In the oil fields of Taft, California, the Dirt Diggers Motorcycle club and Big 6 series welcomed the racers and fans of the Big 6 Grand Grand Prix Series to round one at Honolulu Raceway. Anticipated to be an even bigger year for the series, sign-up’s were well prepared to take on the hundreds on entrants, and the quick and smooth process proved the series’ efficiency. The pits in Honolulu Raceway were packed and in the first race of the weekend in Unclassified everyone took off for their first glimpse of the course.
The 7-mile course included motocross, single-track, an Endurocross section designed by Jimmy Lewis, hills, and ridges. The Dirt Diggers demanded a usual GP start with left hand on the throttle and right hand on the rear fender. At the end of the stretch of the start, the holeshot was being awarded for each row. In the third race of the day, HWT/:WT/2StkLWT, Robby Bell, Timmy Weigand, Colton Udall, Gordon Ward and Mark Samuels wrapped up the top 5. Following the Quad race was race 6, the LWT/4SrkHWT/Exp/Int class took off, but in this race Udall won, followed by Bell Weigand, Samuels and Morgan Crawford.
The highly anticipated and final race of the day, the team race, it consisted of 15 teams and a $2500 purse. Dirt Rider’s Jimmy Lewis and Fasst Co’s Cole Townsend teamed up, as did Justin Schultz and Travis Flateau, Kruz and Kyle Griffith, Kurt Caselli and Ryan Abbatoye, Gary Sutherlin and Jimmy Jarrett, the JCR team of Colton Udall and Timmy Weigand and 9 other teams. A Le Mann’s style start kicked off the team race and the racers took off onto a 9-mile course. Aside from a few trail changes, the Endurocross section that was once lane-optional was now a full section and the riders had to complete each obstacle. Caselli took the holeshot but him and Udall had a little trouble in the first bit of the course off the start, but Caselli quickly caught back up to first and handed the bike off to Abbatoye after the first lap. Colton Udall came around in second and passed the bike off to Weigand while Jarrett entered the pits in third, passing off the bike to Sutherlin. The boys kept the running order consistent to the finish and Ryan Abbatoye took the checkers, completeing the first team race of the season.
Sunday morning presented just as perfect weather as Saturday did. The first big event was the SuperMini/YouthMini race at noon that included 44 riders. Intermediate Yamaha rider Willy Simons took the overall win with Renton Minuto and Trevor Stewart trailing behind. Next through the checkers was the first Novice Dalton Shirey and Logan Tweet (We’re excited to see these boys race throughout the season). The introduction of the GPR West Coast Grand Prix Series Race was saved for the last event of the day and offers a regional AMA championship #1 plate for all classes and a $2000 purse. The start of this race would be a traditional live-engine, both hands on the handle bar-type and the first line directed their attention to the starter. The green flag whipped up and the first line was off. Being a two hour race, the racers paced themselves, although Kurt Caselli came around the first lap well ahead of the pack. Robby Bell came around 20 seconds behind Caselli followed by Weigand who was just a few seconds behind as well. The excitement really came in the race in the last few laps. As the top 8 ran solid in the first 3/4 of the race with Caselli, Bell, Weigand, Udall, Abbatoye, Jarrett, Sutherlin and Gosnell; but passes were about to be made.
Sutherlin utilized his clean and aggressive style riding and passed Jarrett, heading for Abbatoye, and as he inched his way closer and closer he finally put the pressure on Abbatoye and made the pass. In the third to last lap, Bell was passed by Weigand and Bell couldn’t find enough time to take second back. Coming though the checkers after 2 hours was Caselli and the first round of the series was officially in the books.