AMA/ Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series
Round 6: Sugarloafers MC’s Cherry Creek National at the Little Sahara OHV Area
By Jacob Argubright
Photos by Vurb Offroad
JERICHO, UT, MAY 19, 2012
This weekend was the second and final NHHA round up in Utah, and after the way that my first round went, I wish that we had a few more! It’s just different up here in Utah, but not a bad “different” – a very, very good “different.”
First off, we actually got to see some water throughout the course. I mean, like, real water crossings, where you have to be careful not to kill your bike.
Secondly, there isn’t too much deviation here. In Lucerne [California], you can always get off the trail and sort of make a sketchy pass in the rocks; not up here in Utah. You’re on the trail, and that is where you can be – nowhere else!
We loaded up the motorhome and truck and headed out Thursday morning. The truck actually broke down on the way up. I was a little nervous that it would be a little more difficult to get to the race, but Ed [Villanueva, Jacob’s mechanic] had it up and running before we could even blink.
It was definitely a nice change of pace being able to ride the day before and walk the start. We got there around noon, and I didn’t make too many changes to my setup; I just enjoyed riding around in the Utah desert. I went over to walk the start and it was the same start from years before, so I just lined up straight in the middle where the most prominent line was.
I really like being able to sleep in and go race in the afternoon, mainly because I’m a little less cranky at that time! I went over the start about 45 minutes before race time and found David Kamo starting next to me, which meant I had to out-start the electric-start Honda or I wouldn’t be where I wanted to be.
When the banner went up, I was extremely nervous, because I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pressure from the results of the last National. I’ve been getting decent starts this year, but this one was my best yet! I was off in one kick and moving. I don’t think I ever let off; my butt was on the rear fender as I was trying to look for more speed, but that was all she had. It worked out okay, because I was able to get the holeshot, and it was such a cool feeling!
I was leading for the first mile or so, pumped with adrenaline, and I looked over and David Pearson was over to my left and on a way smoother trail than I was and was getting ready to pass me. He got around me, and the trails narrowed down into the trees. I was following closely in his dust and just hoping that I could keep the bike on two wheels. I couldn’t see anything at all.
The Sugarloafers put on an awesome course that was different than normal, where we actually went into the trees on the first loop and did the fast stuff on the second loop. I hadn’t been feeling the best because of the stomach flu I’d had the week before, so I wasn’t getting too aggressive too quickly.
I followed David for the whole first loop, and when I got gas to go out onto the second loop, I decided I wanted to make the push to pass him, because I knew I wouldn’t have too much energy left to try on the third loop. It was super dusty and fast on the second loop, and it was making me sick. I think I followed too close and I ate too much dust, because halfway through, I had to pull over for a minute and relax because I was becoming dizzy. I took my goggles off and just tried to get some fresh air. T.J. Hannifin got by me, and by that point I just didn’t have any energy to push, so I cruised into the finish. Luckily, Dave and I had been pushing each other, so I didn’t have to work too hard to maintain third overall. I finished out the rest of the loop and gassed a final time.
On the third loop, I just tried not to slow down. There was enough of a gap between me and the guys up front that I was able to stay out of the dust. I finished the race at third overall, but more importantly I finished without any other troubles. When I stopped to try and collect myself, I really thought for a minute that I might not make it to the end.
Having the flu was a major bummer. I didn’t spend any time training this week, and I think that even one more day on the bike would have been enough to keep me out front. Since breaking my collarbone earlier this year, the game has seriously changed for me. Kurt has helped me a bit, and my confidence level is at an all-time high. I know what it is going to take to win, and I am confident that I can get another one before the year is out.
I’d like to thank all my sponsors: Monster Energy Kawasaki, Purvines Racing, Kawasaki of Simi Valley, Off-Road Support, Moose Racing, Fasst Co. Flexx Handlebars, Jett Boots, Oakley, Braking, Matrix Concepts, Maxima Oil, Mechanix Wear, Traxxas, Motion Pro, Uni Filters, Dunlop, Trick Racing, Rekluse, Dirt Digits, Omega, BRP, TBT Racing, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway Performance, IMS, and Photos by Grumpy.
My next race will be back east in Alabama, where I am teaming up with Destry Abbott and Gary Sutherlin for the Perry Mountain 24-hour event. I’ve never really ridden out in the South, so this should be an awesome experience. I am looking forward to a change of pace, and I feel like we have a good shot at taking a win out there!
See you in the desert!
Cherry Creek National at the Little Sahara OHV Area
Results: May 19, 2012 (Round 6)
OVERALL: 1. David Pearson (Kaw); 2. T.J. Hannifin (Kaw); 3. Jacob Argubright (Kaw); 4. Nick Thompson (KTM); 5. Nick Burson (Kaw).
[For more on this event, please see “Race Reports from Cherry Creek and Racetown 395”… Editor]