Shirey Superb At Jericho H&H
After the disappointment of a DNF while leading at the previous round, 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey enjoyed a nearly perfect day to notch his second win of the season at the Sage Riders Motorcycle Club’s Desert Devotional, round five of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Presented by FMF.
It also moves him to second in series points behind runner-up David Kamo, 105-95, with two rounds left. The PCI Race Radios KTM rider was second for the third consecutive round and managed to add some points to his lead at the end of the day after holding off hard-charging defending series champ Jacob Argubright who was third for the second race in a row aboard his Off-road Support/TBT Racing Kawasaki.
Always one of the most popular stops on the calendar, the Desert Devotional once again started in a large grassy field and sent the riders directly into the sand dunes of the Little Sahara Recreation Area for their first challenge. The Sage Riders this year switched things up and the 39-mile first loop included a lot more technical going that would normally be found in a second loop. Some liked it; some preferred the more traditional “easier” first loop.
Shirey got another rocket start aboard his FMF/Zip Ty Racing/Troy Lee Designs-backed FX 450 and led basically from start to finish, stretching his lead with every mile and trying to erase the memory of how he led the early going last round, only to DNF when the stomach flu overwhelmed him.
“I was coming here just to do my job [and] get first because I know I have to win every race now to [win the championship],” Shirey explained. “The way I felt when I took off and left the bomb [last round], I feel like I could’ve done the same [then as today]—not trying to be cocky, but the way I was feeling, I had a good 10 minutes [then] everything went downhill.
“Here, it was kind of the same feeling. It was a smooth ride; I backed it down to, like, 80 percent because I noticed I had a gap, so I was like, ‘Okay, just ride smooth and smart.’ I only blew two corners [today]; normally I blow more than that because normally you’d be coming in so hot to corners. But I was taking my time on stuff because I had a lead so I was able to read the terrain better.”
That left the real fight in back of him, with Kamo taking a completely different approach to the start and lining up on the far left—the opposite side of most of his opposition.
“I did that at a lot of Nationals when I was racing against Destry [Abbott] and all those guys,” the Kurt Caselli Foundation/Motorex/Fly Racing 450 XC-F pilot revealed. “It gives me a better chance to ride my own race at the very beginning—I know that I’ll get my line and I’m out of the dust if something does happen like if my bike doesn’t start [quickly] then I’m still pretty good. It was definitely longer [to the bomb], but it was actually smoother.”
An estimated fifth at the bomb, Kamo diced for a while with Honda-mounted Evan Kelly before setting his sights on Shirey and Beta’s Joe Wasson. Surprisingly, Kamo came upon Wasson on the side of the trail trying to fix an electrical issue, which handed Kamo second place.
“Five minutes later, I looked back and Argubright was right there!” Kamo said.
Indeed, he was, though he wasn’t satisfied with his riding.
“I just wasn’t [riding] that wonderful all day,” he admitted, the Golden Tyre/Maxima/Fly Racing KX450-mounted rider continuing, “I had a third-place start and guys passed me at the beginning through the [sand dune] jumps and I passed two of them back. I was just slow.
“I tried to catch David, but I ended up getting lost once and could never seal the deal.
“I’m looking forward to open desert like [the next round at] Lovelock, [Nevada], and Lucerne [Valley, California].” At the finish, Argubright was just eight seconds shy of Kamo.
Beta’s Zane Roberts slotted into a lonely fourth place early aboard his Kenda/Enduro Engineering/Klim-backed 430 RR and remained there all afternoon. Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Preston Campbell claimed fifth aboard his Pro Circuit/VP Racing Fuels/Alpinestars CRF450X followed by Wasson, Pearson Farms KTM-mounted Axel Pearson, Kelly, MotoXperts Suzuki rider Bridger Steele and Pro 250 winner Cole Conatser aboard his 707 Suspension/Mojo Motorsports/Motion Pro-backed Beta 250 RR.