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2019 Glen Helen Grand Prix Race Report

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Sometimes, a rider puts so much pressure on himself to do well that he ends up making a lot of mistakes and falls far short of his goal. Then there are those rare times when he makes plenty of errors, but then goes ahead and wins anyway! That’s how it was for Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Trevor Stewart at the 27th Annual Prairie Dogs Grand Prix hosted by the Prairie Dogs Motorcycle Club at Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino, California.

At round 3 of the FMF AMA National Grand Prix Championship Series inclement weather changed the venue dramatically from Friday’s practice to the weekend’s races, with the main road in closed due to flooding and much of the course rerouted at the last minute due to sections that would become bottlenecks.

As the defending series champ, Stewart was anxious to do well at what he considers his home track, especially since he had yet to win this year, though his 2-2 record did have him sporting the red plate signifying the point leader.

“It was a tough day for me,” he admitted. “I don’t know why I put so much [pressure] on myself—I think just because this is my home track and I want to win so bad that I wasn’t really there mentally today, which was a bummer because I could’ve made it so much easier on myself than I actually did.”

After a great start in the 90-minute feature race, the mistakes started coming.

“Trevor looked like he was a rookie on the asphalt today! He’d go down, get up, go down again, get up, go down!” Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Justin Seeds exclaimed describing his front-row seat witnessing the action along with FMF/RPM Racing/KTM/Maxxis’ Eric Yorba.

Stewart agreed: “Something [like a Supermoto lesson] needs to happen because this Glen Helen asphalt and myself are not friends! Other than that, I was fighting myself today so much, mentally with the mistakes I kept making. With three crashes and a couple other mistakes and one run-in with a lapper, I’m lucky to come away on top and maintain a point lead and pull away a little bit.”

Two of those crashes almost within sight of each other on the first lap dropped Stewart to fourth behind Yorba, Seeds, and Slam Life Racing (SLR) Honda’s Derek Kelley with the rest of the pack in hot pursuit but a bit farther back.

Yorba twisted his knee on the second lap though, and along with getting doused by Seeds in a puddle, it dropped him to third where he’d remain. So it was up to Seeds to continue the battle and what a duel he and Stewart waged!

“We were going back and forth,” Seeds said after settling for second after a big crash. (He’d won the Heavyweight Expert race decisively on Saturday.) “It was so much fun racing with close friends because we can joke about it [afterward]. I’m a little bummed to get second; I wanted to try to run Trevor down. I’ve got to give it up to those guys for making it a fun race. I apologize to Eric because I did get him a little close to a wall up on the ridge, but I had to get by him because I knew Trevor was coming.”

Less than two minutes separated the top three after 90 minutes of dicing with Kelley 38 seconds shy of the podium. Motocrossers Justin Hoeft and Ryan Surratt were a little farther back, but only two seconds apart in fifth and sixth with Pro II winner Ciaran Naran seventh overall on his 3 Bros. Husqvarna followed by Ryan Reina and fellow Pro II riders Tyler Rosa (another motocrosser) and Tyler Lynn.

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Position Rider Brand
1 Trevor Stewart Honda
2 Justin Seeds Yamaha
3 Eric Yorba KTM
4 Derek Kelley Honda
5 Justin Hoeft Yamaha
6 Ryan Surratt Kawasaki
7 Ciaran Naran Husqvarna
8 Ryan Reina Kawasaki
9 Tyler Rosa Yamaha
10 Tyler Lynn Yamaha