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Blais Racing Services Race Reports From Hilltoppers MC Big 6 Grand Prix 

Off-Road MX - Twentynine Palms, CA

  • Brendan Crow, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Ben Meza, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Patty Blais, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Photo by Mark Kariya
By: Brendan Crow

Going into the Hilltoppers Grand Prix at Twentynine Palms, CA, I was excited to throw a change of pace into my racing.  I was unable to ride the first two rounds of the series, and wanted to give the WCGP race a try.  After riding MAYBE half a lap in the unclassified practice, I had a problem with my silencer and rendered it unusable and was possibly going to end my day early.  Luckily, 3 Brothers had their box van at the race and had an extra silencer they let me borrow.  After prepping and getting ready within the long break before the 2:30 afternoon race, I felt ready and was excited to get going.

I had a decent jump off the start, but was pushed wide and had to check up putting me near the back.  For the first few laps I fought for positions while trying to be smooth on the extremely rough course.  I knew that being loose and riding smooth was going to be a major piece to finishing strong, so I settled into a good pace and kept charging onward.  I was extremely pleased with the combination of my ESR tuned Race Tech suspension and Flexx handlebars, because without it I am sure that my hands would have been destroyed pounding through the countless bumps littered throughout the hour and a half race.  I was having a blast hitting the fast sandy corners, and was feeling great even through the finish.  I am happy with how I rode, but wish I could have found a little more speed as I was less than a minute behind having a podium ride in my class!  I had a great time and finished 12th overall and 5th in the 250A class.

I have been making some changes so far this year and I am happy to start seeing some progress with myself and my bike setup.

Thanks to everyone that is helping me race this season: Blais Racing Services, ESR Suspension, Race Tech, Fasst Co, Fastway, Dirt Tricks, IMS, TLD, Acerbis, KTM, Kenda, Xbrand goggles, NoToil, BRP, FMF, Alpinestars, Samco, Bulletproof Designs, HBD Motographics, Rekluse.

By: Ben Meza

After talking with team manager, Chris Blais, and teammate, Brendan Crow, I decided that I would head out to Twentynine Palms for Round 3 of the West Coast GP Series.  In 2012, this was the event that I broke my leg in, so I was going into the event simply wanting a finish. My races on Saturday were the Unclassified at 7:00am and then the Pro race at 2:30pm.

The unclassified race went really well and I was feeling good for the 1.5 hour long Pro race to come later that day. After the unclassified race, I geared down and just relaxed for a few hours before my next race. Two o'clock came around and I headed down to the start line.  I was feeling really good and looked down the line to see my competition. I noticed Factory Husky rider Jamie Lanza to my left and realized he would be my main competition. Next thing I know we were off!  It was a running start (live engine), and without having much experience on these, I didn't get a great jump off the line.  Luckily, my Kenda Washougal's hooked up great and I started making passes. I hopped in right behind Jamie and started trying to make a pass stick! We did a couple laps and I went for a pass but washed out my front end in a corner and had to let him go.  I hopped to my feet and picked up my bike.  The whole front end was tweaked but I just jumped on and held her wide!  It took me a second to realize something wasn't right - every time I hit a square edge or any bump for that matter, my bike would try to jump out from under me.  When I went down, my forks had binded and were causing my bike to handle horrible.  The only thing allowing me to keep charging were my Flexxbars and Fastway Footpegs that kept my feet planted the whole race.

I kept charging and lap after lap, energy was being drained from my body. I kept trying to push myself and eventually the white flag came out!  I was just about done physically by this point and just really had to try and keep my momentum going. I crossed the finish line and my body rejoiced!  I ended up getting 2nd Place 125 Expert and 15th overall Pro.  It was definitely a great training opportunity and I'm really hoping to hit a few more rounds before the end of the season.

Thank you to everyone for the continued support: Blais Racing Services, Fasst Company, ESR Suspension, Race Tech, Muscle Milk, HBD Motographx, BRP, Fastway/Pro Moto billet, Troy Lee Designs, KTM USA, Scotts, Kenda, Scott Performance, Dirt Tricks, Bullet Proof Designs, Rekluse, Regina, FMF, E-line, HBMC, my parents, and just everyone that helps out at the races!

By:  Patty Blais

This would be my first race since early December.  Since I consider myself "semi-retired", I get to pick and choose what races I think are fun and only participate in those.  My days of chasing points are over but that doesn't mean that I don't give each race everything I have and do as well as I can against the guys (since there is no women's class)!  The mental preparing is a little different the older you get too.  It's a funny thing really, what goes on in your head before each race!

My husband Chris and I headed to Twentynine Palms late Friday afternoon and set up our camp.  Some of our Blais team arrived later that night and we all hung out together, had some dinner and some laughs.  We woke up early Saturday to watch Ben and Brendan in their Unclassified race (practice).  We spent the day chatting with old and new friends, riding around on the bicycles and Segway, and watched many of the other races.  We would head to bed early Saturday night after watching Supercross and a little pot luck dinner with our team.  My race was on Sunday 11:30am.

I felt great Sunday morning, totally hydrated from hydrating all week long, and was ready to race against some friends I've been racing with for 15 years!  As always, they would gather around my desert-savvy quad and laugh at my big, fat desert tires and such on the start line.  They would tease and taunt me (as they always do) and talk so much smack.  This course was more of a faster desert GP type course and I had a good set up for sure.  I also knew in my heart that on this day, a few of these guys would get beat by me!  :)

Live engine start and I was third off the start into the first turn, and then like a pack of wolves, here they all come!  My first lap was scary as it was soooo dusty and I had no clue where I was going.  I was just following dust and hoping not to blow any turns or go off the edge.  I was chasing down a couple riders ahead of me, which I eventually ended up passing by the second lap.  I felt great during Lap 2 with my Flexx Bars helping me out, and kept charging hard and making another pass on the #1 woman WORCS racer, Donna Ellsworth.  She would end up passing me back later and pulling away, finishing one spot ahead of me.  Congrats to her!  I also noticed that a few of the Vet guys that normally beat me, hadn't passed me at this point and I was pretty excited about that (Val Harris, Scott Melville, Rudd Miller, to name a few).

I kept charging during laps 3 and 4 and would was just trying to stay ahead of the pack behind me.  During the last lap, my friend Scott Melville would pass me but after the final ride through the mud hole, his quad was cutting out and he would stall it on the very last turn before the checkered flag and I got him!

I ended up finishing 7th Open Expert and 12th Overall!  My quad handled perfectly for this race and my husband always keeps it in tip-top shape.  I'm very lucky that he is such a great mechanic and supporter!  Thank you to him and all my friends for all the cheers around the course, all our team sponsors, and the Hilltoppers MC for putting on a great event!  My next Grand Prix will be in June down at the Ranch in Anza.  See you at the races!
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Related Photos

  • Brendan Crow, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Ben Meza, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Patty Blais, Photo by Mark Kariya
  • Photo by Mark Kariya

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