AMA/District 37 Big 6 Grand Prix Series
Round 4: Hilltoppers Motorcycle Club Grand Prix at 29 Palms Motorsports
By Brendan Crow
Photos by Mark Kariya
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA, MAR. 28-29, 2015
Race Report by Brendan Crow, Heavyweight Expert
I was excited coming into the 29 Palms GP because the layout of this course tends to favor my desert background. I knew it would be fast, and my KTM 300 has plenty of power for the fast, sweeping corners.
I loaded up Friday to prepare for a very early start on Saturday so I could make the Unclassified race, but I would end up skipping it after waking up with a very upset stomach at about midnight. I headed out midmorning and was nervous that I had attracted some sort of bug. Throughout the day, it felt that it was just getting hotter and hotter, with the weather report stating highs in the 90s. I knew hydration would be key and prepared myself for a grueling race. My stomach problems seemed to be a one-hit issue, and they went away as the day went on. I would race at 2:30 in the WCGP race, and I set out to put in some solid laps.
I had a good jump off the start, rounding the first few corners in second, and I made the pass for the lead (of the non-Pro group) a mile or two in.
The course was beat up from the start, and having not ridden the course at all hurt my line choices. I was able to maintain a good pace for the first four laps, but I had been searching for smooth lines the whole time. I was getting worn out from all of the bumps and rocks, but I charged forward.
The course was relentless! It seemed way rougher and way rockier than I remembered from my few adventures to 29 Palms in the past. My Race Tech suspension, combined with my Fasst Co. handlebars, allowed me to ride straight and consistent the whole time. I maintained my pace for most of the race but set [it on cruise control] on the last few laps. The heat and brutal course were completely draining me, and I was starting to see stars on the bigger and harder hits. I wouldn’t end up losing any positions, and I finished first Heavyweight Expert and 12th overall!
This is my first win in the WCGP Series, and it allows me to have a little bit of a gap in points. [Crow is currently leading the points chase in the Heavyweight A class.] I will end up missing the next round in Primm due to a conflict with the NHHA Series, but I plan to make all the rounds after that.
Sunday morning was relaxing; I slept in and waited around, watching races, until it was time for me to gear up and race. This race would be much shorter, and I knew a good start would be key.
I had a great start and led the first lap. The course had been worked on since the day before, which allowed me to find really smooth lines and drop my lap times by almost a minute. I fell back to second going through the motocross section after the finish but maintained my pace for the next few laps.
On the last lap, Nick Stover came from out of nowhere (I wasn’t even aware he was in the race!) and got by me. He was carrying much more speed than I was, so I settled for third overall! I finished within 30 seconds of the leader, and I am super happy with my result.
I am pleased with the progress I am making in the GP Series this year and want to carry this momentum forward.
I want to thank all of my sponsors who keep me excited to ride my motorcycle: Blais Racing, Fasst Co., Costa Rica Unlimited, FMF, Kenda, Race Tech, ESR, Dirt Tricks, Motorex, Fastway, A’ME, TLD, Bullet Proof Designs, Maxilube, Samco, IMS, RmorFX, BRP, Alpinestars, X Brand Goggles, Acerbis, and Rekluse.
[For more from this event, stay tuned for more Race Reports to be posted soon on Today’s Cycle Coverage… Editor]