BEAU BARON DOMINATES WORCS PRO ATV SEASON OPENER
Lake Havasu City, AZ – With the ink barely dry on the 2020 season due to COVID 19 scheduling issues, the Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Wheels kicked off the ATV season at one of its most memorable and challenging circuits. Set at the Crazy Horse Campground, Lake Havasu is always tough, but this year, Beau Baron was tougher as he took his first step toward his third consecutive Pro ATV championship with a victory.
Usually spoken in hushed tones and in some cases under one’s breath, the Lake Havasu track is known for being brutal. The challenging sand whoops and deep ruts are the stuff of legend. Also legendary is the Lagoon Jump, and this year’s big air heave ho over the lake was all new, and a lot more fun. WORCS officials worked tirelessly to dredge it out and create one of the best editions of the jump in recent history.
Baron took full advantage of the jump in the Pro ATV portion of the weekend. He dialed in his approach and lift off throughout the race and was jumping it perfect on every lap of the 75-minute event. He beat out 13 other Pro racers to get the victory on his Honda. Mike Sloan was second on a Yamaha, ahead the borrowed Honda of GNCC standout Jarrod McClure. “I didn’t think I would have in me to do it here at the roughest track, but I managed to pull it off and couldn’t be happier,” said Baron. “The lagoon jump was big and you really had to think about it because it got a hole in the main line and I just barely cleared it on the first lap. So, after that I squared it up and made it every lap.”
Sloan, too, took a kamikaze approach to the jump and it worked for him. Running a close second to Baron throughout the race, he tried every line, ever jump, and everything he could to try to make a pass stick, but he wasn’t able to equal Baron’s pace and he finished second. “I tried to charge every lap, find new lines, and work the quad to go faster,” said Sloan. “We will build off of this finish, keep putting in the work, and get our setup right for the rest of the year. There were a few times when I hit the Lagoon Jump and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. You just had to go for it every lap.”
McClure is known more for bouncing off trees and trying to avoid traffic in the deep woods of the East Coast. He proved here that he has an affinity for big air and sandy off-road racing by finishing third in his first WORCS start. Riding a quad loaned to him by retired pro racer, Kyle Grosse, McClure made changes to the Honda throughout practice, eschewing the twist throttle for a thumb actuated unit and he was close to the pace Baron and Sloan on race day. “I was a little uncomfortable at first but he gave me free reign so I switched the suspension and changed the throttle setup,” said McClure. “The two guys up front were shredding and I wasn’t comfortable running that pace. So, I followed my own groove and overall, I’m happy to be on the podium.”
In Pro-Am, Braxton Grosse backed up his win the season finale with another victory here. He debuted a freshly built black Honda ride for the start of the 2021 season, and he turned an excellent start into a dominant victory after leading every lap. Cody Sanford was second, followed by Brian Jackson.
“We’re starting fresh and hopefully we can keep this streak running,” said Grosse. “I hit the Lagoon Jump on the first two laps, but on the third lap I cased it. I had enough of gap at that point so I went around it for the rest of the race.”
Grosse went on to take the season opener Pro-Am victory by nearly a minute over Sanford in the second spot for his second straight win in two races in the Pro-Am class.
Sanford used the Lagoon Jump to his advantage. The jump is a natural short cut on the course and an aptly named “chicken lane” took the long way around the jump. An affinity for the jump put Sanford a competitive second at the finish on his Honda. “The biggest thing here is staying consistent,” said Sanford. “Brian wasn’t hitting the Lagoon Jump, so I got around him because I was gaining time on him every lap. I hung on to Grosse for the first lap, but I didn’t want to wear myself out trying to keep up with that kid.”
The Lagoon Jump sidelined Jackson’s pace. After hitting it perfectly on the first three laps, the lead up to the jump began to rut up. Choosing to go around may have put him back, but he still finished third on his Yamaha. “The Lagoon Jump was great for the first three laps but it got gnarly after that with all of the ruts,” explained Jackson. “I kept casing it hard so after that I took the chicken line because I didn’t want to take a risk.”
The ATV classes will be back in action February 12-13 when the Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Wheels Series heads to Shorty’s Sports Park in Blythe, CA for round 2.