Photos by Neena, Grumpy & Kato
Before we get to the race reports, I would like to add a quick clarification about an event which occurred at the race. Rider Brandon Prieto suffered a broken leg from a crash. The KTM race report incorrectly stated that no rider had seen Brandon crash nor offered assistance before Caselli arrived. In reality Tuffy Pearson and Nick Garvin both saw Brandon’s crash and stopped with him. Brandon had indicated that he was more or less okay, not in critical condition, but would need assistance. Nick Garvin proceeded to the next check to inform the organizers of the situation, Chilly
David Kamo, 2nd place – My friend, McNugget and I drove down from Idaho for the race. David Manriquez let us stay at his place. On Friday we ran down to JCR Honda at San Clemente. Johnny Campbell said that I could use my race bike from last year. Mitch prepped the bike and we headed back to Dave’s. Saturday we went out to the Lucerne desert and set up the race bike. There wasn’t a lot to do to it, but make some minor suspension clicks.
On Sunday, I got set up on the start line on the left side. I didn’t feel a 100% ready race day, but when the banner went up, I felt great. When the banner dropped I got a great start and was right behind Kendall until he lost his line. I went through the bomb running 4th. I dropped to about 6th around the 15 mile marker. I slowly started making my way back up to 4th after I had bent my shifter. Dave Manriquez pitted me in 7 seconds – Fuel, goggles, and drink. Kendall was leading with Argubright and Burson ahead of me after the pit. I got my second wind. I made a crappy pass on Burson almost taking us both out in the rocks. I caught up with Argubright and we traded positions 3 times in the last 15 miles. The Desert MC’s did a great job setting up their course with some more challenging parts through the rocks – plus having the wet dirt was great.
I want to thank JCR Honda for letting use the H & H bike, David Manriquez for pitting me and babysitting me, Fly Racing, WPS, Sidi, Scott USA, McNugget, Mark, Beau, Neena and all the folks out at the check points and that help put this race on. I’m looking forward to Round 2 at Ridgecrest!
Jacob Argubright, 3rd place – Three days of rain made for perfect race conditions, and Argubright was ready with his Monster Energy/Off Road Support Kawasaki KX450F. Unfortunately, a come from behind start meant that Jacob would battle back from 18th overall, to run as high as second at the midway point of the first 40-mile loop.
“It seemed like everything that could happen went wrong!” Jacob explained, “I missed the trail I needed on the bomb run, then I got cut off by another bike. When I went to change trails there was another bike there. By the time we got to the smoke bomb, there were people all over the place, and I was in a conga-line heading out to the first valley crossing.”
After passing Caselli who was slowed with brake issues, Argubright knew that he would need to charge to the front. “Kurt is our biggest competition out here. As soon as I knew I was ahead of him, it was important to make up as many places as possible to get a points gap.”
Ultimately, with about ten miles to go in the race, Jacob would suffer a brake issue of his own and crash in dramatic fashion. “I broke the rear brake lever off on a rock, and then I just started blowing every corner. I couldn’t get the bike to stop, and all I could hear was Kamo back there! I went down, he went by, and I followed him to the end.”
The National Hare and Hound wasn’t the only time Argubright was on the podium this weekend. He took top honors besting Kurt Caselli in the pro class at the inaugural “Slow Your Roll for Rescue 3” charity event. The evening event pit riders against one another in a test to see who could cross the finishline the slowest without touching the ground. Balance and upper body strength played a key role in the event, and ultimately Argubright and Caselli made it to the final. Jacob won, and helped to raise money for the District 37 Search and Rescue Group Rescue Three. To donate, visit www.rescuethree.com today!
Jacob returns to racing this weekend at the second annual King of the Motos event, an extreme enduro, which is part of the King of the Hammers weeklong event in Johnson Valley, CA. Competing for the first time, Argubright hopes to combine his Endurocross skills with his Desert Savvy and finish on the podium with a shot at the $10,000 grand prix. Watch the event live (Sunday during the Superbowl!) at www.ultra4racing.com .
Skyler Howes, 7th place – We started the weekend off early Friday morning and headed down to the Lucerne Valley for Round 1 NHHA. Cruising down Camp Rock Road there was no dust behind us! We knew that it was going to be an epic weekend. Friday consisted of a fun photo shoot with Meg Blackburn, Colt (Gerald) rolling his quad down a rocky hill and a ton of rain.
Saturday was the first ever youth National Hare and Hound that went off very well! There were 35 kids that showed up to race. It was cool to be out on the course and to see all of them out there having fun and pinning it! I was able to ride the kid’s course a few times. Erek Kudla/GXE did a great job setting up the course and everything went really smooth. That night we had a slow bike race/fund raiser for Rescue 3, which was about a 50 yard area where you have to go as slow as possible and the last person across the finish line wins. It was a pretty stacked race but I was able to come out on top with the win!
Race day came and I preran the bomb start which really didn’t have any smooth or good line to it. I found the smoothest, whooped out spot and went with it. The banner dropped and I found myself getting the most ridiculous jump and having an amazing start. I couldn’t see anybody to the left or right of me and got really stoked thinking that I might have the holeshot! Halfway down the bomb, Nick Thompson came flying out of nowhere into the same line so I hopped off trying to stay out of his roost. As we crested a hill, Nick and I were side by side as we came to a road crossing. Nick pounded the g-out real hard and sent him straight over the bars. I caught the whole crash just out of the corner of my eye and it looked insane. There was a large crowd of people just ahead of us at the smoke bomb and I knew Nick would get taken care of quickly so I kept charging. Coming to the top of the bomb, Kurt Caselli jumped ahead of me and grabbed the holeshot which put me in second overall.
I was able to stay right on Caselli’s rear wheel for the first few miles because of the prime dirt and no dust. Coming through a valley, I charged on and was able to make the pass on Caselli for the lead and held steady all the way to Check #1 where I missed a corner, allowing Kurt to slip back into the lead. Shortly after, we hit another valley and I made the pass on Kurt again and made the lead stick for ten more miles just until we hit some more technical terrain.
Another directional error allowed Kendall Norman to take the lead and everyone to close in on me. Jacob Argubright then came in hot in the technical rocks and we banged some bars almost sending us both down. I kept charging, battling back and forth with Jacob for a few more miles. It was sick having that gnarly of a battle in the middle of the desert!
Just after that I took a gnarly digger in a rock section and took a rock straight to my left thigh. David Kamo stopped real quick to make sure everything was good but that fall cost me positions to Burson, Kamo and Hannifin. After that, the dead leg that I got from the rock was crazy, made me want to sit a lot which made me struggle in the rock sections and lose time. Just before the finish, I took another real bad digger in some big rocks and allowed Ross Neely to make a pass on me putting me back to 7th Overall.
Coming down the hill to the checkered flag, I was still stoked on my finish position but compared to how the race started out, I was a little bummed that those mistakes cost me in the long run. Starting the season off pretty good, I learned a lot in the first race on my new Blais Racing KTM 300XC. There is definitely room to learn and grow coming in to Round 2 here in a couple of weeks in Ridgecrest.