2017 SoCal Hare & Hound National Results – Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Ricky Brabec was one of several unfortunate riders to hit the deck at the So Cal National Hare & Hound, round four of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series. Unlike many of them, however, Brabec’s crash near the end of the three-loop, 101-mile race off Bessemer Mine Road at the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area didn’t prevent reigning series champ from picking himself up and winning his third race of the series to extend his points lead.
2017 SoCal Hare & Hound National Results
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright finished second—his best series finish so far this season—to solidify his third in points at 80, unofficially, while Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha-mounted Gary Sutherlin achieved his goal of a podium finish after a big crash at last week’s WORCS race, his third place keeping him second in points behind Brabec, 115-97, unofficially.
The So Cal Motorcycle Club laid out loops of 40, 40 and 21 miles, each more technical and demanding as Nationals tend to be.
Off the start, SRT Yamaha’s Ryan Smith and FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Taylor Robert battled for the lead with Smith owning the better line after the bomb on his Kenda/TBT Racing/O’Neal-sponsored YZ450FX. It was short-lived, though, with Brabec powering past after about five fast miles aboard his Lucas Oil/Pro Circuit/Fly Racing CRF450X. (He tested both the ‘X and his 2017 CRF450RX on Saturday, but he didn’t feel the new bike’s tank would guarantee going 40 miles. He looks forward to getting a bigger aftermarket fuel cell before long.)
“Loop two was actually more technical than the third, I thought,” Brabec said. “I wasn’t sure of the lead gap I had so I was pushing and [still] just playing it smart.”
From there, Brabec stayed out front, leading comfortably the rest of the way—well, at least until he crashed within sight of the finish.
He explained, “Midway through the third loop I tagged a rock with the brake pedal and it got bent under the clutch cover, forcing it to drag the rest of the way. It eventually got so hot, it just stopped working completely so about one mile before the finish, I hit a [deeply rutted] quad [turn track] and it just put me over the front so fast! Due to no rear brake, I had no chance to slow down so it was a rough finish, but I’m excited to come across the line with a good lead.
“Now I’m just sore and recovering for the next round.”
A quick trip to the hospital showed Brabec had “only” a pinched nerve, according to team owner Campbell, and the next round is a short six days away (Saturday, May 5, near Jericho, Utah).After staying right on Brabec off the start, Argubright lost touch and settled into a solitary second for the rest of the race on his Bel-Ray/FMF/6D Helmets-backed FX 450.
“We got to Means [Dry Lake] and he kind of pulled me because it was super-dusty,” Argubriight reported. “After that on the second loop, I went really good, then towards North Anderson [Dry Lake] I just came over a rise and clipped something and I rolled down the hill. It knocked the wind out of me and ripped my [radiator] shroud off. It took me a while to get going [again]; I had to collect my marbles. Then Taylor passed me—Taylor stopped to make sure I was all right [first]—and I followed him for a little bit.”
But Argubright was able to repass Robert, who was doing remarkably well in his first race since his crash at King of the Motos 12 weeks ago and subsequent surgeries.
The Red Bull/Motorex/Troy Lee Designs 450 XC-F rider admitted, “I found out pretty quickly that my speed wasn’t where it needed to be, though. I dropped back to fourth then worked my way back up to second. After that, I started making too many mistakes and hit the ground a few times and dropped back again.”
Though Robert crossed the finish fifth physically, he was later docked two positions for a course infraction, officially ending up seventh.
While Sutherlin came into the race second in points, he also came in wounded after dislocating a shoulder and taking a foot peg to the groin the week before so he hoped to limit damage with a best-case scenario of simply earning a spot on the podium.
“I knew I had to just salvage what I could today,” the John Burr Cycles/Zip-Ty Racing/THOR YZ450FX rider conceded. “I didn’t have the strength in this shoulder to hold it wide open across the valleys. I had a big wreck on the second loop and hit my head really hard and was seeing Tweety Birds there for a while!”
Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Honda’s Justin Morgan picked his way through the pack to finish fourth followed by Purvines DA8 Racing riders Axel Pearson and Nick Burson. Robert, City Service Racing Honda’s Nic Garvin, Stevens Erectors, Inc. Husky-mounted Taylor Stevens and Smith rounded out the top 10 overall.
In the FMF Pro 250 class, Chance Fullerton decided to come out for his first National H&H in two years and proved the time away hadn’t made him rusty, taking the win and 12th overall aboard his Fast House YZ250. Chidester Transport Racing’s Tyler Lynn was just 17 seconds behind for second in class and 13th overall while IMS KTM-mounted Jordan Gamboa was third in class and 14th overall.
After going back and forth with Britney Gallegos on the first loop, FMF KTM’s Kacy Martinez-Coy got the lead in Women A for good on the second loop aboard her Twin Air/Renthal/Bell Helmets 250 XC-F and finished a commendable 25th overall while extending her points lead. Round-two winner Gallegos held on for second with her Bell Helmets KTM 250 XC-F with Chidester Transport Racing YZ250F-mounted Stephanie Woolslayer third.
2017 SoCal Hare & Hound National Results
- Ricky Brabec (Hon)
- Jacob Argubright (Hus)
- Gary Sutherlin (Yam)
- Justin Morgan (Hon_
- Axel Pearson (Yam)
- Nicholas Burson (Yam)
- Taylor Robert (KTM)
- Nick Garvin (Hon)
- Taylor Stevens (Hus)
- Ryan Smith (Yam)
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