Press release and all images courtesy of KTM Press Center
DEVORE, Calif. – FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Taylor Robert returned to the center of the podium on Sunday with his seventh victory of the season at Round 9 of the World Off-Road Championship Series in Devore, California.
Taking place at the iconic Glen Helen Raceway, this round served up a much faster course than usual as the track crew made a concerted effort to keep the dust to a minimum. Robert, who qualified second on Saturday, powered his KTM 450 XC-F off the line to capture the holeshot and early lead in Sunday’s race. He battled closely for the lead in the early laps but he eventually broke away around the halfway point to create a 48-second lead over Zach Bell in second. However, a bottleneck had been forming throughout the race and with four laps to go, Robert got completely stopped up and was forced to sit and wait for a pathway to clear. As a result, Bell caught up to within 12 seconds of his lead, but Robert worked hard in the final laps to ultimately stretch his lead to 54 seconds by the time the checkers flew.
Robert: “I got off to a great start and tried everything I could to stay in front of Zach [Bell]. He was riding really well – and I felt good too – but we were really close the first six laps. Once he pitted, I kind of gapped out but there was a really tough section that a bunch of guys were getting stuck in so I just had to sit and wait and Zach rolled up right behind me. I was able to get out of there clean and put on another charge to pull back away from him and it ended up being pretty much a flawless race aside from getting stuck on that lap. It feels good to be back on top.”
FMF/RPM/KTM Racing Team Maxxis rider Dante Oliveira rounded out the podium with a third-place finish. Oliveira’s performance marks the sixth podium of the season for the California native, who currently sits second overall in the Pro Championship with two rounds remaining.