Coming into the So Cal Round of the 2012 National Hare and Hound Series, I have to admit I was pretty nervous. I had a big crash in Utah at the Nitro Circus race, and this was really my first fast event since that crash.
I had a pretty good starting spot right up the middle of the bomb. It was almost like my own trail as most of the faster guys were on either end of the start. When the banner dropped, my bike lit first kick. I took off and narrowly missed the start truck, and was the first to my trail. Midway through the bomb, I started to settle in behind Kurt and David. The dust was horrible, and I really just wasn’t as comfortable taking chances that early in the race.
For the next 40 miles, I played catch up sitting about 6th overall. I knew that it was a long race, so I just made it my plan to really poor it on coming into the pits, and hope to pass a few of the guys on my way out. At the start of the second loop, I caught and passed my Purvines teammate Nick Burson. Once I got around him, I settled in right behind another one of my teammates, Justin Morrow.
As we came into the pits for the second time, I had pulled to within sightof Justin. Out of the pits I made a move and was able to get around him with just inches to spare. David and Kurt were ahead of me quite a ways, but with the clear air I was really able to step it up. The closest I found myself to the leaders had to be about 30 seconds back. I was coming out of a corner, and catching their dust as it lingered on the trail.
We got to the top of So Cal Vista, and I charged down the hardest hill of the day with both of them in sight. About 10 miles before the finish I felt my back end just give out. At first I thought I had lost the rear shock, but after a couple of turns I could tell it was the tire. The bead broke, and my tire was barely on the rim.
Running third overall, it was a pretty big disappointment, but I knew that anything was possible so I just continued forward at a conservative pace. First Justin passed me, then Nick, followed by JCR’s David Kamo and KTM’s Ivan Ramirez. All of the riders who I had worked to pass earlier in the race were now getting back by me as I was going about 50 percent into the finish.
I ended the day 7th overall, which is not what I would have hoped for. Since coming back from my collarbone, this is the first National Hare and Hound that I haven’t finished on the podium. It isn’t a great feeling, but I was happy to just get a finish after what happened with my rear wheel. My Purvines teammate Nick Burson put in a solid effort, however, and was able to earn his first National Hare and Hound podium of his career. Justin finished literally one second behind him, so I am sure that it was exciting for the crowd to watch at the finish.
All in all, I was lucky to get a finish, but I really didn’t feel good about my performance. That last crash really scared me, and I didn’t notice until about half way through this race. That is about where it clicked, “I can ride a lot faster than this!”
We have one round left, and I am planning to work hard going into the 100’s MC National. I want to finish this season off with another podium, and hopefully another win. This is my last shot at another National Hare and Hound win here in 2012, and I intend on making that a reality!
Thanks again to all of my great sponsors this year, there are only a couple races left, but I am still working to win as much as possible! As always, I couldn’t do it without the sponsors who continue to support me week-in and week-out: Monster Energy Kawasaki, Purvines Racing, Kawasaki of Simi Valley, Off-Road Support, Moose Racing, Fasst Co. Flexx Handlebars, Jett Boots, FMF, Oakley, Braking, Matrix Concepts, Maxima Oil, Mechanix Wear, Traxxas, Motion Pro, Uni Filters, Dunlop, Trick Racing, Rekluse, Dirt Digits, Omega, BRP, TBT Racing, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway Performance, IMS, and Photos by Grumpy.
See you in the desert!