Off-Road Support’s Jacob Argubright Dominates, Caselli Keeps the Points Lead
Round 8 AMA/FMF/GPR National Hare and Hound – Round 3 GXE Motorcycle Endurance Series
Mobile Radio Communications Reno Extreme – July 13th 2013 – McCarran, Nv
Photos by Mark Kariya, Erek Kudla, David Burson, Elizabeth Cummings
For the second time, marking the one year anniversary of the creation of Get-Xtr-Eme, racers headed to the endlessly rocky mountains outside of Reno. As an extension of the El Dorado Reno 500 truck race hosted by HDRA the GXE Reno Extreme would be co-sanctioned as Round 8 of the AMA National Hare and Hound series and part of the SCORE/HDRA World Championship of Desert Racing. The event as a whole started as the brain child of HDRA’s Roger Norman who has a vision of the biggest off-road event in the United States featuring premier truck racing, bike racing, freestlye motocross, spectating, the Dirtlive Off-Road Expo, exhibitions and much much more. The entire weekend would start off with Truck Qualifying on Thursday and the Dirt Live Off-Road Expo on the streets of Down Town Reno on Friday.
There was Monster Energy, Freestlye Motocross, Street bike stunts, all the Trucks and Buggies lined up, rock wall climbing, gambling, vendors all mixed in with the Desert Bikes set up in the street. This was a perfect opportunity for ALL riders, not just the pros, to get some prime time promotion, sign autographs and posters, meet and make fans and be a part of something bigger then they have every had the opportunity to participate in. The city of Reno welcomed everyone in the racing community with open arms and set the tone for the great racing to ensue on Saturday.
The morning started off early with the trucks hitting the course at 9am. The spectators had close to 15 miles of truck course within view from the Monster Energy Party Cabana on top of the spectator ridge. Not only that they would also have close to 4 miles of bike course right in front of them, going underneith the active truck course in huge drainage tubes, including the massive start on FMF Mountain, natural Endurocross Section and Acerbis Scoring hill. Once the bikes started at noon it would be a full on sensory overload topped off by the Dirtlive.com live feed announced by George Anthil and Miss Supercross herself Dianna Dahlgren.
The unique format created by GXE would accommodate the truck race, spectator area and extreme difficulty of the terrain by hosting a 20 mile loop ridden 3 times. All riders would have to complete at least one lap of the grueling, rock strewn course no matter what their skill level or gender which made for some very happy and tortured riders. “I was really excited to get out to the Reno Race..” said 60+ winner Larry Klienschmidt “Usually as a Masters racer we only get to do the beginner loop and I do the best in the rocks. Its great to get to ride some really really tough stuff and I had an amazing time out there.”
The start would be an embodiment of everything the riders were headed for having the unsuspecting competitors lined up smack dab in the middle of a rock garden point straight up a giant rock infested mountain. The racers would line up by class with over 20 Pros on the front line and wait for the wave of the green flag. The bikes fired and the race had begun with Kurt Caselli looking to have an edge on the field followed closely by Purvines Beta’s Axel Pearson and the rest of the field hot on his trail. Half way up the hill the Off-Road Support KX 450f of Jake Argubright had taken a wide line to the right and started to gain ground on the KTM SX450F of Caselli.
“I was one of the only riders on the pro line that had participated in last years event so I knew exactly what to expect.” said Argubright. “I was able to use it to my advantage and just pin it where I knew I could.” Argubright would be the first to the top of the hill taking the early lead but Caselli would make the pass back down the other side and into the Natural Endurocross Section. The two would be followed closely by SCORE/HDRA Racer Justin Morgan, Purvines Beta’s Justin Morrow and local hero Irving Powers who had also raced the year before finishing 4th Overall at the inaugural event.
As each row went off you would think more and more riders would have gotten stuck on the big hill as the first row of Pros left several riders stranded but interestingly enough riders seemed to clear the hill as the speeds dropped. Blais Racing’s Ben Meza would grab the Open A / 250 A / 200 A / 30+ A holeshot aboard his KTM 200 XC and pull out a good lead on lap one until his bike would give up on the big hills in the back. Another similar story would be KTM’s Brandon Krause who would get the “B” holeshot and lead the entire lap until the infamous “Reeder Ridge” climb that increased elevation by 800 feet in less then a mile. He would throw a chain, get it wadded in the countershaft, and spend the better part of the day trying to fix it eventually having to get rescud by his dad Paul Krause after he took the 40+ A Victory and 15th Overall.
Back out front the battle was getting thick. Caselli would lead all the way through the mile long spectator section with Argubright right on his tail, through the Mobile Radio Communications/NYC Scoring tent and back out front of the Monster Energy Spectators Cabana. The two would pull side by side on the side hill until Argubright would make the pass just after the pits and out onto the course just past mile 3. Morrow and Morgan would battle it out a bit but mistakes on the bigger hills in the back would give KTM’s Ivan Ramirez the chance to make the pass for 3rd stick as he would latch onto his team mates rear tire for most of the 1st full lap.
Much further back in the back many riders who had never participated in any event like this were struggling. Western Designs Racing’s Maggie Pearson who had to change a spark plug on the line didn’t get going until close to 10 minutes after her row left. She was able to catch back up and catch back up to the lead pack but troubles on the final big uphill of the loop, nickknamed “The Climb Jr.” would end her day with pure exhaustion and frustration. She joined 10 or more riders at check 4 with waters and a bit of shade while some made multiple attempts at the hill and watched the leaders race by.
The one and only Woman C rider Dawnell Unsworth would take the entire time limit to finish her single lap of competition, ending the race in tears of both happiness and hatred for GXE. “I seriously hate Erek [Kudla] right now, but I’m so happy I was able to finish. Definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I’ll never forget it.” She would join Vurboffroad.com’s Meg Blackburn as the only two women to finish the event, Blackburn would take 1st overall woman and 1st B woman honors.
Heading out for their second lap Argubright was followed closely by Caselli who was followed even closer by team mate Ramirez. White Knuckle Motors’s Robert Underwood was also making a hard push for the lead pack riding a borrowed WR 450 in 4th. He would push hard on the 2nd lap catching Ramirez but the bike would let go just before check 4 and have to spend the night in the desert. Underwood would actually team up with a few other racers riding double through the last section, helping the less skilled get up the big climbs and down the final canyon. Morrow would inherit 4th overall but wouldn’t get to keep it easily with team mate Nick Burson battling it out with him on Reeder Ridge and The Climb Jr. “We were really close on the last lap and hit that big hill and just pinned it.” Said Burson bench racing with Morrow at the finish. “We actually almost t-boned each other and then I got stuck and he made it clean.”
While some of the classes were finishing up their laps the leaders were going out for their final run of the course. Argubright had stretch out close to a minute going into the final 20 miles while Ramirez had fallen to over to 3 minutes off the pace but still had a strong hold on the podium. Argubright would keep on pushing and take the checkered flag with a total time of 2 hours and 28 minutes making for his 1st National Hare and Hound win of the season, 2nd of his career and making him the only overall winner of the Reno Extreme to date! The riders would flow into the finish in the same order they went out but Caselli had fallen another minute behind Argubright and Ramirez had dropped a full ten minutes back. “That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Said Ramirez as he was interviewed at the finish line by Anthil on the Dritlive.com Live feed “I’m just glad I finished and was able to get the KTM on the podium again.” Ramirez is currently the only Mexican National to have ever been on the podium at an AMA National Hare and Hound and has done it 3 times this season already.
The next riders to come across the line would be Morrow in his first race since surgery and team mate Burson BOTH on Beta 300 RR’s. “I really like these bikes.” Said Morrow on the podium “We all came out with 300’s and we’ve got 4 in the top 10 so we can’t complain. Its just great to be back on a bike and I’m gunning for that title next year for sure!”
There were many, many, many other notable finishes of the day as it was one of the toughest races of the season. The only 50+ A rider to complete the full distance would be Ajax Auto’s John Kearney who is always a gluten for punishment competing in both the King of the Motos and Last Dog Standing. Blake Guyse would be the only B rider to complete the full distance taking the Amateur, 250 B Overall and finishing 20th Overall for the first time in his young career. Arizona’s John Ransdell would make the trek north and take the “C” overall, followed by Charles Brown, Mathew Krenik and Dawnell Unsworth being the only Novice class riders to finish.
While the race was not touted to be the “hardest” of any given region made riders made sure to claim it as such. “This wasn’t called the ‘Reno Extreme’ because it was a Mountain Dew drinking contest” said race Promoter and organizer Erek Kudla “We were asked to host this event by Roger [Norman] last year and said we would. The Eldorado Reno 500 race is said to be the toughest Truck race in North America and he wanted a bike race to match. The funny part is we actually take the easiest ways around the facility! We have to ride loaded down with stakes, hammers, ribbon and stuff so we have to make it doable for ourselves.”
1. Jacob Argubright (KAW)
2. Kurt Caselli (KTM)
3. Ivan Ramirez (KTM)
4. Justin Morrow (BET)
5. Nicholas Burson (BET)
6. Irving Powers (KTM)
7. Levi Hutchings (KTM)
8. Dan Capparelli (BET)
9. Axel Pearson (BET)
10. Justin Morgan (HON)
11. Nicolas Garvin (KTM)
12. Sean Berryman (KTM)
13. Skyler Howes (KTM)
14. Ryan Smith (BET)
15. Paul Krause (KTM)
16. Mark Weirich (YAM)
17. Robert Brumit (KTM)
18. Taylor Stevens (KTM)
19. John Kearney (HSQ)
20. Blake Guyse (KAW)