Dante Oliveira Wins Second Straight, Taylor Robert Earns Title Number Three
Lake Havasu City, AZ – Dante Oliveira finished off the season with his second consecutive victory and Taylor Robert clinched WORCS Championship number three during the Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series Presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Bike Pro Motorcycle season finale at Crazy Horse Campground. Tallon Lafountaine won the Pro 2 race, and Jake Alvarez finished first in Pro 2 Lights.
The season finale event was held on what WORCS officials can easily claim was the best Havasu track on record. It was setup around the sprawling lake and featured many rough sections, sand whoops, as well as a lagoon jump.
In the Pro race, Oliveira took the lead on lap one coming out of the first turn and never looked back, leading every lap of the 45-minute race. The win marked the third of the season and second in a row for the Hollister, CA native on his RPM KTM. Oliveira came on strong this season, something that wasn’t lost on the factory KTM powers that be. He did so well in fact, that he will be joining Robert as a full teammate for the 2021 season.
“Riding at Havasu is like riding at home,” said Oliveira. “I was super comfortable out there and just tried to have fun. I just tried to keep my head up, stay smooth and I didn’t touch the ground once. WORCS did an awesome job with the course; I loved it! They left a few sections rough and I liked. The fans were awesome and we had a little bit of everything out there.”
Robert, also on a KTM, came into this round with a specter on his shoulder. Prior to winning last year’s title Robert had put together dominant seasons only to be sidelined by injuries. He wasn’t to be denied this year, though, and he clinched the title with his runner-up finish. “I’ve definitely lost out on a couple over the past several years, so to go back to back, and to stay healthy, I can’t really complain,” said Robert. “I can’t take anything away from Dante. He really picked it up this year and that’s going to make for some great racing next year. That competition is what really elevates the sport.”
Bell rode his Kawasaki to his best finish of the season. After crashing into the lake in the middle stages of the race, Bell held onto to third and rounded out the final spot on the podium, ahead of Thad Duvall and Cole Martinez. “I was with the leaders for the majority of the race before I had a pretty big crash by the water,” said Bell. “I picked iup and tried to ride in, but I fell again. I had a pretty good gap at the time, though, so I stayed in third. All in all, though, it was a good day. I found myself getting faster over the season and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Duvall was testing a 350cc Husqvarna in the race and was definitely at a horsepower disadvantage. After a slow start, Duvall eventually found a pace that worked and he rode through the field to finish fourth. “For the first 45 minutes I struggled to find the speed but then I got really comfortable,” said Duvall. “During the last half hour Cole Martinez and I really went at it. The bike was awesome and I really enjoyed the event.”
Martinez was running toward the front on his Honda when he got caught up in the wave created by Bell when he crashed into the water. Though the cold got to him, he still managed to finish in the top five and rounded out the top three in the championship points battle. “I got a good start and was running up front for the first few laps before Zach made an excursion into the lake and drenched me,” said Martinez. “So, I was freezing for the first half of the race and that put a damper on my run. This stuff is all new to me and I learned a lot this season.”
In Pro 2, Lafountaine started behind Mateo Oliveira and rode his Honda in second for the first half of the race. Oliveira pitted on his KTM, handing the lead and eventual victory to Lafountaine, his third of the season. Oliveira’s second-place finish handed him the championship. Deegan Vonlossberg was third.
“Mateo and I started 1-2 and he’s good at these sand tracks so I just wanted to stay with him,” said Lafountaine. “I had a little speed on him and it feels really good to finish the year like this. This was probably my best career WORCS race.”
After losing the lead to Lafountaine, Oliveira focused on the championship race and backed it down to come in second. Oliveira won five races this year en route to the title on his RPM KTM. “I was leading from the holeshot and Tallon passed me on lap four,” said Oliveira. “I got right back around him and pulled a 20-second lead. I pitted and then Tallon got around me and I wasn’t able to make a run on him. I really was focused on the championship today. Tallon won the battle, but I won the war.”
Vonlossberg made his WORCS debut this weekend riding a Yamaha. Though he spent much of the first part of the race learning how to ride the course, he had the speed where it counted and scored the final spot on the podium. “I was pretty far off the pace and I didn’t really know when to push it and when to back down,” explained Vonlossberg. “I crashed early and had to come back from ninth, so I pushed really hard.”
In Pro 2 Lights, the most contentious championship came right down to the finish. While Jake Alvarez won the race on his Kawasaki, Tyler Lynn’s second-place finish on his Yamaha handed him the title, though the pair were numerically tied in points.
“Angus and I were side by side at the start and I just held it on longer and took the lead,” said Alvarez. “I went down on the second lap and battled my way back up. Once I got the lead again, I stayed out front from there.”
Lynn clinched the title by merit of his six victories this season. He battled with Alvarez until late in the race and backed down knowing he had to finish second or better to nab the championship. “We had a problem early on, but I worked as hard as I could and ended up on top at the end,” said Lynn. “Jake and I had a good battle before he pulled away.”
Angus Riordan finished third on his KTM in what turned into a successful season for the Australian rider. Riordan won one race this season. “I was second off the start and ran second and third for pretty much the whole race,” said Riordan. “All in all, it was a good day.”
In Women Pro, as she had done eight times previously, Brandy Richards ran away with the victory putting an exclamation point on her perfect season. Richards won every race in the class this year and was putting down lap times that would easily put her in contention in Pro 2.
“I have to give it up to the WORCS crew because this year’s track was just absolutely the most fun,” said Richards. “It had a great flow to it and it developed well. It was challenging and a lot of fun.”
The WORCS motorcycles will return to action when the 2021 season bows January 22-24 in Primm, NV.