Joel Hetrick Takes Glen Helen WORCS Pro ATV Win
Devore, CA – Two-time AMA ATV Motocross National Champion Joel Hetrick headed west and won the Pro ATV race in his first Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Wheels event. Cody Sanford won the Pro-Am race. The events were held at the famous Glen Helen Raceway.
Warm temperatures on race day challenged the rider’s conditioning, as did the course WORCS officials created at the multi-track motocross facility. A deep mud hole, a rock section, and logs brought the technical side of off road to the high-speed motocross circuit and made a believer out of Hetrick.
Hetrick chose to work with his strengths and put everything into full sprint mode at the start of the shortened one hour plus one lap Pro ATV race. After taking the holeshot, Hetrick took off from the field on his Phoenix Racing Yamaha, while Beau Baron kept him in his sight. Baron began to catch Hetrick when he bobbled and stalled his quad twice in the rock section, but the gap was too wide and he finished second on his CST Honda. Mike Sloan was third on a Yamaha.
“I had a strategy to sprint right off the bat and it worked,” said Hetrick. “I made a couple of mistakes in the rocks and that opened up the door for Beau a little, but luckily, I had that gap from the beginning. Beau was ripping. He was going to try to wear me down at the end. He’s a 10-time champ so you know he has it figured out.”
Hetrick was impressed with the WORCS series and enjoyed his debut. He will likely be back. “This was probably my second favorite racing discipline after motocross,” said Hetrick. “I could definitely see myself doing a couple more of these.
Baron used the race a measuring stick for his endurance and he came away pleased. While Hetrick pulled him in the motocross areas, Baron consistently gained ground in the off-road sections. Finishing second allowed Baron to extend his points lead and he is ever closer to that 11th title. No matter what, it was definitely a cool battle between ATV racing’s top competitors.
“I think I could have made the pass for the lead if I had another half an hour because I was reeling him in at the end,” said Baron. “When we were done, he was just exhausted. I feel good about that and it made me feel good about my conditioning because I went and ran another race that day. It brought more attention to WORCS and that’s what we need to help the sport grow.”
Mike sloan came back to finish third by passing Evan Spooner late in the race to claim the final spot on the podium. Unfortunately, Logan Huff went over the bars in the rocks, and dislocated his shoulder, so he will most likely miss the rest of the season.
In Pro-Am, Cody Sanford got back to winning form on his Honda, after putting in a dominant run and closing the points gap. Sanford snagged the holeshot and immediately began gapping the field to earn his second win of the season. Points leader Braxton Grosse was second on his Honda, while Hetrick’s Phoenix Racing Yamaha teammate Grayson Eller rounded out the podium.
“I got the holeshot and I saw a pretty decent gap on the first lap,” said Sanford. “So, I put my head down and tried to make up us much time as I could. It was a good race. The rocks were different and I didn’t really like the mud. I put a lot of work into this over the last couple of months and this feels good to get another win.”
Grosse passed Eller late in the race and pitted one lap before Sanford. With two laps left, Grosse began catching Sanford, but the gap was too wide and he finished second. “I got lucky because Grayson and I pitted the lap before and we got really close to him,” said Grosse. “I saw him and he was just too far out. I’m just glad to get the bike to the finish line. The rocks definitely add a new element to the course and I’m glad they do it.”
Eller was also making his WORCS debut and he enjoyed his first race out west. He started third and quickly moved to second early in the race. On lap three he got stuck behind a Pro rider in the rock section and tried to send it past, but ended up bending his rear brake rotor. He survived to finish third.
“I tried to hang onto that pace, but I got stuck behind one of the Pros in the rock garden and Braxton got by me,” said Eller. “I bent my rotor and had no rear brakes from lap three to the finish, so that made it pretty sketchy going down the hills. I rode as hard as I could with what I had and I had a lot of fun.”
The WORCS ATVs will be back in action October 29-31 for a Halloween weekend race at Mesquite MX in Arizona.