2021 Havasu NGPC Report —
The 2021 NGPC series turned to Lake Havasu, AZ for the fifth round of the championship. The weekend would offer one more brutal affair on the Havasu peninsula before the season takes a few month hiatus. Per usual, the race course would be a physically demanding one. However, nearly the entire track had been redesigned in an effort to offer as much novelty as possible to such a confined piece of land. Though it took some time for the flow of the new layout to come around, many racers said it was a nice change of pace. On the flip side, the new layout was a bit tighter in width, meaning overtaking would be more of a challenge. As always, this made the start imperative.
J.P. Alvarez – 8th place Pro 2
Unfortunately for J.P., his start wasn’t quite what was required, and he found himself mired outside the top-ten on the first lap. It took Alvarez a couple laps to find his groove, but once he did, the KX250-mounted rider began moving forward through the pack. As the halfway-mark approached, J.P. had worked up to sixth place, with his sights set on the top-five. However, just before the pit stop, the Kawasaki rider came together with a competitor while attempting to make a pass. The contact left Alvarez with a severely bent rear brake pedal. During the pit stop, the PC Kawasaki crew worked fast to try to straighten the pedal as much as possible, but to little avail. From there, J.P. rejoined the race just inside the top-ten and set to work catching the riders ahead once more. With one lap to go, Alvarez had moved to eighth and had closed in on a pack of three riders and had a legitimate shot at a top-five. Unfortunately, as Alvarez attempted to overtake a couple riders in one corner, he hit the rear end of one of the bikes and fell to the ground. J.P. was able to remount and cross the line in eighth place.
Clay Hengeveld – 9th place Pro 2
Similar to his Team Green stablemate, Clay Hengeveld found himself quite a ways down the order as the race began. After moving forward from outside the top-15 positions, Hengeveld crossed the line 12th on the first lap, with plenty of work to do to catch up. The Kawasaki-mounted rider put his head down and was able to overtake a couple riders on the opening laps, moving him inside the op-ten. From there, Hengeveld did his best to close the gap that had opened up to the riders ahead. Clay showed solid pace, and though he had the speed of the riders ahead, he wasn’t able to narrow the distance. Right around the pit rotations, Clay was able to make another pass, which moved him into ninth place. The KX250 rider maintained a solid clip to the finish and crossed the line to earn another top-ten finish on the season.
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“Havasu is always tought, but it was good to see both riders have solid performances today. J.P. showed he had good speed, but it just took him a bit too long to get going early-on. That start didn’t help hi cause either. It was great to see him push forward through the pack and overcome the rear brake pedal being bent. He had a real shot at passing up to fifth on that last lap, but once misjudgment was all it took to relegate him to eighth. Still, he showed great spirit and drive to move forward.
“Like last weekend[‘s WORCS race], Clay was in a bit of no-man’s land. He lost the tow of the riders ahead as he worked forward over the first couple laps and that made the rest of the race tough. So many of these guys are riding fast and on a similar pace, so it’s tough to give up that much time so early. I look forward to Clay getting some better starts when the season picks back up, so he can get further up in the mix.”
Credit: Mark Kariya
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2021 NGPC Schedule
- Jan 16-17 – Mesquite, NV
- Feb. 13-14 – Taft, CA
- Mar. 6-7 – Devore, CA
- Apr. 10-11 – 29 Palms, CA
- Apr. 24-25 – Lake Havasu, AZ
- Aug. 21-22 – Preston, ID
- Oct. 2-3 – Ridgecrest, CA
- Oct. 30-31 – Blythe, CA
- Nov. 13-14 – Primm, NV
- Nov. 27-28 – Delano, CA
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