The AMA District 37 Desert racing officially got underway last weekend in the high desert of Southern California, and it was business as usual for Jacob Argubright. Argubright took full advantage of the rain-soaked sand and dust-free conditions, and took the overall win at the Jackrabbit's Hare & Hound at the Spangler Hills OHV Area near Red Mountain.
However, things didn't start out all that promising for the Off-Road Support/Answer Racing-backed Kawasaki KX450F rider. A "20-kick" start had left him back in the pack early in the race.
"I literally had a 20-kick start," Argubright said. "I guess I was just excited or something, I really couldn't wait for this race to start."Jacob Argubright
Once he got his Kawie fired up, though, Argubright sprinted to the front like a frightened jackrabbit.
"Once I got going, I just held on and must have passed 100 people in the first quarter mile," Argubright said. "I was told that by the end of the bomb, I was in about eighth, but it felt like a lot further back, and I just kept passing and passing riders."
By check one, Argubright had checked out and was busy trying to make his lead as comfortable as possible. After the first loop, Argubright had done jus t that and had put his bike on cruise control. He eventually crossed the finish line after 80-miles of racing and had to patiently wait a while to see who his nearest competitor would be - it turned out to be veteran desert racer Bob Roberts.
Argubright was excited to have started off the year with such a strong victory. "It's a new year, and I have really been training hard. We have new sponsors for 2011 and Off-Road Support is definitely going to up its game as far as the upcoming year is concerned. I'm basically in National hare and hound mode now until the summer break hits, and at that time it's going to be all about Endurcross, but for now I just can't get enough of this desert-racing Stuff. This is number one; I guess there are just 19 more to go!"
Roberts got could not have asked for a better start towards going for his first Vet-class championship.
"The vet class is going to be pretty competitive this year," he said. "I know that there are a lot of guys out there that can win on any occasion, but I feel like if I keep the bike running, they are going to really have to work if they want to get past me."
Brad Pace joined Argubright and Roberts on the podium while making his 2011 debut on the PDI Racing Team Honda CRF450X. Pace will be a force to be reckoned with and should be a good candidate for a few overalls on board the new Open-class bike.
"PDI has been awesome," Pace said. "It feels really good to get on the podium for them in my first ride of the year, and I know that we will have many more of these as the season goes on."
While Argubright, Roberts and Pace all had promising starts to their season, Justin Morrow hopes his season opener isn't an indicator of things to come. The Kawasaki rider got off to a fast start and was leading the race when his bike seized just three miles out.
Same holds true for Trevor Watson of Desert MC. Watson inherited the lead when Morrow suffered his misfortune and was excited to be out in front until...
"It felt great," Trevor said. "I mean, I almost couldn't believe it, but there I was, wide open with nothing in my way, except for that rock."
Chance Wyllie of the Rovers MC became the third leader of the race, and he held the position until Argubright came calling.
If there was a hard-charger award to be handed out, it might've gone to Checker MC's Steve Roberts on his new Vector Racing machine. The defending Vet-class champion crashed early in the race and fought his way to 11th overall and was rewarded with the Vet 250-class win.Steve Roberts
Colton Sanders made his return just months after his season-ending crash last year which left him with a broken femur and various other injuries. He ran as high as ninth overall before finishing out the race 10th overall.
1. Jacob Argubright (Kaw); 2. Bob Roberts (Kaw); 3. Brad Pace (Hon); 4. Robert Longenecker (Kaw); 5. Jeff Trulove (Hon), 6. Ryan Smith (Yam); 7. A.J. Madrid (KTM); 8. Craig Sanders (Yam); 9. Anthony Vasquez (Hon); 10. Colton Sanders (KTM)