|2013 WORCS Round 1 at Canyon Raceway
Photos and Text by Seth Farger, www.SethFargher.com
WORCS racing kicked off the 2013 season this weekend in Peoria Arizona at Canyon Raceway. The opening round saw not only the biggest names in UTV racing in attendance but a few ATV racing legends like multi-time WORCS champion Doug Eichner as well as Score Baja Champion Wayne Matlock decided to try the cage on for size.
After clinching the 2012 WORCS Pro Production Championship, Ryan Piplic is back with a Cognito Motorsports Polaris XP 900 and is eager to defend his title. Beau Baron whos been a contender the last two years was on hand in a brand new Holz Racing Products XP along with RJ Anderson in his Walker Evans Racing/Holz Racing ProductsPolaris RZR XP 900.
Can-Am made a strong presence with their new Maverick having several cars in both the Side by side Pro class as well as the Production 1000 class. Can-Am/Motoworks Josh Frederick and Black Rhino Performances Wayne Matlock both put theCan-Am Maverick 1000R X-rs to the test in the Pro Production class and Murray Motorsports had two Mavericks battling in the Production 1000 class.
A total of 47 UTVs including a sea of Polaris RZRs, several Maverick, twoArctic Cat Wildcat 1000s and even aJohn Deere Gator RSX850i were entered in what is quickly becoming one of the most heated and anticipated events at the WORCS series.
Coming into the event rocks were a huge concern as much of the course crisscrossed a dry creek bed and was littered with rocks ranging in size from softballs to basketballs however by race day, the creek beds were no longer dry and merely keeping the engine from sucking water became the primary objective.
On Friday racers were allowed a handful of practice sessions on the motocross track to dial in their machines and get a feel for the course. Ironically due to the rain the MX track would later be cut out from the course completely.
Following practice, racers qualified one at a time to decide gate picks for Saturdays race and Beau baron came out on top with RJ Anderson and Mitch Guthrie rounding out the top three.
As race day dawned it became apparent that water would be the greatest obstacle the racers would face and the track began to literally wash away as the day went on. Not only the track but it became increasingly difficult to navigate through the pits as a river separated the main pit area from vendor row. Despite the conditions, racers did what they could to prep for mud and with the wave of the green flag Beau Baron shot out of the soupy starting line and rocketed around the first corner to claim the early lead with GPS Offroad Products/FOX Nic Granlund, Cognito Motorsports Ryan Piplic and Can-Am/Motoworks Josh Frederick falling in behind.
By midway through the first lap, Piplic had passed up to 2nd place and was doing his best to catch Baron who was charging the course like he had something to prove. Josh Fredericks also made it around Granlund however he would suffer what we believe to have been a broken ball joint that ended his day. RJ Anderson was quickly making his way through the pack as well but would suffer a mechanical failure that ruined his chance of a win.
As mentioned, due to the amount of water on the track, WORCS officials rerouted the course around the motocross track which left the racing to be done on the relatively one line race course. There were plenty of wide spots in the course by many of them were filled with large puddles of varying depths and splashing through while going for a pass was a risky move.
Baron would take the UTV Pro class overall victory and managed to hold his lead for the entire race. Ryan Piplic managed to reel him in on several occasions however the rugged terrain of the Arizona desert managed to rip the right rear wheel of his XP 900 in the closing laps of the race. Stopping to fix the wheel would put the champ in 11 place overall.
As they say, rain is a great equalizer and the combination of foul whether and the brutal course opened the door for a couple of new faces to land on the podium in the Side by Side Pro Production class. Ken Benson and Greg Row would round out the podium, both aboard Polaris RZR XP 900s.
While many racers no doubt wish they could throw this round away, the season is just getting started and the door is wide open for any number of drivers to climb into that number one spot and claim the 2013 championship.
2013 WORCS Round 1 UTV Results:
SxS Pro Production:
SxS Production 1000:
SxS Production 850:
SxS Production 700:
2013 WORCS ATV/UTV Schedule: