By Cody Schafer
Traditionally the Lake Havasu round of WORCS has been one of my favorite races. So when I found out this year’s race would be the last one I knew I had to make time to make it there. It had been a few years since I’d raced a WORCS event besides a disaster filled weekend at Primm a couple months ago where a few of us from Colorado just wanted to escape the snow and get some riding in. The last WORCS race I had done before that was in 2013 where I was able to win Pro 2 at Lake Havasu. Coming into the weekend I knew it would be tough to match my previous results after seeing how fast the kids were going. The guys at the top of the Pro 2 class last time I had seen them were still on Superminis so it was amazing to me to see how fast they had become.
Lake Havasu to me is the last of the slower more technical WORCS races that I used to love when I first started doing the series in 2007. My confidence was a little low after so many things went wrong at Primm, but I was hopeful being on a much slower rougher track would help out with me matching the pace of the new class of racers. Traditionally 450 A is in the morning before the track really has a chance to get rough but this time it was in the afternoon which had me a bit excited. The line was so packed everyone’s bars were touching, so I knew the start would be interesting! I think everyone knew the urgency of getting to that first corner. When Homer was getting ready to drop the flag everyone around me started moving forward. Usually he holds the line and makes those guys go back but not this time. I made the mistake of waiting for him to raise the flag before going, so I gave everyone a bike-length lead off the line. Then I was hit twice on the way to the first corner and had to almost come to a complete stop to avoid a rider that had crashed directly in front of me to avoid running over his body. Needless to say I didn’t get the start I was hoping for. I spent the first 30 minutes of the race struggling with arm pump and stand-up cruising. After my arm pump went away I put on a charge for the last 25 minutes and started passing guys about one a lap. After the race I thought maybe I was just inside the top ten but was surprised to see I finished 5th. I threw on my swim trunks as fast as I could and made my way to the lake to cool off and watch Pro practice. I was really struggling with the heat and I knew the two hours Sunday was going to be tough!
Sunday was Easter and as important as the race was the real focus for me was celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. I would not be here today if it weren’t for Him and I am truly grateful to glorify God with racing! The Pro 2 race on Sunday was set to start at 2:15. It was really strange trying to prepare for a race that late in the day. I have a fairly good routine for me for the noon start time but waiting those extra couple of hours really changes things. I tried my best to find the balance of eating enough to make it to the end of the race and not making myself feel full and sick to start the race. I took my best guess on how much to eat and hoped I would make it to the end without bonking. I lined up far to the outside for the start to try to avoid the chaos that happened on the 450 A start. This was also a dead engine start so there wouldn’t be anyone jumping the gun. My bike fired up first kick and I rounded the first corner in about 4th. They soaked the moto track before the race so it was a bit sloppy and I avoided getting splashed in any of the puddles so my goggles wouldn’t be ruined and in doing so lost a few positions. The whole class was sprinting so hard at the beginning of the race and I didn’t want to try to match everyone’s pace and get pumped up so a few more guys passed me the first few laps. I know everyone always says they were just riding their own race but this is one of the few times I can say I truly wasn’t concerned with what was going on around me. The previous day I proved to myself I was strong at the end of the race and today I had an extra hour to catch people when they were fading.
The first few laps I was in 7th. By the hour mark I had moved up to 5th and was still feeling good. With 30 minutes left I was in 4th. Lap 15 I am 40 seconds off of 3rd; lap 16 I am 35 seconds, lap 17 it’s down to 19 seconds, then on lap 18 three seconds. The battle is now on for the final spot on the podium. I spent the last two laps trying to get close enough to make a move but was never quite close enough to make it happen and rolled through the finish two seconds behind Josh Mosiman for what I thought was 4th place. After the race I found out that Logan Chambers had crashed on the moto track and was down for a good amount of time. My family told me how far Logan had made it up into the Pro ranks and they said at one time he was running second overall. That is so impressive to me to see how fast the up and coming riders are and I hope he is doing okay from his get off. I was pretty happy with my third place finish at the end of the day. Looking back at the lap times I impressed myself with how consistent they were. My fastest lap was a 5:50, my slowest a 6:03, and last lap of a 5:57. I didn’t have the raw speed of the guys who finished in front of me but I never really faded and was there for the battle at the end.
I am sad to see the racing at Lake Havasu come to an end since there aren’t many races left on the WORCS series that are as technical and tight which I feel fits my riding style more these days. There are so many people who help make racing possible for me. First I have to thank my wife Hannah for being so supportive and forcing me to go race and ride instead of trying to take me away from it. My mom is the best pit lady there is and my dad is top notch when it comes to getting us to and from races so we can all make it back to work on Mondays. I would also like to thank Andrew Campo for the pep talk before the race where he basically said just go kick some ass for our buddy PJ since Havasu was always his favorite race and I think he would be proud of me and fellow Whiskey Daredevil Gary Sutherlin for how we finished, especially for it being Gary’s first race back. I have so many great sponsors to thank starting with Fly Racing. I don’t know how many years it has been now but they have supported me much more then I deserve and look forward to many years to come. I would also like to thank Enduro Engineering, Motorex, Dirt Tricks, DT1 Filters, Hinson Clutch Components, A’ME Grips, FASST CO, FMF, IMS, RK/Excel America, Factory Backing, Dunlop, Race Tech Suspension, Vurbmoto, DirtBuzz, Topar Racing, Dango’s Damping, BRP, Galfer, and Scott USA.
Thank you all for reading!