A topic of controversy, who is really the King of the West? The top dog if you will? On the East Coast, it's very well known that GNCC is the largest off-road series bringing in the largest racer and fan base all around. GNCC is a sought after sponsor/brand hot spot, that the industry needs. On the West, the story is not so simple. With a handful of decent promoter's and organizations, everyone is trying to have the "it" factor to bring in record amounts of riders, spectators and manufacturers. At one point, WORCS had it all, but lately it seems a matter of opinion whether the series is still what it once was. We laid out what we think are the few largest series on the West, and we'll leave the speculations up to you.
One of the oldest GP series' on the West Coast, the Big 6 Grand Prix Series originated in 1995. Although it is called Big 6, the series has expanded to 8 rounds for 2012. Eight select clubs of District 37 are in charge of their round and the races are set up in various Southern California locations. Another addition for 2012 is the AMA West Coast Grand Prix Series, which is it's own class of points that can earn you a National title and some dough with it's sizable purse. For 2012 top name riders like Kurt Caselli, Timmy Weigand, Colton Udall, Robby Bell and Kyle Summers have made appearances and set the bar for speed and performance. The turnouts for Big 6 have constantly seen big numbers, always exceeding 1000+ entries. From amateurs and Women, to Vets and Mini's, the series is stacked with talent. Many people race both Big 6 and WORCS (as they are extremely similar), but for some reason Big 6 doesn't get the recognition it deserves. The series currently sits in a prime spot to shine brighter on the West, but with the right plan of action.
Originated in 2001, Sean Reddish purchased the series in 2004 from THE Danny Hamel's brother, Dave. After some revamping, WORCS became known as a GP-style course, focused on off-road with an established motocross track. The series has seen some of the greatest talent in the industry including Ricky Dietrich, the late Nathan Woods, Jeff Alessi, John Dowd, Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, Travis Pastrana and a countless list of top-level riders. In its peak, WORCS was what many people recognized as the GNCC of the West. Full gates, Factory teams, big money, and nationwide recognition defined the series. Today, WORCS seems be looking back on better days and struggling to fill half a Pro gate. Changes have been made over recent years including the format, classes, layout and geographical locations, but to pin point any one certain culprit would be difficult. Complaint's that it has turned into a glorified Motocross series has come into fruition, but that is a controversial topic. On the East coast, WORCS is still basically known as the "it" series of the West, but rumors have traveled far leaving many wondering if it will stay on that path. With WORCS having issues of it's own, it is leaving the other series an open door to capitalize. The big question is, is will those other series' make their move?
National Hare & Hound
The roots of the National Hare & Hound run deep in the California desert. Like Big 6, the NHHA is supported by District 37 as well as clubs in regions it travels to. The series brings in racers looking to test themselves and their bike as the courses range from about 60-120 miles in the open, marked, desert terrain. You get your money's worth in the National Hare & Hound, paying only $60 that will allow you to race with a full class for hours; that also includes accurate scoring, and the camaraderie of the series is one of it's greatest attributes. Their contingency program through sponsors exceeds thousand and thousand of dollars, and includes a Pro purse for the top 3 finishers. Because of the fact that it is not a spectator-friendly race, there are limitations to what the series can produce for it's sponsors and fans. But that does not take away from the solid reputation and caliber of the National series. For the past 2 years FMF/KTM's Kurt Caselli has committed to the series, taking the 2011 championship. Caselli has given the series a somewhat validity if you will, even possibly bringing in more racers from other areas. Destry Abbott, David Kamo, Dave Pearson and Jacob Argubright are long-time NHHA racers and are the current top contenders. Like Big 6, it's in a prime spot to grow, but will it's spectator-less quality hold it back?
A historic district, the community of AMA District 37 runs strong and thrives in the Southern California region nearly as a series of it's own. Racing runs all year long and offers desert, enduro, motocross, grand prix and National Hare and Hound points when appropriate. Some clubs have been around for 50+ years, and many of the Southern California racers have raced in some sort of District 37 event in one place or another since 1950. Because of it's proud history, the District runs on very orthodox terms, old fashioned you could say. This leaves many topics up for debate as far as becoming a more modern-functioning organization. Some serious off-road champions have come out of the district including Kendall Norman, Ty Davis, Kurt Caselli, Jacob Argubright, Nick Burson and the list goes on. Though it's not technically recognized as a series, it's a very lively part of the West Coast racing scene and has an astonishing gathering to follow. Does the oldest hold some sort of hierarchy? To read more about it's impressive history, you can read here: http://thebannerisup.district37ama.org/history/timeline.shtml
The newest of the bunch, Endurocross is an indoor enduro-style race with obstacles varying from logs and water, to rocks and tires. Over just the past 3 or so years, Endurocross has really become a racing discipline of it's own. In the past, racers did their best to make it through the obstacles in a clean and mistake-free fashion; at least that was until they figured out how to double and triple the obstacles. Now the riders have been forced to up their game and pull tricks out of the bag, while racing. With X-Games accepting Enduro X as a regular event, the athletes mean business more than ever before. The series is beginning to see more Factory presence, money, crowded stands and all around precedence on the West. Though it has potential to be the King series, it's also a very specific discipline of off-road that many struggle to adapt to. Considering Eric Peronnard is the mastermind behind Endurocross, there is no doubt it has a promising future and we've only yet to see it's full potential.
WEBE is not a West Coast series. In fact, it is one of the most prestigious racing organizations in the Rocky Mountain region with race locations in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. WEBE has seen the likes of Kyle Summers, Eric Rhoten, Matt Karlsen, Taylor Robert, Gary Sutherlin, Jacob Argubright, Jeff Trulove, Eric Bailey, Steve Hatch, Bryant Cope, Tyler Gunderman, Cody Schafer and Kyle Schafer, Ian Blythe, and number of talented Pro riders from the region that chase championships. Each one of those racers will tell you what a class act the series is, but it seems that industry is still struggling to embrace a series that is devoted to neither coast line. Of course getting race rigs to the Rockies is a challenge, but it seems that a series with reputation like WEBE would be enough to warrant a high level of industry support and media recognition. WEBE is an relatively unseen player in the West Coast game, mainly due to it's location. Expect to see this series attract more West Coast riders over the year. After all, off-road racing is about the experience and WEBE is hands down amongst the most diverse and exciting calendars in the game.