Chilly’s Race Report-I probably shouldn’t put my own race report first, but hey it is my site isn’t it. Overall the race was pretty fast. It was also very dusty. The first loop had lots of narrow trail through rocky cross grain terrain. That meant it was pretty hard to pass. The dust made it difficult to get very close to the next rider. The rocks and cross grain made it very tricky when trying to get off line to make a pass. As often as not, getting off line would result in losing ground instead of gaining.
The second loop was quite a bit faster than the first. Much of the 40 miles was large valley crossings, the kind of stuff where I was going as just as fast as I cared to. Unfortunately that meant I lost a few positions on the second loop, instead of gaining. Usually the second loops are much more technical and once riders start to get tired it is easy to make up ground, that is where I excel. But it wasn’t to be. But at one point late in the race I was battling with another rider and decided it was time to see how fast the 500xc-w would go. Answer: way faster than I want to go! Funny, the other rider was on a 500 also and we were on a long two track sand road. I pulled him pretty good, clear up to about 80-85mph. The only difference between the bikes was the FMF 4.1 exhaust on my bike, it does make a real difference.
So I finished the day about 35th overall and probably fourth senior. There are a couple of guys in my class that I just can’t touch on the fast courses. But overall it was good, I never touched the ground and the 500 is proving really easy to ride.
KTM Race Report –Factory FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli got off to a great start at the opening round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Series taking a dominating win over the rest of the field.
Caselli, the reigning Hare & Hound Champion, came into the series opener looking quite confident on his KTM 450 SX-F. “I feel very comfortable on my bike. I am lucky to be riding the same model we raced last season so we have a pretty good set-up already and had to make minimal changes during the off-season,” stated Caselli.
With little rainfall hitting the southern California desert area this winter, each rider was concerned with getting a good start to avoid the dust clouds that would follow the start of the race. As the riders launched down the start straight, it was the KTM machine of Caselli that earned the holeshot and headed into the desert with a clear line of vision.
“Getting a great start was definitely the key to winning this race,” remarked Caselli. “My bike fired up right away and I was able to get a good jump off the line and was out front early as we set out on the first loop,” remarked Caselli.
The event included two different 40 mile loops in the desert of Lucerne Valley. Caselli had pulled out to a 45 second lead at the end of the first loop over the 2nd place ride of Destry Abbott and the 3rd place ride of David Pearson. “Once I was out front, I just concentrated on riding my own race and keeping it on two wheels. I had no issues and was able to pull to a nice gab early in the race,” reported Caselli.
At the end of the final loop, Caselli crossed the checkers 3 minutes ahead of the competition. David Pearson would go on to finish 2nd, while David Kamo rounded out the podium in 3rd.
Destry Abbott Race Report- After yesterday’s windstorm it was nice to wake up to a calmer morning! It was definitely going to be dusty and being up front early was going to be key! I had a great jump, but was third a few miles in. I jumped right behind David Pearson in a tight sand wash and was able to make a good pass early to get into 2nd. I saw it was Kurt up front and just wanted to try and stay close to key off him. Kurt had a nice pace going and I was really working on staying loose and breathing (something I have trouble with). I was really happy with the way the new Kawi was working (my first time racing the 2012 in the desert) and I felt my speed was good early on. About 20-miles into the first 40-mile loop I was probably around 30-seconds back, and could see Pearson about the same behind me. I was pretty content with where I was at, since every time I tried to push it I would just get in Kurt’s dust and would have to back it down again. Right before the end of the first loop I was starting to have some issues with my rear brakes fading, but it really wasn’t affecting me much. I had a great pit, and was back off hoping to close up on Kurt. After riding in the hills we hit a fast valley, before some sandy sections, and that’s when Pearson put a good pass on me (through the fast stuff). I was still really having some issues with my rear brakes, but they hadn’t fully gone away yet. Pearson was riding really well and I don’t think my brake issues slowed me down too much. I tried to stay as close as I could, but was struggling more and more with my brakes. Another 10-miles in I was in a tight wash and had completely lost my rear brakes at this point. Then I overshot a turn, because I couldn’t stop like before. A big branch got stuck in between my rear brake pedal and motor, which just about sent me over the bars. I pretty much had to lay the bike down and kick it until it finally broke off. As soon as I took off Kamo was right there as I was jumping back on the bike and now it was another rider I had to deal with. Kamo knew I was having problems since I was hitting just about everything and when we were going down the tight hills I was going pretty slow. Kamo ended up putting a great pass on me too and I just had to watch him ride away. Both David’s were riding really well. I ended up finishing and came across in a very disappointed 4th!
I actually came into this race feeling really good and felt it was one of the best off seasons I’ve had in a long time. I changed my program up and feel it worked out really well! My speed and fitness seemed really good; I just made a dumb mistake bleeding my brakes yesterday. I felt I had a solid 2nd going and really would’ve liked to see if I could’ve closed in on Kurt, but he put in another great ride and would’ve been tough to beat.
Nick Burson- This weekend was Round 1 of the AMA National Hare and Hound series. I was really excited for this race as it was my debut on a new bike, (Kawasaki 450) and new team (Purvines Racing). I only had a few days on the new bike but felt really comfortable on the bike. The start was about 5 miles long and wide open. I got a really good jump and was going down side by side with my teammates Justin Morrow and Jake Agubright. I could see Caselli way up ahead and new we all had really good starts. By the time we got to the trail and filed in we had been shuffled back a few spots because the course went right and we were on the left side. I was running I believe around 7th or 8th overall. It was really dusty so I was trying to make some quick passes to get back up with the lead group when I made a mistake. I came in to a left hand turn a little to fast and pushed the front end over the sand. The front wheel knifed and sent me cartwheeling. It was a pretty big crash but as I was getting back up I realized I was ok. I picked my bike up and it was really bent up. I had to spend some time getting the levers back in a reachable position and get myself ready to continue, as this was only 10miles into an 80mile race. After the crash I just tried to ride smart and consistent and pick as many people off as possible. Some people watching said I was back around 35th when I finally got going again. I kept charging all the way to the end passing people the whole race. I finally reached the finish line and had made it back up to 11th position. Not what I was looking for in the first race of the year but I got some solid points out of the bad day. I would just like to thank the whole Purvines racing team and Kawasaki for their support and all their help and also some personal sponsors Axo and Xbrand goggles.