Livingston, CA. (January 26, 2016) - With both riders back for Anaheim 2, the 51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha team returned in hopes of improving on their early season progress.
Zach Bell #65, sore but back in action after taking a weekend off, came out swinging, figuring out the tough track quickly while logging a fast lap close to the leaders' pace. Rookie Hayden (Rhymes with Super'Cross') Mellross #72 used his long legs and SDI Racing Suspension to figure out the challenging whoop and rhythm sections.
Bell lined up for Heat #1 ready to make an impact. A tricky right handed first turn meant the riders could not use their rear brakes when they charged out of the starting gate and into turn 1. Zach got pushed wide with a group of riders and despite a strong effort, crossed the line just out of a qualifying spot.
Hayden took to the track in Heat 2 and was caught up in the brutal first turn pile up injuring his hand and knuckle after hitting the ground hard after locking handlebars. He would be unable to continue as his YZ250F required major reconstruction. With only minutes between Heat 2 and the LCQ, it was all hands on deck in the pits with the team, best described as controlled-chaos, ripping parts off and replacing with new before racing back down to the gate.
Both Zach and Hayden were up front with great starts in the LCQ. Zach came out in second with the leader in sight while Hayden charged passed the competition in the whoops. After charging too hard into a corner while pushing to take the lead, Zach caught a slight bump that forced him off the track. Hayden capitalized and moved into second place while Zach pushed back through the pack. Although Bell put in a valiant ride, he came up one spot short and did not qualify for the main while Mellross held onto 2nd sealing his ticket to the main.
In the Main, Hayden made the best of a poor gate pick and passed multiple riders. The tough Anaheim track was the biggest competitor in the field and the whoops became an issue for Hayden with his swollen hand. Hayden rode solid laps to score a 17th place.
"I'm not satisfied as I've set personal goals that I didn't reach," said Mellross. "I'm proud of my team for somehow putting together my bike before the LCQ; without them I'm not in the Main. At Oakland, I need to put in faster qualifier times early and that will help with better gate pics, better chances in the Heats and ultimately the Main."
"I always try to look at the positives and there's a lot to take away from this week," Bell added after the race. "I feel good after taking a week off, and my speed was really close and should have won that LCQ. I just need to minimize the mistakes and we'll be up there."
51FIFTY Energy Drink Yamaha could not do it without the support of our great sponsors including Yamaha, Allied Packaging, BDO, Carlos Vieira Racing, Costa Rica Unlimited, Cycra, Crank Works, Company West, CV4, Dunlop, DT1, Evans Cooling, FMF, Galfer, GET, GYTR, Hinson Clutch Components, HJC, Hot Cams, iBOOSTER, IMS Products, Magik Graphics, Matrix, Mechanix Wear, Motoseat, ODI, olloclip, O'Neal, Push Marketing Agency, Renegade Fuels, Ride Engineering, RK Excel, SDI, Sikk Shades, Supersprox, TM Designworks, Twisted Development, Works Connection, and Yamalube.