The track got rougher than we expected, but all in all I felt really good on the bike and made a hard push.”
In Sunday’s race, Robert was focused on redemption. Oliveira took the holeshot again, but Robert rode an aggressive first lap making up two slots to take the lead. From there, he ran his own pace to score his fourth victory of the season. Walton was second, followed by Dante Oliveira.
“I had to be pretty aggressive and made some passes on the first lap,” said Robert. “I got out front and I was able to control the race from there. Austin and Dante were riding really well and they kept me honest. I love the direction the series and the Pro class is going. We’re getting more factory teams and some fast kids. I’m really excited to see how it grows.”
Walton’s comfort level was much better in Sunday’s race and it showed. After taking second from Oliveira early, he made several charges at Robert and held on to second. His third podium of the season moves him to within six points of Oliveira, who sits second in the championship. “Yesterday I figured out the track and got more comfortable,” said Walton. “Then they threw in that rock section today and that made it a lot more fun. I found a groove today and pushed all the way to the end. Everyone was hooting and hollering for me. I was going fast as heck and I wanted to see what I could do. I couldn’t make anything happen but it was fun.”
Dante Oliveira seemed to copy Robert’s Saturday race on Sunday. After several crashes, he held on to finish third. Noting the depth of the WORCS talent pool, he knows he needs to step up his game to stay competitive. “I just made too many mistakes today,” he said. “I went down once in the rocks and again in the pits. You can’t do that with these guys because they are on it. I had fun and Glen Helen is always super cool.”
In Pro 2, Mateo Oliveira swept the weekend, winning his fourth and fifth consecutive races. Tallon Lafountaine and Carlen Gardner completed the podium on Saturday, while Colton Aeck and Mason Ottersberg finished second and third, respectively, on Sunday.
“I won both my qualifiers in both my races, and it was awesome,” said Mateo Oliveira, who extended his points lead with the two wins. “It’s great to be back at the WORCS races. I have been putting in a lot of work getting better on the big bike and I’m stoked it’s paying off.”
The heat was on for Lafountaine who was charging hard at the end of Saturday’s, despite being in significant pain from cramps and from the rough conditions. He soldiered through, though, and after making a charge for the lead he settled for second, earning his second consecutive podium finish. “I was cramping up super bad,” said Lafountaine. “This track is super choppy and it beat me up pretty well. The last couple of laps I couldn’t even open my fingers to grab my levers. I knew it was going to hurt when I tried to catch Mateo there at the end but it was worth it.”
Gardner was filling in on the Beta and he looked like he was old hand at this type of racing, despite it being his first start. He came into the event with an open mind and an excellent attitude and it paid off with the final spot on the box on Saturday. “I definitely came in here with the idea that I wanted to learn,” said Gardner. “These guys roll the whole time and they know what they’re doing. I latched on to learn and I learned a lot.”
Aeck also made himself look like a veteran, despite the weekend representing his first and second starts in the series. On Saturday he finished fourth. He backed that up with a runner-up finish on Sunday. Aeck competed in the race at the urging of his uncle. “I did like three rounds back 11 years ago and I’ve been racing supercross and motocross since,” said Aeck. “It was a hard-fought race today and I’m pretty proud of the way I rode. It was a lot more time than I’m used to spending on a motorcycle but It was a lot of fun. My uncle Jason was nagging me to run WORCS because he thought I’d be good at it. It turns out he was right.”
Ottersberg had to fight hard for that final step on the podium on Sunday. He overcame brake issues that started early in the race and fought hard to finish third. “I fought through the adversity,” said Ottersberg. “I lost my rear brakes so to be on the box with all of that is good. The Pro sections made for good racing and it got rough.”
In Pro 2 Lights, Lynn’s sweep of the weekend is quickly making the championship chase interesting. The victories, along with a seventh-place finish on Saturday by points leader Jake Alvarez has moved him to just a single point out of the championship lead. Strangely, Lynn explained he had an off weekend.
“I struggled to get comfortable on the bike all weekend,” said Lynn. “I made It happen, but I need to make some changes to the bike or my riding. You have off weekends, but we’ll come into the next race swinging.”
Thomas Dunn finished second in Saturday’s race. The first-year Pro won the 250A race and then topped it off with a podium finish. Dunn followed Tyler throughout Saturday’s race and is definitely beginning to learn the ropes in the class. “I just tried to keep up with Tyler all of the race,” said Dunn. “This is my first year in Pro. I just work hard and try to do the best I can and finish where I finish and today that was second place.”
Angus Riordan finished third on Saturday. The finish marked his fourth podium in a row. Combined with a fourth on Sunday, he is now in a mathematical tie with Lynn for second in points. “I got the holeshot and surprised myself,” said Riordan. “These two guys passed me and I just stayed where I was.”
In Sunday’s race, Alvarez rebounded to finish second. Will Riordan, Angus’ older brother, was third. Alvarez has been struggling with throat issues all season. Through the sickness, he has stayed in the points lead and will be a strong competitor when it comes down to the wire. “Yesterday I wasn’t really feeling it so today I really wanted to see what I could do,” said Alvarez. “It was kind of hard to say where Tyler was. I would catch him and then I would lose him. With the two Pro sections it was hard to keep up with. But once I got into second, I was able to run my own race.”
Sibling rivalry came into play on Sunday as the elder Riordan was swapping positions early with his younger brother. That drove him to earn his second podium of the season. “In the hills and on the motocross track I went back and forth with Angus until I finally made it stick,” he said. “I knew when I saw him in front of me that I had to get in front of him. It’s cool to come here and get on the podium. It was super rough today.”
In Women Pro, Brandy Richards continued her winning ways, earning victories in both races. She has won every race going back two seasons and seems pretty much unstoppable.
“This is so far my third season undefeated,” said Richards. “I felt pretty good all weekend. We had two KTM sweeps, showing it’s the best bike out there. The track was really fun. The first half is a little tighter and parts are just superfast and wide open.”
Kaitlyn Jacobs and Lauren Woods swapped spots on the podium both days with Woods finishing second on Saturday and then third on Sunday. Jacobs has spent significant time on her fitness. Leaner and meaner, she was pleased with her weekend, especially because she was riding a lower horsepower 250. “I leaned down a little bit and my fitness feels great,” said Jacobs. “I battled with Lauren and showed her a wheel a couple of times. My 250 had nothing for her, but I was really happy with the results.”
Woods took the holeshot in both races and battled Jacobs throughout the weekend. She enjoyed the level of competition. “I battled with Kaitlyn the whole weekend,” said Woods. “She challenged me throughout and that made it interesting. She got the best of me on Sunday.”
The next rounds for the WORCS motorcycle series are being held at Shorty’s Sports Park in Blythe, CA. The doubleheader weekend is scheduled for October 23-25.