2021 Idaho NGPC Report —
After over two months of Summer break, the Chaparral Motorsports, Precision Concepts, Kawasaki team was back in action this weekend. The team made the trek to Cache Valley, Idaho for the sixth round of the AMA National Grand Prix Championship. Midweek rains made for great racing conditions on Saturday. However, the heavens opened up Saturday evening, which led to trickier, muddy conditions for Sunday’s pro race. While Zach Bell continues to recover well from his knee surgery, the team was also missing JP Alvarez due to injury. So, Clay Hengeveld would be the sole rider in the Pro 2 division for the team, while Robby Bell would compete in the fan-favorite Vet AA class.
Clay Hengeveld – 8th place Pro 2
Clay got off to a good jump as the gate dropped for the Pro 2 main event. He was shuffled around the edge of the top-five positions as the field pushed through the initial corners. After making a couple quick moves, Henge slotted into fourth place. From there, Clay found himself in a brief three-rider battle for third place with Bryce Smith and Mason Olsen. The battle didn’t last long, as Hengeveld solidified himself into the third position in Pro 2. As the pit stops neared, Clay had distanced himself from the pack of riders behind him, holding a solid command on third place—which would become second place around the halfway point, as the second-place rider withdrew with bike issues.
As Clay came into the pit for fuel, the bike stalled. Because of the mud-packed conditions, the hot engine was struggling to fire. After trying to bump-start the bike, the crew brought it back to the pit to try to remove some mud and cool the engine down. Finally, after ten minutes of effort, the bike fired back to life and Clay was able to rejoin the race. Unfortunately, the time lost pushed Hengeveld back outside the top-ten. Even with the deflation of the time lost, the Kawasaki rider didn’t let up and was able to push back up to eighth place by the finish.
Robby Bell – 1st place Vet AA
Saturday’s Vet race has become a fan-favorite throughout the pits. With ex-open-pro-class riders Robby Bell, Justin Seeds, Mark Samuels, and Mark Tilley in attendance, the racing has proven to be highly competitive and entertaining. As the fifty-minute race began, Robby was pushed wide through the first turn and found himself outside the top-ten. The Kawasaki-rider was quick to mount a charge through the pack, passing inside the top-five as the first lap came to a close. Just after the finish of the first lap, Bell made the charge complete, as he passed into the lead. The whole time, Justin Seeds had been on Bell’s heels as the two pushed forward.
On lap two, Bell made a slight mistake and allowed Seeds to take over the lead. Robby was quick to recover the pace and shadowed Seeds over the next lap. Then, Bell was able to take advantage of a mistake by Seeds, who flew off the track, and the KX450X-mounted rider retook the lead. From there, Bell held a strong pace, with Seeds hot on his heels, all the way to the checkers and was able to hold on to take the narrow win.
Robby Bell, Team Manager
“The rain made it a challenging weekend for many out there. We saw numerous DNF’s in the pro race, as the mud packed in the heat around the engines. Clay seemed to excel in the conditions, though. He was riding great out there and had a solid lock on third place by the halfway point. That would have been a second-place finish for him, but that issue with the stall in the pits cost so much time. It’s such a heartbreak because he was on his way to getting the finish that his effort, and our supporters, have deserved. But the effort was fantastic, and hopefully the confidence that brought will carry forward so Clay can replicate this throughout the rest of the year.
“The Vet race is such a fun event. Of course, we’re all out there racing hard and pushing for the win, but the lack of outside pressure that’s present in the Pro classes allows us to bring it back to the pure joy of racing. I think the fans and spectators feel that, and that’s where a lot of the excitement and interest in that race is coming from. It’s always fun to race with Justin Seeds, Mark Samuels, Mark Tilley and the rest out there. I was just stoked to be able to hold Justin off on that last lap. We were having so much fun out there, the race went by in a flash and I thought we should have another lap, but then I saw the checkered was happy to have kept Justin at bay.”
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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