Glen Helen, MX Round 1: by Jeremy Smith
Each year as the first race of the season draws near life starts to become tense in the racing community. This year was no exception. Rumors started early, in fact, too early. Riders wondered who was able to get the most seat time aboard the four strokes during the off season. Mechanics wondered what tricks the other builders had figured out, and everyone wondered if the factory supported teams would dominate. With gossip abound for anyone willing to listen; this made for a long trip across the country for the east coast riders.
By the time everyone began parking their rigs in the pro pits most of the rumors had blown over, but the two huge new transports parked at the front of the pits near the track staring line did leave a few questions yet to be answered. The main discussion of the day in the Grand Stands, were the new factory backed teams. American Honda will be supporting Tim Farr aboard the new TRX450R during the 2004 season, and not to be outdone, Suzuki will be supporting “DIGGER” Doug Gust aboard a LTZ400 Quadsport. Although unknown to most spectators at race time, Jeremiah Jones, last year’s Pro Class Champion will be campaigning a factory supported Yamaha YFZ450.
Sunday started off to what seemed an unusually slow beat. The morning’s strong wind storm and cold air welcomed no one and riders seemed reluctant to visit the track. As the day moved on and lower ranks began finishing their motos it was apparent that energy was building and electricity was in the air. By the time Pro Riders made their way to the starting gate a huge crowd had gathered at the track entrance to welcome these riders to Southern California. Pre-race anticipation from the spectators only grew as each of the riders made a parade lap around the track before moto 1.
After a few minutes’ conversation with their mechanics or track side support each of the racers pulled up to the gate and a silent crowd watched with eyes wide open waiting for history to take place. 15 seconds later, the gate fell and the first West Coast Grand National Pro Moto was underway as Tim Farr led the pack into turn one.