2018 Havasu BIG 6 Report —
The final round of the BIG 6 Grand Prix season rolled into Lake Havasu, AZ. The Havasu racecourse is well-known among the riders for sand whoops, loose rocks and sharp square-edges. Furthermore, most riders tend to either love the challenging conditions, or hate them.
Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki Team Green came into the round with a few things left to fight for. Blayne Thompson and Justin Seeds were in a three-way battle for third place in the championship standings with Husky’s Dalton Shirey. Having already clinched the Pro2 championship, Clay Hengeveld came into Havasu with the drive to finish the season victorious at what he considers a home-race. Lastly, there were a couple notable additions to the vet AA race for team manager Robby Bell.
Blayne Thompson — 3rd place Pro (3rd place in Championship Standings)
Blayne was caught out with slightly slow reactions when the green lights lit to signal the start of Sunday’s pro race. After hitting Zach Bell’s downed Husky in the first corner, Thompson came out around eleventh. From there, Blayne picked his way through the field, eventually catching third place Trevor Stewart. The two pitted on different laps and the Precision Concepts pit crew did a great job getting him out quickly. As a result, Blayne took over third position.
Unfortunately, a few laps later, Thompson suffered a fall in a swampy section down by the water. The bike landed on its handlebars, causing havoc on the controls. With the throttle nearly sticking, Blayne continued to charge with Dalton Shirey closing in. The two pushed up into Stewart and a last-lap pass put Thompson back onto the podium, where he would finish. The third place clinched third in the final standings for Blayne. He also wrapped up the Heavyweight AA championship with a top-ten finish on Saturday.
In His Own Words
“I was feeling really good coming into the weekend thinking I could get a podium or a win out here. We ended up coming out with a third, so not going to complain about that. I felt like I was riding better than that third, but I had a couple issues and went down, so I can’t complain about anything. I was caught sleeping a little bit [off the start], but came into the corner halfway decent. Then, Zach [Bell] crashed in front of me so I ended up hitting his bike. I tried to pick off people every lap and stay on two wheels.
“Coming into the straightaway next to the lake, the mud was getting really deep. I swapped out and the bike shot me off and I landed on my head. That slowed me down for a good twenty seconds. I had to get the bike off of me, turn it around and get going again. Then, Dalton [Shirey] was pushing me into Trevor [Stewart] big time. When I saw Dalton coming and I had to go because that was third place in the championship right there. If he got around me he would have got third. But I wasn’t going to let that happen so I sent it that last lap and ended up getting Trevor for third.”
Justin Seeds — 7th place Pro (5th place in Championship Standings)
Justin’s starts have been on the upswing as the season has wound down and he finished the year off with a holeshot. Seeds lead the first lap and a half before tightening up slightly and losing a few positions. He settled into fifth in the early going, then pitted early to get a second wind. The pit knocked Justin back to tenth, but the Kawasaki rider rode hard to make up the time.
Seeds was able to make a few passes, especially as other riders pitted. Late in the race, he had worked back up to sixth place, but found himself in a late duel with GNCC rider Ben Kelley. Justin got bogged down in some lapped traffic just before the white flag came out and relinquished the spot to Kelley. Though he put in an effort to close the gap and retake the position, Justin couldn’t quite do so and ended up settling for a seventh-place finish on the day.
In His Own Words
“I took it a little easy [the last couple weeks] because I knew this one was going to be brutal. But honestly, knowing it was going to be rough, I should have worked on a few things. Unfortunately, I kind of lost the strength in my legs there toward the end of the race. I was kind of bouncing around like a floppy fish out of water at the end, but it was fun. I did get a sweet holeshot again and lead the first lap. This track is so gnarly, though. I definitely learned what I need to work on before coming back again.
“I had a good year. Obviously, I was wanting more podium finishes and wins. But I have to thank the whole team for backing me over the years. Now it’s on to the next step in my chapter and see how it goes!”
Clay Hengeveld — 2nd place Pro2 (1st place in Championship Standings)
Clay got off to a decent start from the pro2 line, slotting in around fifth early-on. He was able to make a few passes while all of the front-runners were close, moving into the podium positions. Then, as the course ran near the Havasu water’s edge, Hengeveld got splashed by the rider ahead of him, wrecking his vision. Consequently, the Team Green rider decided to come into the pit on the first lap to get clean goggles.
Hengeveld rejoined the race outside the top-ten, but went to work cutting through the field with a vengeance. Lap after lap he was making up ground and at the pit stops, he had worked all the way up to the lead. After Clay pitted for fuel, he dropped back to second place behind Austin Serpa. The two battled hard for a couple laps, but Clay just ran out of steam at the end, settling for second.
In His Own Words
“Coming into the weekend I felt strong. It’s kind of a home-town race for me. I ride down here a lot…so I wanted to come here and get the win. The start was alright. I think I was sixth or seventh. I made my way up front, but unfortunately down the by the water, man, I got drenched with water and my goggles were just ruined. So, I had to come in for a fresh set of goggles. Then, I just charged all the way until I had to pit for gas. Unfortunately, the tip of my water pack hose [the bit valve] broke during the race, so I didn’t have any water. With two laps to go I was just completely drained, so I pulled back into the pit for water and just wanted to finish strong.
“Definitely not the finish I wanted, but I’m very proud of myself [this year]. I came out and won Adelanto, then second at Taft. From there on out, it was pretty amazing because I won every single round all the way up until this point. I’m just stoked [on the championship]. It makes me want to work that much harder to get one on the 450. I definitely couldn’t have done it without the whole Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki team and especially Robby [Bell] for taking me under his wing, training me and helping get me to where I am today. Thanks to my family and all of our sponsors to, I couldn’t do it without them.”
Robby Bell — 3rd place Vet AA (1st place in Championship Standings)
There were a couple marquee entries in the vet AA class. Josh Grant and Jeremy McGrath decided to come out to Lake Havasu to try out the Grand Prix race. There was a bit of interest as to whether Bell could run with and battle Grant, but unfortunately, the opportunity was lost in the first turn. Robby got pinched off pretty quickly up the start straight and then fell in the first corner. Then, in trying to push through the field quickly, he fell again on the first lap. After picking himself up outside the top-twenty, the team manager worked his way up to third by race-end.
In His Own Words
“I definitely saw that race going differently in my head beforehand. I’ll be honest and say I was curious as to whether I could hang with Josh’s speed, but unfortunately, I never got the chance. It was crazy out there. This is such a demanding track, and the speed difference between all the different skill levels makes it pretty hectic. But I survived, and it was cool when I was behind McGrath for a bit, seeing the big number two on his back. Overall, it was a good weekend for the team. Everyone’s fit and ready to get twenty-nineteen rolling, which is good because the new season is going to be here before we know it!”
2018 Havasu BIG 6 Results
1st – Zach Bell
2nd – Dante Oliveira
3rd – Blayne Thompson
4th – Dalton Shirey
5th – Trevor Stewart
6th – Ben Kelley
7th – Justin Seeds
8th – Trevor Bollinger
9th – Clayton Gerstner
10th – Josh Toth
1st – Austin Serpa
2nd – Clay Hengeveld
3rd – Mitch Anderson
4th – Preston Campbell
5th – Jake Alvarez
To view the full race results, click here.