Dante Oliveira & Cole Martinez Take Pro Wins at Glen Helen WORCS Double Header
Dante Oliveira and Cole Martinez won the Pro 450 Motorcycle races during the doubleheader Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series Presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Bike Pro 450 motorcycle events at Glen Helen Raceway. Angus Riordan and Colton Aeck won Pro 250; Todd Sibell and Evan Stick topped Pro Am, and Brandy Richards won both rounds of Pro Women.
In Saturday’s Pro 450 race, KTM factory riders Oliveira and Taylor Robert began gapping the field from the start and the ensuing battle between the duo was intense. They swapped the lead several times during the course of the ninety minute race. In the end, Oliveira took the victory, his fourth of the season. Robert was second, followed by the Gas Gas of Giacomo Redondi.
“The rocks were the biggest factory, by far,” explained Oliveira. “It was really hard to pick your way through and you have to risk who you want to jump in behind. A couple times he got bottled up and I got past him and a couple times I got held up and he passed me. It was just good racing today. The lead went back and forth five times, so It was a good lesson to never give up.”
Robert said the nature of the race was shown in the first three corners. Robert and Oliveira swapped the lead in each of those corners. Robert, too had issues with lapped riders in the rocks, though his technical skill paid off, handing him second. “The first three turns set the tone for the race when we passed each other three times,” said Robert. “I pulled a gap on him. He pulled a gap on me. The rocks were tricky, but doable, but you can’t do anything when there were three guys sitting in the only two lines.”
Redondi returned home to Italy during the summer break and was able to get back into racing shape. He beat out Martinez in the closing laps to snag the final spot on the box, and earned his first podium of the season. “After the summer break I went back home and trained hard,” said Redondi. “Here we had a good race and I was closing on Martinez. I just tried not to lose too much time in the rocks and I’m happy with the results.”
In Sunday’s Pro 450 race, the red flag and subsequent restart confounded some riders and paid off for others. Martinez was in the latter category. Riding a Honda, Martinez took the lead after three laps and led the rest of the way to earn his first ever WORCS victory. Oliveira finished second, and officially took his largest lead in points this year over Robert. Trevor Stewart was third on a Kawasaki. Robert finished fourth.
“They called the race and I think we all had a meltdown,” said Martinez. “When you run with that intensity for 30 minutes and then have to do it again for an hour is difficult on the body. I just tucked in behind Trevor at the start and the pace he had for the first couple laps were intense. I knew it would be close on fuel, but with two laps to go I tried to milk it. I saw Dante coming, but I had such a good gap I knew I could hold him off.”
Oliveira got pushed back during the restart and spent most of the first lap recovering. He made it up to third and then second behind Martinez. Though he began catching him, he ran out of time and finished second. “For the restart, I got absolutely sandwiched back in the pack,” said Oliveira. “I was just trying to make moves and I got into third. I made it up to second and was getting really close and then I went down. I got close to Cole on the last lap but I wasn’t close enough to get it done.”
Stewart was pushing so hard in the early stages of the restarted race that he eventually pushed too hard. After a tipover, he recovered to finish third for his privateer team. “I knew I had to execute an early race lead, so I was pushing hard and pushed into a mistake,” said Stewart. “I was a little smoked after that, but I found a little groove and third place feels pretty good. It’s not often a non-factory bike makes it onto the podium so this is nice.”
In Saturday’s Pro 250 race, Riordan executed a perfect run on his KTM in rock section to score his first victory of the season. Mateo Oliveira was second on a KTM, ahead of Ryder Defrancesco’s Kawasaki.
“I have to thank my brother for making me practice Endurocross because it paid off today,” exclaimed Riordan. “I went from eighth to first in the rocks on the first lap and I held that gap. I just stayed loose on the bike through the rocks and went where I could. This is a relief. I got goose bumps on the last lap and it feels good.”
Mateo Oliveira was returning to action after an injury kept him out of the last race. Though he lost ground in the points, his fortunes may have turned here and he’s ready to charge. “I can’t be too upset with a second after being off the bike for a whole month. I obviously want to win, but after being off the bike for so long this is nice. I’m ready to get back into this title hunt.”
Defrancesco was running his first race of the season. Riding a Kawasaki, the podium finish may drive him to run more WORCS races. “I surprised myself a little bit,” said Defranceso. “I haven’t raced in a while, so this was super fun and I will definitely do some more.”
In Sunday’s Pro 250 race, Colton Aeck went from bummed out when the race was restarted to full-on celebration after scoring his first WORCS victory. Riding a KTM, Aeck beat out Tallon Lafountaine on a Honda, and the Yamaha of Mason Ottersberg for the win.
“I’ve been close a few times so it was nice to get this win,” said Aeck. “I was actually really unhappy about the restart at first, but I just regrouped and after a decent start I made it up to the front and stayed there.”
Lafountaine trailed Aeck throughout the one-hour sprint, and nearly snagged the lead on the final lap. Finishing second should allow him to hold onto his points lead. “Colton rode really well here and he’s tough to beat,” said Lafountaine. “I was right there and almost made the past on the last lap. I was right on the edge, we had a fun battle, and it was a great race.”
Ottersberg was unhappy about the decision to restart the race. He was in the top three before the restart. He earned his third podium with the third-place effort on his Yamaha. “I got the short end of the stick on that restart,” said Ottersberg. “I was third on the first lap and we were getting through the rocks decently. It was frustrating, but I’m glad to be on the box. Hopefully I can carry the momentum into the next race.”
In Saturday’s Pro Am race, local rider Todd Sibell rode his Kawasaki to his first victory of the season. Collier Martinez was second on a Yamaha, ahead of Evan Stice’s Honda. Sibell rode a brand-new bike here and it proved to be a deciding factor in his win.
“I was pretty excited because we’ve tried to make every round this year and we haven’t had good luck every single round,” said Sibell, who hails from nearby San Bernardino. “We got a new bike about a week ago. We had two rides on it, decided to race it, and see how it would do.”
In Sunday’s Pro Am race, Stice pulled of his fourth win of the season and unofficially took the points lead in the process. Alex Morgan was second on a Husqvarna, ahead of the KTM of Brandy Richards. Stice was happy about the restart because the rocks were slowing his charge.
“I got off to a decent start and worked my way up to the lead on the first lap,” said Stice. “I put the pedal down and checked out. I’m glad they took out the rocks because I really struggled there and it was a good race.”
Morgan recovered from a mechanical issue in Saturday’s race to finish second on Sunday. The restart, however, didn’t work in his favor as he had just taken the lead in the rocks before the red flag waved. “Right before they did the restart the rocks were working in my favor; I had taken the lead in the rocks,” said Morgan. “When they red flagged it, I knew it was going to be a sprint. It was definitely more intense than having the rocks making it more of a mind game.”
In Women Pro, Brandy Richards won both races. Kaitlyn Jacobs was second on Saturday, ahead of Lauren Woods. Both were riding KTMS. Jacobs also finished second on Sunday, followed by Ava Silverstri on a Yamaha.
The WORCS motorcycle classes will be back in action October 22-24 at Mesquite MX in Arizona.