Beau Baron clinches eighth WORCS Pro ATV Championship, Mike Sloan wins finale.
The following is a race report by WORCS / Harlen Foley
Lake Havasu City, AZ – Mike Sloan scored his third consecutive victory in the Pro ATV class, while Beau Baron’s runner-up effort handed him a record eighth championship during the Rocky Mountain ATV MC WORCS Series presented by Polaris RZR and Dirt Wheels season finale. Thirteen-year-old Braxton Grosse won the Pro-Am race in his debut, while Kenny Sanford celebrated the championship with a sixth-place finish.
The race was held on a combined off-road and motocross track situated adjacent and across sections of Lake Havasu near Crazy Horse Campground. The track was vintage Havasu with many square edges, sand whoops, big jumps, and rough conditions.
In Pro ATV, Sloan was committed to doing everything he needed to try to sideline Baron’s championship hopes. After scoring fourth on the dead engine start, Sloan ran a conservative pace early knowing it was going to be a tough race on the challenging track. Soon he was picking off spots and came home with the victory, his fifth of the season.
“The track was the roughest of the year,” said Sloan. “I was just trying to stay smooth and minimize the amount of effort I had to put out because it was brutal out there. It definitely took a toll on my machine and I. I had the most wins in the class and I finished off the year with a bang. I will carry this into next year and keep fighting for the championship.”
Baron needed only to finish in the top three to clinch the title. However, after having lost the championship at this very same track three years ago, Baron played it safe, rode a conservative pace, and finished second. His eighth Pro ATV crown came in his 13th season in WORCS, and adds to his 2020 tally, which also includes the SXS Pro Stock championship, and the Vet A Motorcycle title.
“I was trying to be smart today because anything can happen at this track,” said Baron. “I lost a chain here a couple of years ago and that derailed my championship. Then again, I really don’t think I would have had anything for Sloan today even if I had ridden harder. My bike has been so solid this year.”
2020 may also mark Baron’s last season in Pro ATV…well maybe. Baron is currently in negotiations with sponsors for a 2021 program. “If I can put together a good program, I’ll ride next year,” explained Baron. “If not, I’ll run the SXS and the dirt bike for fun. I love riding my quad and it would be hard for me not to run some rounds. We’ll see how it goes.”
Travis Damon finished third on his Honda. After competing for an hour and half in the motorcycle race, Damon pulled iron man duty and competed in 75-minute ATV event. To finish third shows just how much gas Damon has in his tank. “I wasn’t expecting this because I was pretty beat,” said Damon. “I got off to a good start, I kind of hit a wall, but I finished the race and that’s what counts. I had a little battle with Logan and with Mike, but I was just so tired. I’m just glad I finished, came off safe and strong, and I’ll get ready for next year.”
In Pro Am, Grosse proved that the young guns of WORCS are stepping it up big time. The teenage racer rode his Honda to not only his first victory in the class, but a third overall finish in all of the ATV classes. Look out for this bantam racer in 2021. Noah Harris was second, ahead of Cody Sanford. Kenny Sanford, who finished sixth, clinched the title at the previous round.
“That was a fun race,” said Grosse. “It got really rough, but it was a cool track, and I just kept pushing for the whole race. I’ve been wanting to get on the 450 all year long so to come out here and do this is really special. I will be back in this class going for the championship next year.”
Harris competed part time this season, but came on strong at the end. His result here was his second consecutive runner-up finish on his Honda. “I had a good battle with Brian Jackson and I was able to come out on top,” said Harris. “This is a great way to end the year and I am super pumped.”
Cody Sanford missed the previous round due to appendicitis. He rebounded quickly from the major surgery to finish third, marking his third podium of the season. “It feels good to come back with a podium finish,” said Cody Sanford. “This gives me motivation to go home, hit the gym really hard, and come back next year for the championship.”
Kenny Sanford led from the start of the race on his Honda, but crashed hard two laps in. He backed it off from there and finished sixth. Sanford’s first-ever championship is going to springboard him into the Pro class in 2021. “This is the first championship I’ve ever won so it feels good to have that experience,” said Kenny Sanford. “For the first few laps I had a pretty good lead but then I set the front end down in a corner onto a square edge and that took me for a ride and bent up my bike. I rode it to the end from there and it held together.”
The ATV racers won’t have long to wait before the 2021 opener as the WORCS series kicks off the season in Primm, NV January 15-17.
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