2021 10 Hours of Glen Helen Report —
With a bit of a break in the Grand Prix racing schedule, the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki team decided to enter the Glen Helen 10-Hour Endurance race. A majority of the 10-Hour would be run at nightfall. So, the PC Kawasaki team pulled out the light setup and prepped for the event. Team rider J.P. Alvarez and team manager Robby Bell would team up with fellow Kawasaki rider Trevor Stewart to comprise a three-man effort. In a departure from the Pro-class rules at the 24-Hour, the promoters would allow two bikes for competition. So, the PC Kawasaki crew decided to take full advantage and set up a day-time bike for the first few hours of the 10-Hour, and then a separate, nighttime bike for when darkness fell.
Trevor Stewart would start the event, with J.P. slotting second and Robby third in rotation. The dead-engine start didn’t go as planned, as Stewart took off toward the rear of the 11-team Pro line. Trevor didn’t waste too much time making his way to the front of the field. He passed up to first place within the first lap, but then suffered a fall, which dropped him back to third. From there, Stewart caught back up to the leading Killmartin Racing entry—piloted by Colton Aeck, Giacomo Redondi, and Nick Stover. The two bikes battled back-and-forth over the opening hour, before Trevor took control of the top spot.
Alvarez hopped on the bike next and showed really good speed as he maintained the lead through the next hour. The Killmartin team kept Redondi on the bike an extra lap, which gave them the lead as Robby Bell took over. Bell was able to reel in Nick Stover over the third hour of racing and took over the lead as the two riders came together, both falling briefly right before the finish line. There was another hour of racing before the sun fell, at which time Stewart was riding. He came into the impound area and swapped to the team’s nighttime bike for the remainder of the race.
Once darkness took over, the Kawasaki riders took control of the race. In an impressive display Alvarez and Stewart were turning lap times nearly as quick as the daylight times. Each of the PC Kawasaki-mounted racers continued to pull time, and after over eight hours of racing, they’d stretched to nearly a full-lap lead. With Alvarez mounting the bike, he was able to make the pass to put the second place team a full lap (over twelve minutes) behind.
Robby mounted the bike with just over an hour to go and the team in full control. Then, disaster struck as the bike suffered an issue and wouldn’t continue. Bell had to push the bike back to the pit from the backside of the short-course track, which lost quite a bit of time. After getting the bike to the pit, the pit crew then had to dismount the headlight before swapping bikes at impound and then mounting the light on the daytime bike. The whole process took over forty minutes, which swung the results at the top of the field and allowed the Killmartin bike to take the lead. It was a great effort for the PC Kawasaki crew to make the swap, as they held on to second place and were still able to just about stay on the lead lap. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time left in the race to make up the gap and the team settled for a second place finish.
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“Well, that ended up being a pretty frustrating finish to an otherwise very enjoyable experience. Trevor and J.P. rode their hearts out and we were in total control of that one. Unfortunately, we just had an aftermarket part failure that proved terminal and we had to scramble to swap bikes, and lights, and maintain a finish. Fortunately, our mechanics worked diligently in the pits and we got everything swapped over quite quickly. However, we’d lost so much time from my having to push the bike through a sand wash that we couldn’t stay close enough to make a race of it to the finish.
“On the brighter side, we definitely had a good time racing, especially at night. I believe we have the best light setup out there. And our lap times backed that up, as we were really able to get separation once darkness fell. As for the failure, it’s something that we haven’t seen before, but it’s something we can take steps to keep from happening again. So, as much as it was a bummer to cost us the victory, we’re going to be better for it.”
Credit: Mark Kariya
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