Photos by: Mark Kariya (link image by Grumpy)
September 25, 2014
Los Angeles, CA: Ricky Brabec continued his hot streak at round 9 to become the second racer of the year to record three wins, and extended his lead in the championship race to 15-points! His dominant wire-to-wire lead as the inaugural location, further validated his bid at the AMA/SRT National Hare & Hound championship. Though, the racing action began much earlier in the day with the AMA Youth National Hare & Hound championship.
Over 80 riders took to the startline for the two youth events this weekend, and getting things started early were Andrew Schulz and Cole Timboe on their KTM 50cc machines. Both riders cleaned the one mile course with ease while many of the other racers struggled with the deeper than normal sand, and difficult hill climbs. Working their way through the lapped traffic the two front runners in the 50cc championship matched eachother lap for lap to make an exciting 30-minute race. As the only two riders to complete 8 laps, it was Andrew Schulz who took the win at round 9. With one round remaining, 24-points separate the two front runners. Finishing third, Cort d’Artenay locked up the third overall standing for the year.
Race two kicked off at 9am and featured a combination of the Supermini/Junior Mini and 65cc/Girls class racers. Things got hot off the start as Jarett Megla and Braydon Bland battled it out for the holeshot on row one. The 14-mile loop (which was abbreviated to 9-miles on loop one), meant that each of the front runners would only squeeze in three loops before the checkers. Pit strategy would ultimately prove to be a game changer as the race unraveled. Leading by just 14 second on each of the first two loops, Megla would opt to pit before continuing on his last lap assuming that Bland would follow suit. The Blais racing services rider siezed the opportunity, however, and bypassed the fuel allowing for the lead in the race. The pit stop would prove deadly for Megla as he would cross the checkers at exactly 14 seconds back of Bland. What was most amazing, was the fact that these two racers matched each other lap for lap with a consistent 14-second margin. The battle for the number one plate will come down to the final round between these two as only four points separates them currently. Nick Colangeli finished third on the day matching his season best from round 8.
In the Junior Mini class, Hagen Boyce took his second win of the season after an early race tipover of our reigning champion Mason Matthies. Matthies returned to the pits for a quick handlebar fix and returned to the race to finish 3rd in class. Aleksei Simone finished second on the day after running in 2nd place for the entire duration of the 3-lap event. Boyce had one of the most impressive rides of the youth divisions, however, recording his win by over 8 minutes on second place. Boyce will finish the season 2nd in points with one round remaining, but looks to record a third win at round 10.
The 65cc class was won again by Eric Burdell. His 6th win of the year was enough to lock up the number one plate, as Burdell will proudly have his first of Many AMA Hare and Hound National Championships. Finishing second on the day was So Cal MC member Carter Klein. Carter who matched his season best 2nd in class locked up the number two plate on the year with his podium this weekend. Lane Forbes finished third on the day and sits third in points with one round remaining.
The Girls class is always one of the most exciting to watch during the Youth program, and round 9 did not disappoint. Starting with the local “girls” class (which allowed 250f’s!) the AMA Youth girls held their own again the larger bikes and three of the National racers finished on the podium! Caitlyn Kurtz recorded yet another win in the girls class as the only female to complete 3 loops. Nichole Calebrese took home second and now holds a 5-point margin over Taylor Olivas for second overall on the season. The racing action will heat up for these two as they return home for the final round. Another national racer finished at third on the podium as Morgan Thoneson recorded her second podium of the season.
Come the start of the big bike race, over 200 riders had taken to the 7 row start. A short start meant that Round 9 would feature a “Start by Class” style start, and that allowed for ample spectator opportunities. On the front row it was a drag race between Ricky Brabec, Blais Racing Services Skyler Howes, and Husqvarna’s Jacob Argubright. Brabec took the holeshot and with it the $500 Speed Freak holeshot purse.
Loop one featured a 59-mile loop with an alternate gas at the 23-mile mark. Brabec was the first fastest to the alt gas, followed immediately by Jacob Argubright. Brabec and Argubright would remain in that order out front through the conclusion of the first loop, holding a 4 minute gap over Purvine’s Beta’s Nick Burson in third. First into the main pits earned Brabec more cash as he took home the Bike Week Radio Show first to the pit’s award and another $100!
Just three miles after exiting the pits, Argubright would return with a tire issue, leaving the door wide open for Brabec to easily sail into the finish to collect his third overall win of the year. Waiting for second overall, Brabec spoke with Ryan Sanders at the finish.
Nick Burson would ride hard to hold off the charge of the next two riders in order to record a second overall and keep him physically in the hunt for the 2014 National Championship. “I had to get up there, so I hung it out a lot more than I usually do!” Burson explained come the finish. Following just 20 seconds later, Burson’s teammate Axel Pearson would cross the finishline at third overall for the second race in a row and with just seconds to spare before Zip Ty Husqvarna’s Justin Morgan recorded a career best 4th overall in the series. Another Purvines rider, Justin Morrow finished fifth overall on just his second race back since injury.
The big winners at round 9 were the top three finishers as Wild West Chevrolet, along with the Mason Valley Dirt Squirts were able to secure a $2,000 pro purse that paid out $1,000 to Brabec, $600 to Burson, and $400 to Pearson for their respective podium finishes!
Local racer Dennis Belingheri finished 6th overall ahead of Factory KTM’s Ivan Ramirez who finished 7th. After suffering a lackluster start, Ramirez struggled to pass riders in the dust of Yerington and had to settle for a 7th overall, all the while watching his chance at a 2014 National Championship slip away. Ryan Kudla returned to the series for the first time this year to take the win in the Open “A” class, followed by Ryan Smith who finished ninth again taking the 250 class win. The win for Smith at round number 9 is enough to lock up the 250cc championship for his first ever AMA National Championship! Morgan Crawford rounded out the top 10 at first Vet “A” racer.
In the Open B class, Tony Weatherman took top honors besting second place by just under 2 minutes come the finishline. The win here at round 9 secured him the AS Racing $300 top “B” gift cetificate that is awarded at all 2014 NHHA events! Rounding out the podium for the overall “B” racers were Jake Johnanson, and Maveric Shuey who finished first 250 “B.”
The first “C” class racer of the day took home a BRP Polymer Chain Guide, and that honor went to Nolan Rudd. Nolan took top honors in the Open “C” class besting Ian Crane and Blake Clark who finished first and second respectively in the 250 “C” division.
In the age divisions here at round 9, Paul Krause finished 24th overall which was good enough to take home first in the 40+ class. Taking the win on his birthday, Krause bested his son Brandon across the finishline by approximately 20 minutes, despite starting a row behind. Paul said at the finishline, “I guess the old guy’s still got it!” Our reigning 50+ champion John Kearney took the 50+ win at round 9 which was his first time on the podium in 2014!
With the championship chase tied coming into round 9, Todd and Blackburn would be racing for the win. Mid-way through loop 2, Blackburn caught up to Todd and made the pass on an ‘easy/hard’ choice hill. Coming to the final obstacle, Blackburn attempted to carry her lead up the challenging hill, but Todd used the pressure to best Blackburn; making it up on the 2nd attempt. Todd raced her way to the finish for 1st overall, while Blackburn eventually made it to the checkers behind Todd for 2nd. Rounding off the overall podium was thought to be Brianna Vinsonhaler, but according to official results, was Andrea Dennis. The final round will no doubt be a showdown as all the women come together for the 100-mile finale.