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AMA NGPC Championship Round 2 | Taft, CA
The second round of the 2023 AMA NGPC series rolled into Honolulu Hills MX, in Taft, CA over the weekend. Recent rains had kept some moisture in the ground, which seemed to add some choppiness to the terrain. Regardless of the moisture, though, the Taft racecourse tends to harden up by Sunday's pro race. This sharpens the bumps, which, when combined with the fast flow of the course, makes finding good lines crucial. Overall, the Honolulu Hills event seems to be one of those where you either find the lines and the flow, or you don't and then find yourself boarding the (metaphorical) struggle bus.
Tyler Lynn — 9th Pro
As the lights blazed green to signal the line of 450 pro racers to fire their machines, Lynn's KX450X started up pretty quickly. As he accelerated out of the hole, however, Tyler wheelied slightly. This forced Lynn to ease on the throttle for just a moment, which let the pack swallow him up. Tyler rounded the first turn just inside the top ten, but he was shuffled back to eleventh early-on. From there, Tyler pushed to make progress through the field. Through the first forty-five minutes, he was able to make a couple moves and got up to ninth by the pit window. From there, Lynn was closing in on the eighth-place rider. However, a late-race mistake sealed Tyler's fate and he crossed the line in ninth place.
Zach Bell — 11th Pro
Zach's pro race got off to a great start. As the starting light turned green, Bell's KX450X fired straightaway and he rocketed up the start straight in the lead. Through the first couple corners, he and Justin Hoeft battled for the point position before Zach settled into second. Over the opening couple laps, Bell stalked Hoeft, not more than a few seconds adrift. Then, when Hoeft made a mistake, Bell was quick to capitalize and take over the lead. The lead was short-lived, however, as reigning champion Dante Oliveira was able to take the spot from Zach. For the next twenty minutes, Zach found the pace of Oliveira and the two began to open up a gap on the rest of the field. Though it looked like it may be a duel to the finish, around the forty-five-minute mark, Bell began to experience an issue, which forced him to drop his pace. Though Zach attempted to push through, the best decision was to relax his pace and salvage a finish on the day. In the end, he crossed in eleventh.
Robby Bell, Team Manager:
"Well, it wasn't the best day results-wise for us, though it got off to a pretty good start. It was great to see Zach get up front and run the pace again. He looked smooth and strong, and said he felt really good until that issue cropped up. I know he's frustrated, but he showed he has the speed. And it was a solid 40-plus minutes at the tip of the spear in a race once more. So, he'll get himself ready for next weekend with the plan of getting up front again.
Tyler's race didn't go quite to plan this weekend. Taft is a place where if you're just a little off, the high-speed chop will amplify it. Still, I was pleased with Tyler's effort and I know he'll rebound quickly. It just shows the yo-yo of emotions this sport can bring; from winning his first race two weeks ago, to being disappointed in his result this go-round. It's character-building, and I know he'll be stronger at the next one."