Photos: Mark Kariya / Cindi Fears
If any of you follow along with GXE and all the stuff I do through out the year you will know this season has had a very busy start to it! The past few weeks have been hectic and chocked full of amazing stuff.
First we were out at Round 1 of the Kenda/SRT West Hare Scramble Championship directing and scoring the Polka Dots MC Prairie City GP. 755 riders and lots of rain and mud for a very interesting weekend. Then we were straight back out to Round 1 of the Kenda/SRT National Hare and Hound Championship hosed by Desert MC in Johnson Valley OHV which had some great weather lined up and lots of great racing from the Youths and big bikes.
Then we never went back home but did a “U-Turn” to Boone Rd for Hammers Week. This is the largest off-road event in the entire US with 40,000+ spectators along with 400+ entrants from Trucks, UTVs, Buggies and bikes in what many consider the toughest race in the world. Sunday would start the week off with the 5th annual KLiM King of the Motos. Scoring and timing and some course lay out stuff was a lot of fun! Then stuck around for the rest of Hammers week to assist with scoring, crowd control and any thing else they needed a “Motos” rider for. Love the event as it is a phenomenon being in only it’s 10th year and attracting so many participants and spectators, sponsors and vendors… it is truly how a professional event should be run and I’m always happy to be on the team.
The entire week lead up to Round 2 of the US Desert Racing series in Red Mountain, Ca where I was leading the Vet A points with a win at Round 1. I picked up my “newish” 2014 KTM 250 sx-f from 3 Bros Racing in Costa Mesa, Ca. Being an SX it is part of the MX to Off-Road conversion I am working on for Dirtbiketest.com. I ordered parts and had them all shipped to Wheelers Ship it Shop just outside of Hammertown and built the bike while I was in the desert. Got some extra parts from KTM as they camped with me during King of the Motos so I got to put a new fuel injector, oil filter, fuel filter, throttle cable protector and a few other things. Was also testing the new Onyx Gloves that worked REALLY well and are super comfortable.
Went to change my oil, drained everything then realized I had no oil. Being a Truck event no one had anything. Kyle Kurtz hooked it up bringing out 2 bottles of Amsoil 10w-50 to the desert for me and after borrowing a 90 degree vent from Nick Burson I was able to get my IMS Tank on, added the FMF 4.1 Silencer with Sparky installed, then had Ocean make me some factory Duct Tape numbers and finally SRT gave a wheel Rodney Molyneux for me to put on at the race. Had to cut the chain… all with about an hour to go before the green flag!! I have to thank everyone that made this bike come together for this weekend! It was definitely to the final minutes till I was ready to race.
Was able to get everything going then borrowed a dump can from SRT and while carrying it in my lap while on my bike dumped a bunch of gas down my leg and into my boot… lots of fun. Was able to get lined up a ready, walking the start and got to see that there were only basically only 2 lines to the course. Lined up left, up on a bush, to get some traction and waited for the start.
Once the flag dropped I got an okay start and was battling with 450s and 500s all the way down the first start straight util it was just me and 4 guys ahead. Had a couple close calls with big rocks and was just trying to get around the dude on the KTM 500 that started next to me. Finally got him just before Check 1 and had Harper and Wright just in front of me. I was really having a hard time with head shake and having to slow down anytime I hit chop. Which I felt was really slowing me down.
I took a few laps to learn the course and watch Harper and Wright battle 15-20 seconds ahead of me for the first 3 laps. I stopped for a splash of gas from Kyle Kurtz and then was ready to catch these guys. I was within striking distance of Wright just before the pits and was about 20 seconds out on the 4th lap. Saw him catch and pass Harper then I reeled in Harper and made the pass going out on the 5th lap. Was hoping to make the pass on Wright next but after coming around the next mountain he was gone!
Started to hear a noise coming from my front end and hoped the front end didn’t come apart. The front fender came off instead which was really strange riding… but was able to stay ahead of Harper all the way to the finish and take 2nd Vet A and hold onto the points lead.
After 16 days in the desert my arms and legs and back and everything ached at the finish… then I filled up and went on a ride with the Jackrabbits to scout the 2nd loop of their September National Hare and Hound.
Have to thank FMF, IMS, Fasst Co, Amsoil, 3 Bros KTM, Factory KTM, Kyle Kurtz, Rodney Molyneux, Ocean-Breeze, Avik Graphics, John Latimer, USDR and everyone else out there!
Lots of fun!