National Hare And Hound Championship – Round 8 – Race Report From KTM
This is a press release from KTM…
Lucerne, CA (October 22, 2017) – FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Kacy Martinez added a new number-one plate to her growing collection of National Championships this weekend when she clinched the NHHA Women’s Class championship with one round remaining in her first season.
Martinez finished second on a demanding California course and in brutal conditions to secure her 9th national title in off-road racing to go along with two X-Games medals. The finish keeps her podium-perfect season alive. It is her third runner-up finish of the year, and along with four wins and one third-place effort, Martinez has had nothing short of an exceptional first season in National Hare And Hound competition.
The Lucerne, California round was a three-loop race, with each loop getting more technical and demanding for the riders. Both loop one and two were 40+ miles. The third and final loop was half the distance but took nearly the same amount of time to complete. Race conditions were extremely dusty with temps over 80F, and no wind to move the dust.
Off the line, Martinez had a decent jump but was quickly pinched off and had to ride in the thickest of dust for the first part of the race. At the end of the first loop, she moved into second place and maintained her position for the entirety of the race.
Throughout the day, Martinez had to battle through thick dust and a technical course that kept getting tougher.
Martinez: “I knew going into today what I needed to do to wrap up my first Hare & Hound Championship. I believe I got an okay start and rode my race from there through a lot of dust and technical terrain. I was very happy when crossing the finish line after such a long, brutal race today. Wrapping up the NHHA championship made it even sweeter! I’m very happy to add this Championship and knew coming into this series it was going to be difficult because the terrain and riding style is nothing I’ve never raced on before. Thankfully, I had the support of the whole FMF KTM Factory Racing Team. I can’t thank them enough for the best support out there!”
Antti Kallonen, KTM Off-Road Racing Manager:“It is so great to see Kacy succeed and win this championship in her first year racing the NHHA. When she set her goal last year and wanted to race in the desert—somewhere she had never raced before, it showed some incredible determination. Now, it’s obvious she can do anything she puts her mind to. I want to congratulate Kacy and the whole team for this amazing championship.”
Kacy Martinez’ Career Highlights:
2017 AMA National Hare & Hound Champion
2016 AMA National Enduro Champion
2015 AMA GNCC WXC Champion
2015 X-Games Women EnduroX Bronze Medalist
2014 AMA GNCC WXC Champion
2014 X-Games Women EnduroX Gold Medalist
2011 WORCS Women Pro Champion
2010 WORCS Women Pro Champion
2009 WORCS Women Pro Champion
2009 AMA Western National Hare Scramble Champion
2008 AMA Western National Hare Scramble Champion
Taylor Robert had his win streak come to an end at the penultimate round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Championship in Lucerne after he battled through a course thick with dust and void of wind to finish second place on the day.
The Arizona native went into this weekend’s event looking to extend the race to the championship as long as possible. After an early season injury forced Robert to miss rounds two and three, he’s been playing catch-up all season. After moving into third place in the points standings in round seven, and winning three races in-a-row to get there, Robert saw his chances of a come-from-behind championship dwindle nearly from the start in Lucerne
Off the start, Robert was too eager with the throttle before hitting his electric starter, causing his bike to hesitate. By then, it was too late as the entire row of racers headed towards the end of the bomb run. Robert, conceding 10 seconds instantly, soon saw himself behind a wall of dust that simply wasn’t moving. He fired his bike again quickly, but as he tried to gain ground he just couldn’t see—coming to a near stop at one point before abandoning his prepped line of choice and simply heading to the far edges of the racecourse to find clean air. Here, he put on a charge, passing all but the top-five racers in the first two miles.
Once Robert settled into the top five, he couldn’t break the dust barrier of the top runners as easily and had to put in serious efforts to move forward in the more technical second loop. At this point, he was sitting in fourth, two minutes behind race and championship-points leader, Gary Sutherlin. At the end of the second loop, Robert made two more passes on front-runners, putting him into second only 1.5 minutes back. On the third and most-technical loop, Robert’s momentum would fade and, after a few mistakes and minor crashes, he would finish 3.5 minutes behind Sutherlin at the checkered flag.
Robert: “I didn’t do myself any favors at the start. Lucerne is so gnarly as it is, but when you put yourself behind the wall of dust and there’s no wind, it is just brutal. I got a little throttle happy on the line and cracked it open before the bike fired. That gave everyone else a ten-second head start. It was really bad because I spent about an hour scouting and working on a great line for the start that I couldn’t use, at all. The dust was insanely thick. For how bad it was, it actually worked out pretty well because I passed so many guys in that first mile and sat in fifth or so really soon. The guys out front were much harder to catch and pass through their dust. As I did, I got into some pretty technical situations with some rocks and ditches. I rode the first loop as fast as I could and on the second loop I put in a really big effort to close some gaps. It was a lot tighter and I worked hard to get within a minute-and-a-half of Gary. I pushed so hard on that loop, I don’t think I left much energy in my tank for the third loop.”
Robert finished second on the day and moved up one more spot to second in the Championship. Sutherlin cinched the championship with his race win.
Next Race: Round 9 – Barstow, California – November 12, 2017
1. Gary Sutherlin YAM (Champion)
2. Taylor Robert KTM
3. Nick Burson YAM
4. Axel Pearson YAM
5. Justin Morgan HON
1. Brandy Richards KTM
2. Kacy Martinez KTM (Champion)
3. Britney Gallegos
Overall Championship Standings
1. Gary Sutherlin (194 – Champion)
2. Taylor Robert (154)
3. Axel Pearson (140)
4. Ricky Brabec (131)
5. Justin Morgan (123)
Women’s Class Championship Standings
1. Kacy Martinez (191)
2. Britney Gallegos (173)
3. Stephanie Woolslayer (126)