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Peoria, AZ – Taylor Robert rode his KTM to his second consecutive victory in the AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series during the most recent round at Canyon MX. Padding his points lead in the Pro class, Robert just beat out Zach Bell. Gary Sutherlin was third, followed by Colton Haaker and Dante Oliveira.
Sprint Hero features a unique format that pits racers against the clock on different course segments called tests. The two-day event featured three tests each day on two different courses—motocross and enduro—for a total of 12 tests. Heavy rain on Friday made for perfect racing conditions during the weekend with excellent visibility and track conditions. Despite going up against several Arizona area races, there was still a decent turnout, including all of the major Pro racers.
Robert scored top honors and remains perfect this season, though Bell showed the work he put in between races has paid off. Robert credited Bell for his excellent weekend and used his competitiveness to drive him.
“He was on it and he surprised me yesterday,” said Robert. “He lit a fire under me and I knew I had to be perfect today to beat him. It shows he’s been doing his homework and riding more technical stuff. That will just make it harder on me in the future.”
Interestingly, Robert was seriously injured at this track last year, so the victory was redeeming. Nearly a year ago to the day, a collision with another rider during practice nearly ended Robert’s 2018 racing season. Robert has fought injuries the last two seasons, so he hopes to stay healthy this year. “It was almost exactly a year ago to the day here that a kid a hit me and broke both of my arms,” said Robert. “To be able to come back from that and keep winning feels pretty good.”
Bell won several tests on his Kawasaki. New to the bike this season, Bell is getting more comfortable on the machine and it showed, especially in the technical sections of the endure course. “I’m learning more and more and getting used to this Kawasaki has been key,” said Bell. “I’m learning about this rock stuff and I’m getting better. It was pretty fast, so you always had to be on your toes.”
Sutherlin caught a stomach virus and suffered his way through the weekend. Despite his health issues, Sutherlin rode consistently on his KTM and came home with his second podium of the season. “It was a rough weekend, but we pushed through on got on the box,” said Sutherlin. “I’m just happy to salvage what I could on a bad day. The course was awesome and they did a great job.”
In what is becoming one of the most competitive classes on the tour, Cooper Abbott won the Open A class, riding a KTM. JT Baker was second, ahead of Clayton Hengeveld. Abbott had trouble with consistency on day one, but made up for on day two, while both Baker and Hengeveld suffered from a mistake on the same test.
“I didn’t ride super well on the first day, but I picked it up on day two,” said Abbott. “JT and Clay are riding really well, but both of them made a mistake in one test, which allowed me to pull away a little bit. JT and I are tied in points right now, so we’re just going to keep the ball rolling into Mesquite.”
Baker rode his 2-stroke Gas Gas, using the machine’s torque to power through the rock sections and sand whoops. Baker won the season opener with consistency throughout, but that consistency left him on day two here and put him second in the final tally. “Yesterday I won more tests than today,” said Baker. “I made a lot of mistakes today. I’m happy with the Gas Gas. We’ve made a few changes since the last race, and I’m getting more comfortable with it.”
Hengeveld finished third for the second straight time. He had issues on day one, but powered his way back onto the podium on the second day. “I struggled all day long yesterday, but I pulled my head together today and rode pretty decent,” said Hengeveld. “I’m definitely going to learn from this one and keep pushing.”
In Lites A, Mateo Oliveira won his second race in as many rounds. Oliveira made his way through the rocks and bravely kept it pinned through the backstretch whoops section of the motocross course. Oliveira was riding a 2-stroke Gas Gas. Tyler Nicholson and Blake Donatelli rounded out the podium.
“It was super rocky and slick, so I just tried to stay as consistent as possible,” said Oliveira. “the straightaway in the back with the whoops had a lot of people crashing and it was sketchy for me a couple of times. I just had to go wide open through it to put down a good time.”
The next AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series event is scheduled for May 11-12 at Mesquite MX.
Devore, CA (1/6/2019) – Starting the season healthy for the first time in recent memory, Taylor Robert dominated the opening round of the AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series at Glen Helen Raceway. Riding in the Pro class, Robert beat out Gary Sutherlin to net the victory. Zach Bell was third, ahead of Ty Tremaine and Dante Oliveira.
Sprint Hero Racing features a unique format that pits racers against the clock on different course segments called tests. Each day riders had three tests of two different disciplines: Moto, which was run on Glen Helen’s motocross track, and Enduro, which was held on a large off road course set up throughout the venue. Times were combined for a total of 12 laps of racing for the overall winner.
Temperatures in the 50s with clear skies during the race days made for perfect racing. It stayed dry all day Saturday with rain that evening, making for a perfect track on Sunday. Bike counts were nearly double what they were at last season’s opener and there was a great mix of manufacturers participating including factory riders on Kawasaki, KTM, Beta, and Gas Gas as well as many privateers.
This year’s course included some additional segments, including a long rock and log section, where the smoothest line was along the K rail. There was also more single track added at the back of the sprawling facility.
Robert dominated on his brand new factory KTM 450, especially in the enduro sections, winning all six of those tests. While Bell won every one of the moto tests, the additional length of the enduro tests paid big for Robert. “Zach was moving in the moto tests, but the race was really made or lost in the enduro tests,” said Robert. “I was giving up a second or two on the moto tests, but I was able to make up 20 seconds in the enduro tests.”
Robert was happy to see the growth in bike count. He was impressed with the way the track was setup and the way the new owners are running the series. He sees growth in the series once the word really gets out. “I really hope we can get this thing to grow because it’s really incredible,” said Robert. “You have to learn to not make any mistakes. It’s really tough out there, but that’s part of the game. I’m stoked at everyone that came out. We had quite a few pros, so hopefully we can make it bigger.”
Sutherlin had a great run going on Saturday, but fell just short on Sunday and finished second in overall time. Sutherlin, who was making his first start in the series, said he enjoyed the unique challenge the series offers. Sutherlin also made the switch to a KTM this season.
“I never got up there and won a test and these guys were killing it out there,” said Sutherlin. “Zach was ripping the moto tests and Taylor was killing the enduro tests. It’s fun to change it up, push yourself, and try to be perfect every time. I really like the format and I’m looking forward to doing some more of them.”
Bell ran away with the moto tests on his Precision Concepts Kawasaki, but with only two weeks on the bike prior to the event, he couldn’t match Robert in the enduro tests. Still, he finished just 31 seconds behind Sutherlin.
“I had a few mistakes on the last enduro test,” said Bell. “I’ve only been on the bike for a few weeks, but I grew up on Kawi so that’s where it is. I like this type of racing. I just have to pick up the pace a little bit. The whole layout was a lot better than last year. It was a really good event.”
Tremaine was riding a factory Beta 300 and appreciated its light weight, especially through the long rock and log section. He was flying over the logs on his 2-stroke ride. “It was a good weekend and a good way to get the year started,” said Tremaine. “I was bunny hopping the logs, and the bike works really well in the rocks. This is, by far, the most fun you can have while racing. The Beta is a really comfortable bike and it sounds good.”
In Open A, JT Baker beat out Cooper Abbott and Austin Serpa to win the class. Riding a factory Gas Gas XC 300 2-stoke, Baker has only been on the new ride for three weeks prior to the event, but he made it look easy.
“I only have three weeks on the bike, but I loved it and the bike handled amazing,” said Baker. “The 2-stoke is great and it’s not as tiring as the 450. I love the Sprint Enduro format.”
In the Open A Lites class, Mateo Oliveira rode his Gas Gas to victory. Tyler Nicholson and Preston Campbell completed the top three.
“The enduro and the tight single track were my favorite parts,” said Mateo Oliveira. “I just went all out in every test and try to put down a fast time.”
The Sprint Hero Racing series next heads to Canyon MX in Arizona. That race is scheduled for February 16-17th.
REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR ROUND 3 OF 2019!
Head over to the online registration portal and get signed up today for the Third round at Mesquite MX. It’s an amazing year!
Don’t forget, new for this year, you get to select a charity of your choice. Be a hero. Race. For list of charities and descriptions, click here.
Flagstaff, AZ – Taylor Robert won his fourth consecutive race during the AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series race at Cinder Hills OHV Area. Taylor and his KTM continue to remain undefeated this season. Zach Bell was second in the Pro class, followed by Dante Oliveira. Gary Sutherlin, still recovering from foot surgery, was fourth, while Andrew Short was fifth in his Sprint Hero series debut.
The venue was unique among the tracks visited by the Sprint Hero series. Situated within the San Francisco Volcano Field, the track surface featured cinder-like volcano ash. The porous and light cinders forced competitors to stay high in the RPM range and carry more speed around the picturesque circuit. The roots of the large pine trees on the course made it even more challenging.
Weather was in the 70s with clear skies during the event, which was held all in one day. A slight breeze helped keep the dust in check. The 12 tests were run on two courses. The off-road course was over three miles in length, while the moto course was a shorter mile-long loop.
Robert was again unstoppable and kept up his dominating ways in the series. Adding to his win streak in the WORCS Series, Robert has now won 10 consecutive races this season. However, even he struggled to tame the soft racing surface, though he appreciated series officials’ choice to keep the series exciting with another challenging course.
“It’s really tricky and keeps you on your toes because those tree roots come out of nowhere,” said Robert. “The lava rock is so light and moves around so much that you have to stay up in the RPMs or it just sucked you down. I am glad they are mixing it up, though, because it keeps it interesting.”
Bell laid down a strong pace early in the event on his Kawasaki and earned first starter honors. He too found the course challenging and was happy to finish second, earning his third consecutive runner-up effort.
“I did what I could today,” explained Bell. “I made a few mistakes, but I also had a few good runs. I just tried to adapt as well as I could. It was really slick, so I had to make sure to carry more speed. I tried to find the edge of the track and get a little bit faster.”
As he has in the first three rounds, Oliveira again struggled early in the event, but bounced back during the second half of the event. Riding a KTM, he earned his second consecutive podium in what is becoming a true break out season for Oliveira.
“I’ve been struggling early all year, and I’ve picked it up on the second part of the events,” said Oliveira. “I liked the moto test because the berms were a little more built up and it was a little more worn in. The off-road loop kept me guessing.”
In Open A, Cooper Abbott scored his second victory of the season. Austin Serpa finished second. Clayton Hengeveld, who sat third in points coming into this race, sustained a broken leg in a crash, so we wish him a speedy recovery.
Abbott said the racing surface looked a lot like sand but didn’t behave as such. While the victory allowed him to pad his points lead, he was happy just to make it through.
“It was definitely something different,” said Abbott. “You kind of think it’s like sand, but you can’t really plow into the corners like you can with sand. Every lap I stuck to the same lines and tried to stay smart because it was scary getting out of those lines with all of the tree roots.”
Serpa was also fooled by the racing surface early on, but he quickly caught on to the fact that high RPMs and more speed were rewarded on the time charts. The finish, along with Hengeveld’s crash, unofficially moves him into the top three in points.
“Second place is good and I can’t ask for much else,” said Serpa. “It looks like it’s hard packed and heavy, but it’s really light and you just sink into it. I just tried to put it where it looked hard packed and stay high in the RPMs.”
The AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series now heads into the summer break. It returns to action August 24-25 at MMX Racing in Marysville, CA.
Mesquite, NV – Taylor Robert moved his win streak to three during the AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series event at Mesquite MX. Riding a Red Bull/KTM, Robert held off a charging Zach Bell to give him a perfect score in both WORCS and Sprint Hero competition. Dante Oliveira capitalized on an wrist injury by Gary Sutherlin to snag the last spot on the podium. Sutherlin and Austin Walton completed the top five overall.
As part of its new sanctioning agreement with the AMA, the two-day event was one of three West Coast ISDE qualifiers for riders wishing to represent the United States in Portugal. That changed the format, with the two types of tests—one on the motocross track and one on the off-road section—held in alternating order with six tests each day.
Rain prior to the event washed out some of the motocross track, and standing water forced officials to slightly modify the layout. The rain benefitted the sandy off-road sections, though, making for perfect dirt. Both days featured sunny skies with temperatures in the 80s.
Robert ran away with nearly all of the tests on Saturday, but Bell kept him honest, winning one motocross test on Saturday, and all three on Sunday. A crash by Bell on Saturday, however, handed Robert his third consecutive win. Robert enjoyed the different format as he celebrated yet another victory.
“Alternating back and forth helped keep things fresh and I really liked it this weekend,” said Robert. “The weekend ran super smooth, the track was awesome, and I was stoked. The rain made the off-road section so good. There’s so much sand out there that you really can’t water that stuff enough. It made the motocross track a little sloppy, but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. All in all it was a good weekend.”
Robert thoroughly enjoys the Sprint Hero format. He said he helps keep him fresh on his technical riding, and also gave him a heads up for the upcoming WORCS weekend here. ISDE racers, he said, shouldn’t miss these events because they are a great dress rehearsal for that series’ format.
“I love this style of racing and I hope we can grow and get more people to come out and try it,” said Robert. “It’s such good practice for ISDE because it’s as close as you can get to that technical format.”
Hadn’t it been for his spill on Saturday, Bell and his Kawasaki would have definitely been a bigger challenge for the overall victory. While Robert dominated the first two races, Bell showed that he is coming and Robert had better keep his eyes open.
“I feel like I’ve proven myself, especially this weekend,” said Bell. “On Sunday I definitely kept Taylor honest. The Kawasaki has been really good for me this year. I’ve adapted well and I’m feeling really good on the bike. We’ll just keep building.”
Oliveira and Sutherlin battled it out both days. Sutherlin was in winning form after returning from a foot injury. However, he cased a jump on Sunday on his KTM and that opened it up for Oliveira to take the final spot on the box. Oliveira was also riding a KTM.
“I got off to a slow start on Saturday, but I was able to turn that around on Sunday,” explained Oliveira. “I pushed a little harder and messed with suspension a little bit on Sunday so I got a lot better times and I made it up to the podium. The mud was cool and the dirt was perfect in the off road. It was super rough so that made it really fun. It was a great course.”
In Open A, Austin Walton earned his first victory of the season. Austin Serpa and Cooper Abbott completed the podium.
The AMA Sprint Hero Racing Series returns to action June 8-9 when it heads to Cinder Hills, AZ for round four.
Sprint Hero is excited to announce the charities for 2019.
Part of Sprint Hero’s mission is to give back. A portion of every race entry fee will be donated to some amazing charities. Be A Hero. RACE!
You will now have the opportunity to choose between four different charities when you register for your race. Pick the one that is closest to you!
For 2019, you will be able to choose between:
Mile Markers Therapy – Helping special needs kids and families of all ages.
Wounded Warrior Project – Providing programs, services and events for wounded veterans of the military actions.
Make-a-Wish – Arranges experiences described as “wishes” to children diagnosed with critical illnesses.
Breast Cancer Research Foundation – Supporting clinical and translational research on breast cancer at medical institutions in the United States and abroad.
Spring Hero Racing is excited to announce the pro payout schedule for the 2019 Sprint Hero Racing Season.
100% PAY BACK TO BE SPLIT
1st – 50%
2nd – 30%
3rd – 20%
GET READY TO BEAT THE CLOCK
(Printable pdf down below)
All AMA Sanctioned Events
January 5-6 / Glen Helen Raceway – Devore, CA
February 16-17 / Canyon MX – Peoria, AZ
ROUND 3 – ISDE Qualifying Round
May 11-12 / Mesquite MX – Mesquite, NV
June 8-9 / Cinder Hills, AZ
DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES, ROUND 5 WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED. PLEASE CHECK BACK FREQUENTLY FOR UPDATES FOR NEW DATES AND TRACK LOCATION.
August 24-25 / MMX, CA
Taylor Robert Dominates Sprint Hero Finale, Shondeck Nabs Championship
Peoria, AZ (4/15/2018) –Taylor Robert returned to off road competition for the first time since breaking both arms and dominated the Sprint Hero race at Canyon MX. Robert, who was injured in February, won all 12 tests on the weekend to score the victory on his Red Bull KTM, ahead of Cole Shondeck, who clinched the championship. Dalton Shirey rounded out the top three.
Riders competed on full-length loops called “tests.” Riders were started on each loop in 20-second intervals and were challenged to run a full-out lap, followed by a break. This event featured motocross tests on the facility’s motocross track. The enduro test was an ISDE-style track with single track, virgin trails, and a copious mix of terrain. There was a special section that went down into a wash and up the other side. A few of the Pros quickly figured out how to jump the entire thing, making for spectacular air
Robert had only been cleared to ride a few days prior to the event. Looking at the unique format, he figured it would be a nice way to return to competition without overstressing his body or risking further injury. Plus, it was his home track and the same place he sustained his most recent injuries.
“It felt really good to be back on the bike in my natural habitat,” said Robert. “It was a perfect way to get back into racing because you only have to run for five or eight minutes at a time and then you get to take a break. I really enjoy this style of racing.”
Shondeck finished second and edged out Justin Jones by two points to take the championship. Jones was leading the points going into this round, but a mechanical issue made him miss the final test on Saturday, which cost him the championship.
“Taylor won them all and put a spanking on us, but I got a few seconds which was cool,” said Shondeck. “It was easy to make a lot of mistakes, but you could also make up a lot of time. I fell in one of my tests, rode hard after that and I had my best time of the weekend.”
Jones just missed the championship, but said he thoroughly enjoyed the series. He said the Canyon race brought out a lot of pros and the competition was fierce, something he likes. “This is my favorite type of off road racing,” said Jones. “I think I would have been there, but that’s racing in general, so I’m looking forward to next season.”
Shirey participated in his first Sprint Hero race and he was competitive enough to snag the final spot on the podium. He enjoyed the instant gratification of knowing almost immediately where he made up, or lost, time on the track.
Destry Abbott finished fourth, just missing the podium by 20 seconds. Abbott, 45, said the format suits his age and health limitations. He was happy with the results and hopes the series will continue next season.
“I’m going to be 46, I’m still doing chemo and dealing with cancer, so I can’t be too disappointed,” said Abbott. “I think the series is awesome, and I hope Sean sticks with it. I want to see the series grow because it’s awesome. I would like to do some WORCS and some Hare and Hounds, but my body won’t work for two hours at that pace so this format is perfect for me.”
Mitch Anderson completed his sweep of the Open A title chase, winning here. The CST KTM rider said the series was perfect for up-and-coming racers like himself. “I had a really good year and put it all together,” said Anderson. “I’m happy to see the speed is there, and I’m looking forward to moving up to Pro soon.”
The inaugural season of the Sprint Hero Racing Series was a success, and each round attracted more racers, so next year the series should be bigger and better as Shondeck plans to return to defend his number one plate.