Saddlemen

Race Report from NHHA Round 10, Take Three: Ben Meza

| 13 November 2014 6:27 pm

NHHA National Hare & Hound Association Championship Series
Round 10: 100s MC H&H at Johnson Valley OHV Area

By Ben Meza
Photos by Mark Kariya
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services
LUCERNE, CA, OCT. 26, 2014

Race Report by Ben Meza, 250cc A
Fresh off a career-best second place overall at a Shamrocks MC D37 race, I was more than ready to be a top-10 contender at the final NHHA [round]. After testing with my team, I was feeling more than confident in my ESR/ RaceTech Suspension.

Ben Meza tackles the terrain at the final NHHA round of the season.

Ben Meza tackles the terrain at the final NHHA round of the season.

I got out to north Soggy Dry Lake Bed early Saturday morning around 9 a.m. and immediately got to work making any final tune-ups to my suspension. After a few hours of tinkering, my KTM 250 was ready to go!

One of the best parts about being in the Blais Racing squad is all the fun activities we do. This weekend was no different. The team held a hot-dog lunch (as well as an autograph signing, which had to be canceled due to the high wind speeds). The whole team dressed up in Halloween costumes for the occasion. It was a lot of fun, like usual!

Sunday morning came fast, and first things first: I geared up and took my Blais Racing 250 to go check out the bomb run. I found a good main line that seemed safe, so I decided to call it good. I went back to camp to eat some breakfast before it was time to start.

Ben Meza’s girlfriend, Paige Jones.

Ben Meza’s girlfriend, Paige Jones.

11:00… As I sat on the line, my girlfriend gave me a hug and wished me luck. Now it was time to do what I came there to do! The banner went up and I focused intently, waiting for it to drop. As soon as it started to fall, I ignited the fire-breathing machine underneath me. I got a decent jump off the line and just opened my bike up as fast as it would go, grabbing gears like nobody’s business.

Before I knew it, only one bike was directly ahead of me – my teammate Skyler [Howes]. I continued to wring out my bike, and as he cracked the throttle to turn left, I blew by him. I reached the end of the bomb, narrowly missing the holeshot and sitting right behind Ricky Brabec and Ivan Ramirez, in third place. I was in awe at what I had just accomplished: a top-three start at a National!

As the course narrowed, I got into my groove, flowing and riding smooth. The dust was thick, so I backed off a little, in fear of throwing away my great start, when Nick Burson made a pass on me. I realized really quick I needed to keep my speed up and hang on to the back of him. I was doing just that when another competitor tried to pass me. I recognized the rider as Axel Pearson. I cut right to try and hold him off, but he was riding effortlessly.

As we came close to the dry lake bed cross, I heard yet another rider closing the gap on me. Off to the right, I saw Jacob Argubright throwing down a pass. I knew he was faster, so I didn’t try to push myself to stay ahead of the Husky rider. The terrain was awesome! Lots of sand rollers and large sand berms! My Kenda tires were loving it!

A little while later, I came across Jacob again; this time he was lying on the ground, helmet off, as well as a couple other pieces of gear, with his bike laying a bit away from him. Worried about my friend, I immediately pulled off the course to help him. I asked if he was okay and he didn’t respond; he was just staring at the ground. I asked a few more times and he finally said, “I think so…” He then asked if his obviously broken wrist was broken. I couldn’t just leave him, so without thinking about my race, I started to let someone know that he was hurt. At that time, Michael Allen showed up and told me to keep going and that he’d stay with Jacob. Without another thought, I got on the gas and took off. I put down a fast pace but was totally out of my groove – riding a little reckless, I must say.

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The first loop, I came in sitting 17th – not anywhere near where I should be.

The second loop was fast, much like the first but slightly more technical. I was able to gain one position from Chance Wylie, bumping me up to 16th overall. Unfortunately I made a stupid mistake on the second loop, causing my front rotor to bend, making my brakes go in and out.

The third, “technical” loop was very hard to ride without a consistent front brake. Although it was fun, it just wasn’t easy to try and go fast.

My day wasn’t anywhere near what I thought it should be, and I failed to meet my goals. I finished the race 16th overall and fourth in class, and finished the season third in class and 15th overall. I’m excited to finish top 15 overall for the season, but I know I can do so much better.

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I can’t thank my team enough; Chris and Patty [Blais] do so much for me! The bit that you all get to see and hear about on the weekends is only a little part of it. They do so much behind the scenes that they don’t get gratitude for, so thank you so very much!

I also want to thank my sponsors for standing behind me. I would hardly call this season a success, but it’s a good foundation for what I plan to accomplish next season. To Fasst Co., Troy Lee Designs, NoToil, ESR, Race Tech, Muscle Milk, KTM, Bullet Proof Designs, Dirt Tricks, Kenda, Fastway, A’ME, IMS, BRP, KTM, FMF, Rekluse, Freegun, Scott Goggles, HBMC, my parents: Thank you all so much for all of the support. And I have to give all the glory to God! My 2015 season started on Monday, and you’d best believe I’m going to give it my all!

[For more from this event, please see “Race Report from NHHA Round 10, Take One: Harry Lyles” and “Race Report from NHHA Round 10, Take Two: Skyler Howes” and stay tuned for more Race Reports from this event to be posted soon on Today’s Cycle Coverage… Editor]

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Category: Hare and Hound, National, POV, Regional, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV, Riders' Race Reports

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