Six months after round three at the Mint 400, the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Presented by FMF, finally resumed, and its first race back after an extended Covid lockdown was the popular Muley Run in Panaca, Nevada, hosted by the Silver State Trailblazers, August 22-23.
Hot, dusty conditions definitely played a role in the outcome and through it all, Beta’s Joe Wasson came out the best, taking the lead on loop one to eventually become the first repeat winner of the season. Early leader Dalton Shirey reportedly suffered symptoms of heat exhaustion and the 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna rider DNFed, thus losing his series points lead.
Race runner-up David Kamo came off the couch—Mr. Mom duties, actually—to nab second place, and with his run on consistent finishes so far, the PCI Race Radios KTM rider now sits atop the points chart over Wasson, 80-78.
Defending series champ Jacob Argubright returned to battle after breaking his arm at round two, with the Off-road Support/TBT Racing Kawasaki rider claiming third for the day.
With his amazing start, Shirey enjoyed clean air and set a blistering pace ahead of FXR Honda privateer Evan Kelly, Wasson, Kamo, local favorite Axel Pearson and the rest of the field.
Shirey was under the weather to begin with, admitting he was vomiting on Friday with an unfortunate repeat episode taking place during the race and forcing him out.
After quickly getting around Kelly, Wasson put Shirey in his sights and caught him before the end of the 38-mile first loop.
“When I went by him, he was at about 75 percent of his race speed, so something obviously happened,” Wasson said. “But [Shirey’s early pace] didn’t worry me a bit. I’ve really worked on just staying consistent on my own program and riding my own race no matter who’s in front of me or who’s behind me. Once you start chasing somebody, then you’re no longer riding your program—you’re riding their program. I call it taking the bait.”
Once out front, Wasson enjoyed clean air the rest of the way on his Motul/Kenda/Fly Racing-sponsored 430 RR. He completed the first loop in an hour, one minute and six seconds and stretched his lead on the more technical 37-mile second loop for an overall time of 2:21:33.
Fourth off the start put Kamo in a good position aboard the Kamo Realty/Kurt Caselli Foundation/Fly Racing 450 XC-F he’d picked up recently and ridden only three times since round three due to dad duty.
“I knew that having a good start was really important for how silty it is [in Panaca],” Kamo said. “I was behind Evan Kelly and I was like, “Man, I’m riding way over my head!’ I really couldn’t see anything; I was just riding off his rear fender [and reacting to that]. Every rock he hit, I hit.”
Playing the long game, Kamo backed off a bit and waited for his chance to get around Kelly, figuring if he couldn’t pass Kelly, no one would be able to pass him either.
It paid off as Kamo sneaked past Kelly with an inside pass dropping into a sand wash. From there, he followed Wasson’s lead, trailing by 1:26 at the end of the first loop, but the rougher second loop forced him to cede some ground due to severe blisters on his left hand especially—evidence of lack of seat time.
“The last five miles of the race, Argubright started reeling me in. My hands were shot!” Kamo said. “I knew once I got to the main sand wash, I was good because it’s pretty high-speed, and I knew I could kind of hold on, but the whoops, I could not hold on!”
Kamo was 3:10 behind Wasson at the finish and managed to keep Argubright at bay by a scant 20 seconds. But more important, with Shirey’s DNF, Kamo’s second straight runner-up finish earned him the points lead with three rounds left. He’s led before—2009 and 2010—so it’s somewhat familiar territory and he added, “I’ve been in this position before so hopefully third time’s the charm! I definitely should probably start training.”
For Argubright, the Muley run was his first National completed since winning round one and breaking his arm at round two. “Mentally, I told myself it didn’t matter [that I haven’t raced much] and I was going to push the whole time and that’s what I had to do today,” he said.
Getting sideways and stalling his bike off the start on the first silty hill dropped him from second behind Shirey to about sixth. “After that, I went to work as much as I could. I felt really good. This course is like an easy Supercross [in that] everyone’s really close; there’s not a lot to separate guys so I knew I had to put a lot of intensity [in] which I did.”
Pearson ended up fourth on his Pearson Farms KTM followed by Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Preston Campbell, 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna’s Ryan Smith, Wasson’s teammate Zane Roberts, Kelly, Reflex Racing Yamaha-mounted Daemon Woolslayer and Garrett Off-road Racing Husky’s Corbin McPherson, the Pro 250cc winner.
- Joseph Wasson (Bet)
- David Kamo (KTM)
- Jacob Argubright (Kaw)
- Axel Pearson (KTM)
- Preston Campbell (Hon)
- Ryan Smith (Hus)
- Zane Roberts (Bet)
- Evan Kelly (Hon)
- Daemon Woolslayer (Yam)
- Corbin McPherson (Hus)
The Next Hare & Hound race is schedule for September 26 in Jericho, Utah.