Caselli Remains Undefeated Capturing his 4th Hare & Hound Win in a Row
From KTM- Factory FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli kept his win streak alive after capturing his fourth win of the season to remain undefeated in the AMA National Hare & Hound Series.
“The race was pretty challenging today,” remarked Caselli. “It was hot and incredibly dusty. Luckily, I got out front early and was able to get away from a lot of the dust and just focus on riding a solid pace to take the win.”
Caselli earned the holeshot at the end of the bomb and never looked back. He reported that the second loop was technically demanding and made the course fun. He went on to lead the entire race and took the win over David Pearson by 4 minutes and 45 seconds.
“My bike was running great today,” stated Caselli. “We were able to incorporate some testing for the Baja race into today’s event by trying a different set-up on my bike. I really like it and think it might be something that we can use for the upcoming SCORE/Baja 500. The Hare & Hound Series and the SCORE Series have a lot of similarities and I am glad we are able to find ways to incorporate some of the testing sessions into these races.”
From THR Motorsports- It took only a couple minutes for David Pearson to charge into third place at the start of the 26th Virgin Voyage National–round four of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series–but it took him a lot longer to slip into second place. After that, leader Kurt Caselli was long gone so runner-up is where Pearson and his THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F finished at the hot, dusty race in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside of Lucerne Valley, California, hosted by the Vikings Motorcycle Club. It marked the third second-place finish for Pearson this season and kept alive his perfect record of podium finishes. It also helped solidify his second place in points behind Caselli, 120-96, who’s won all four rounds to date.
“Justin [Morrow] was riding good!” Pearson complimented the man he spent most of the race working on for second. “[We] were battling going across the first valley–he was on the right-hand side of Kurt and I was on the left-hand side of Kurt, just bashing bushes! He ended up getting second place [after that valley so] I followed him into the pits [at the end of the first loop]. He was riding good. I think he tipped it over out there and I couldn’t quite pass him. “About three miles after the pits, I was able to get around him.”
Unfortunately, for Pearson and his potent KX prepared by Bob Bell of Precision Concepts, there was too large of a gap to overcome, and getting stuck in the closing miles didn’t help. “I started riding hard,” Pearson recalled, “and I was probably about a minute, maybe 45 second behind Kurt. Then, about 15 miles before the finish I was going up this [dry] waterfall and my bike tipped over, then my bike was stuck and I had to lift it out of there. After that, it was survival mode; I was so beat after that. “It went all right; I ended up getting second so it was good–pulled good points.”
From Jake Argubright- After the crash at round one, and the DNF once I returned to racing at round three, I have really began to rethink the way that my season is going for the Hare and Hound Championship. At this point I really can’t catch the leaders for the points championship, so all I want to do is be the first guy to beat Kurt. He is pretty much unstoppable out there, and I want to show that I can be unstoppable too!
This weekends race was the last round before the marathon weekend of EnduroCross, NHHA, and Big Six in May, so I really needed to finish well and carry my momentum forward. Unfortunately the weather was really hot (about 100 degrees), and the ground was very dusty.
I got up at 6:00 AM sharp with a new mentality, I’ll do how I do. I really wasn’t the most confident with my season thus far, but it was sure nice to be racing in my home territory. I burned my line in on the start and practiced some starts and everything was good to go.
I headed over to the start 45 minutes early to relax and get into the zone. There were no other riders near me, which was a big confidence boost to get a great pop off the start. The banner went up and I had my KX 450F in gear ready to go. I had my bike started before the banner was down all the way and had a great jump. I was the first to the banner truck and they were cheering me on so I had to stick my feet out to salute them in excitement.
At the end of bomb I was 5th and it funneled down into a canyon where I cruised till I could open ‘er up and pin it. When we got into the valley it was extremely dusty and I was wider then a freeway trying to find clean air.
I got behind my Purvines Racing teammate Nick Burson and followed him keying off of his bike through the dust. I tried to find ways around, but it just wasn’t happening with all of the dust. I spent some time with Kurt in the last few weeks, and I remembered some advice he had told me, so I kept pressing on through the first loop with only minor mistakes. Kurt told me to just keep the competition close, and push it where I knew that I was faster. In the dust Nick was just as fast as I was, but I was confident that when it got tight on loop two, I could turn it up and make a run.
When we got into the pits Nick was just leaving when I got gas. As we left, I turned on the turbo boosters and went for it. We got into some gnarly black rocks and I had to bonzai through the virgin desert and got up next to Nick. We weren’t backing down we went down a hill and I had to jump a ravine and I got a better jump and enough acceleration to pass Nick finally.
I had a buzz going and I wanted to make another pass so I pressed on with my charge and about 15 miles later I was finally right behind my other Purvines Racing teammate Justin Morrow who was in 3rd. I followed him and in the midst of his dust I saw his bike spin out and him crash. I stopped to make sure he was alright where we had about a 20 second conversation and I kept on going in 3rd.
I still had some juice so I was charging. The heat and course took its toll on me though, I had 20 miles to go and I swear I was seeing mirages! My charge was well over and it turned into a trail ride from then on, it turned into a battle against the heat. The course was very challenging with the heat there were no breaks what so ever. I came off of Soggy Dry Lake knowing I was close to the finish, so I just did everything I could to hold on till the end.
A big thanks to everyone that is supporting me this season, it hasn’t been the year I wanted but its not over. The weight is off my shoulders and I’m looking very forward to the rest of the year! Being back on the podium is exactly where I had hoped to start my season, so I’m just going to treat this like I’m starting a couple months late.
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