Race Report from the NHHA Series Round One, Take Two: Harry Lyles

| 5 February 2015 4:08 pm

NHHA National Hare and Hound Association Series
Round 1: Desert MC H&H at Johnson Valley OHV

By Harry Lyles
Courtesy of Blais Racing Services

Harry Lyles pits during the opening round of the National Hare and Hound Association Series.

Harry Lyles pits during the opening round of the National Hare and Hound Association Series.

Race Report by Harry Lyles,
Seventh 250cc Pro, 34th Overall

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been up to the gills with projects at school and work for my business club, so it felt so good to get out to the desert for the weekend and go racing with my off-road family.

I got to Anderson a little before 9 a.m. on Saturday. I was so excited to ride that I was geared up and on my bike within minutes. I immediately found a glassy sand wash and was grinning ear to ear, forgetting my midweek life while I was blasting down the wash in sixth gear, wide open!

After some play-riding with the boys, Chris [Blais] helped me dial in my jetting, and off we went to watch our Mini rider teammate Cole [Timboe] race. Cole had a great race and battled hard to finish second, and after Cole’s race, we waited for Braydon’s race.

Braydon [Bland] was off to a good start when I saw him out on the course, but evidently mechanicals happen, and Braydon had to settle for a DNF.

Although there was a high and low for the day, it is really cool to see first-hand the progression of off-road racing, especially since the Youth National Hare and Hound Series is being backed by the good people at the Kurt Caselli Foundation. It is going to be amazing to see where these kids are with their racing in a few years.

Night fell upon us pretty fast, and before I knew it, it was race morning. After a big breakfast, I headed over to the bomb. The Desert MC laid out a long, bumpy bomb, which had very few good lines. I did my best to analyze the bomb and I figured out where I needed to go.

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The Desert MC dropped the banner, and thanks to my Kenda Millvilles, I had an amazing launch! I jumped from trail to trail, boonie-bashing my way through the desert until I found clean air. I grabbed sixth and held the ol’ scoot to the stop to the end of the bomb. With some good line choices, I found myself eighth to the bomb, right behind Brandon Prieto. This was the best start I have ever had at a National, and I was even more stoked because both the Pro and 250cc Pro class was stacked with some really fast guys.

I kept my cool and I got around Brandon [Crow] after he had made a mistake in a rocky section. I start to get into the groove, and just before my race was about to settle in, it was over. As soon as I’d come off the gas, my rear end would lock up, so I pulled off the trail to avoid a crash. I looked down at my rear brakes and they were smoking! I couldn’t believe it! After such an amazing start, too!

I had a lot of choice words that my mother wouldn’t have been proud of, but I assessed the situation and I quickly busted out my fanny pack to fix the problem. I tried not to rush to further worsen the situation and, surprisingly, I was extremely calm. After reviewing my GoPro footage, I was on the side of the trail for over four minutes, and in that time, about 100 people had passed me. Although I knew my day was pretty much done, I had to think about the big picture, which was to salvage as much points as possible towards the championship.

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I got going again and began bobbing and weaving through the slower pack and before I knew it, I had a fast pace and was making up positions left and right. Usually I am a lot more reserved during the first loop to save my energy, but at this point, that was out the window, and I was charging! By the time I came into the pits, I’d made up my way to 50th overall.

I got a quick pit from my dad, Leon Hanson and Don Meza and went straight back out again across the valley. I crept up on another pack of riders. Just before I could make a move, the trail got a little confusing, and I made a bad line choice that sent me to the ground. I was in a tough spot, and it took me a while to get back up to speed, and after a few more miles of pushing, I got really tired and started to make more mistakes. I told myself to chill out and just cruise it in for a finish so I wouldn’t get hurt.

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I ended up finishing 34th overall and seventh 250cc Pro. I was super bummed about the brake issue when I got back to the truck, but those negative feelings turned into feeling proud after realizing the adversity I had overcome on the course. Mistakes, crashes and mechanicals happen, but I was able to block it out and put my head down to charge for a finish.

For me, that is the beauty about racing; the love, hate, the good, the bad days, as well as the what-ifs and maybes – you’re never going to know what is going to happen out there. As I am getting older, I am starting to realize there are things to gain from every experience and that you should never take a bad experience for granted, because those are the ones you learn the most from. Hopefully, with a bit more luck and good start, I’ll be able to redeem myself at the next round.

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Special thanks to the Desert MC for an awesome course! Another special thanks to Mitch, Doreen and Sammy Bangert for a place to sleep, and of course, thank you to all of the amazing people behind me – my mom, my dad, Chris and Patty Blais, and the rest of my amazing sponsors: Blais Racing Services, Fasst Co., Race Tech, ESR, Pro Moto Billet, RMOR FX, Kenda Tires, AM’E Grips, IMS, Alpinestars, Troy Lee Designs, the Kurt Caselli Foundation, Bullet Proof Designs, VonZipper, Dirt Tricks, No Toil, Maxilube and FMF! Thank you!

See you at round two!
– Harry

[For more from this event, please see “Race Report from the NHHA Series Round One, Take One: Patty Blais,” and also stay tuned for more Race Reports 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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