2020 Havasu NGPC Report —
After an intense schedule, packed with ten rounds in just fourteen weekends, the grand prix racing season finally rolled into the 2020 finale: the Lake Havasu NGPC. The racecourse was changed quite a bit from the WORCS finale the previous weekend. The small peninsula doesn’t offer much room for creativity with the course layout. However, the NGPC crew switched up the flow of the track, which riders seemed to appreciate. Regardless of how the course is designed, one thing remains constant: the brutality of the terrain. Because lap times are on the shorter side—around five minutes—riders complete more laps than at any other circuit. The quantity of laps, combined with the soft, gritty sand that covers much of the course always makes Havasu incredibly draining on the riders as they push the pace during the ninety-minute finale.
Zach Bell – DNS
Zach came into the final round of the 2020 season ready to end on a high note. However, after riding in Saturday’s Open AA event, Zach noticed a minor physical issue materialize. Both Zach and the team’s ultimate goal has been to get him back to 100% for the rapidly approaching 2021 season. So, the decision was agreed upon for Zach to sit out the NGPC finale in order to be ready to attack the new season.
JP Alvarez – 5th place Pro 2 / 1st place 250 AA
JP came into the weekend leading the Pro 2 championship. However, it was a close race, with Tallon Lafountaine and Mateo Oliveira hot on his heels. As the green light lit and released the Pro 2 field onto the course, Alvarez was inside the top-five. He quickly moved forward to second and began pushing for the lead. While attempting an overtake for the point position, JP fell, which dropped him back to fifth. As he was settling back in, disaster struck. Through a rough section of track, Alvarez got a slight rear-end kick. Unfortunately, when his rear tire came down, it was on the wrong side of the berm, and he was instantly sent high-siding to the ground. Both JP and his KX250X impacted with force, leaving his front-end twisted. So, Alvarez had to come into the pits to straighten his levers and bars as much as possible. With bent bars and a damaged throttle cable, JP got back on track and did his best to get back up to speed.
Alvarez had fallen back to tenth after the big crash, but he did well to rally over the next thirty minutes of racing. JP put everything he had into the remainder of the race and managed to recover to fifth by the finish. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough to take the championship. But Alvarez proved his heart and desire all year long and showed that he’ll surely be a title contender come next season.
In His Own Words
“Coming into today, I felt ready. I thought I was going to take it. I just came off this little whoop section wrong and my rear end didn’t place down where I needed it to be. That just wadded me up. Then, I got going, but I had to come into the pits to fix my levers and the front end. I got going maybe tenth and I was just riding pissed out there. But, it’s racing, it’s not always perfect the way you want it. Honestly, I’m happy for this year. I really didn’t think I was going to be in the championship hunt, so I’m happy where I’m at and to be a part of the team again for 2021. Finishing third this year is fine. I’m just even more motivated coming into next year to get that number one plate.”
Clay Hengeveld – 6th place Pro 2 / 3rd place 250 AA
Clay got off to a good start in the Pro 2 finale, as the Team Green rider slotted inside the top-five early-on. From there, Hengeveld moved forward inside the top-three as he found the pace of the leaders. Through thirty minutes, Clay showed he had the speed, but an untimely fall would set him back. After losing the tow of the leaders, Clay had a few issues with his hydration pack after it was struck by a rock. Clay was able to rally some after fixing his water pack during the pit stop, but he was too far back to make any further progress than sixth at the finish. Still, Clay showed he had the pace early, and he’ll look to continue to build on that as the new season begins.
In His Own Words
“Last round of the year; it went decent. I had a great first few laps, but then I had a crash. I’m all good, but I think the crash just took the wind out of me. Then I rode around [in sixth]. The last couple laps I feel like I picked it back up. But overall, I finished the year healthy and feeling pretty strong. So, I’m happy about that. I’m just really looking forward to getting after preparation for 2021. I’m definitely focussed on getting my speed back up and getting back to where I was. So, overall, it was a good weekend and I can’t thank the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki team enough for everything they do for me.”
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“First, I’m so thankful we were able to get a full season of racing in with all of the challenges that were faced this year. It was stressful, and the schedule was packed. But it’s amazing what both GP series, and all of the participants, were able to accomplish. Unfortunately for Zach, he had a minor physical issue crop up after Saturday’s AA race. It should be something that’s quick to mend, but we didn’t want to risk aggravating the issue at the final race. I know Zach was bummed to sit out, but the main focus is on 2021 and having Zach at his best for every event.
“JP should be proud of the effort he put in. Havasu is gnarly and mistakes can happen at any moment. From how bad I heard the crash was, it was pretty impressive that he was able to recover and find the pace to move up to fifth. I know he’ll be disappointed, but he’s proven in one year to be a title threat and he’ll have something to shoot for now!
“I was stoked to see Clay up front, running the pace again through thirty minutes. That’s what he needs: repetition up front, getting more and more comfortable at that pace. The new season is starting quickly, and I know he’ll want to be in the mix for the GP titles in the 250 Pro class. I also know he has the strength and skillset to be right there, so I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to progress and prove that he’ll be a championship contender in 2021.
2020 Havasu NGPC Results
Click the link to view results:
View more results by clicking here to visit the NGPC scoring site.
2020 Havasu NGPC Photos
Credit: Mad Moose Media
Click Here to view Race Team Catalog and learn more about the parts we use to build our rider’s race bikes.