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So Cal National Hare & Hound Results
Caselli Wins So Cal National Hare & Hound
Photos by Kato & Neena
Except for the front runners at the So Cal M/C National Hare & Hound, it was a tough day of racing for nearly everyone, myself included. The 100 mile course was a very difficult one to ride cleanly. It was littered with rocks and silty tracks. The dusty conditions made it difficult to pass. With lots of 3rd gear rocky cross grain trail, it only took a small error to find yourself on the ground. This was not the kind of terrain that I consider dangerous, rather it was extremely challenging and unforgiving.
It was a break through day for TM mounted Tuffy Peason who had the overall lead early in the first loop. He would make a mistake and let Caselli and Argubright by. He would also battle with Beta rider Nick Burson. Nick crashed on the last loop and took a rock square to his knee cap. That would give Tuffy the podium. Tuffy said he struggled in the valleys, not having enough experience in the Lucerne conditions to stay with the leaders yet.
The top four bikes would include KTM, Kawasaki, TM and Beta. How is that for some diversity? In the difficult conditions, many of the expected leaders would find themselves on the ground. David Kamo crashed off the start. Skyler Howes crashed in the first loop and has to two broken vertebrae, he is out of hospital and on his way home now.
Aussie KTM rider Toby Price fared far worse. He crashed near Skyler and suffered 3 broken bones in his neck and a broken thumb. He will have surgery this week. Apparently the doctors are amazed that he did not suffer any further damage from the neck injury.
Toby and Skyler were together when I went by, along with Josh Knight who had stopped to offer assistance. Toby was standing up, so I was under the impression that he had stopped to offer assistance also, I did not realize that he was injured. The course medical workers, Rescue 3, were already on their way to the riders, I stopped and spoke with them briefly to make sure they knew where to go.
As for me, I had two crashes. I clipped a rock in the dust on a two track road and low sided. I was fortunate to only get scraped up. On the second loop I had another crash and took a bar end to the thigh. Once I got up and dusted off, I was pretty sore. The impact gave me something like a charlie horse and I could not move my leg. So I called it a day and headed back to the pits. I was riding the 2013 KTM 350xc-f and struggled with the front end feel, never getting comfortable with the bike.
From KTM – Factory FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli won the fourth round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Series held in the desert of Lucerne Valley to capture his second win of the 2013 season.
Caselli got a great jump off the start line and was sitting in second position as the riders ended the bomb run. He trailed the lead rider for the first 10 miles of the race before he made a pass to take over the lead. Caselli never looked back and went on to take the overall win by five minutes over the second place finisher.
“It was a 100 mile race today,” commented Caselli. “I knew that meant that we would be riding for close to three hours so I took it easy on the first loop and tried not to overdo it. By the time I got in the lead I was able to ride relaxed and really enjoyed the second and third loop. This season started off pretty inconsistent for me and I am happy to have two back to back wins.”
Caselli’s teammates, Ivan Ramirez and Toby Price, were not as fortunate with their results this weekend. Price suffered a serious crash early in the race and had to be flown to the nearby hospital. He sustained a broken neck and will undergo surgery this week. Ramirez was sitting inside the top five for most of the race before he rode off course and got turned around. He lost valuable time during that mistake. When he returned to the correct loop he was able to make up some time and eventually finished 15th overall.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Toby and his family,” stated Caselli. “He is one of the toughest guys I know. He is very strong and will pull through this but we know it will be a long road to recovery and we wish him the best.”
Now four rounds into the series, Caselli moves into the championship point lead. He currently holds a three point lead.