2018 Rnd 1 – Jan 27/28 – Spanglar Hills OHV, Red Mountain, CA – FLIER
Round 9 – November 12 2017 > Results – Big Bike
– Photo/Blurb: Mark Kariya
After starting in January, the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series drew to a close at round nine: the Checkers Motorcycle Club’s 67th Annual Check Chase.
The Checkers are, of course, known for putting on tough races and this one proved to uphold that tradition admirably. Though the two loops were only 32 and 37 miles long, they featured plenty of the sharp rocks and hills that the Stoddard Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside of Barstow, California, is famous for while avoiding most overused, whooped-out trails.
In fact, racers could see how much work the club put into the course by how much virgin trail they “enjoyed,” with ample course marking helping to keep them on track–unless they happened to be riding blind in the dust and missed an arrow or other marker.
With mostly cloudy skies, there was nary a trace of breeze to blow dust away so getting a good start was even more important than usual.
Taylor Robert got the best jump off the line and stayed in front all day to take his fourth win of the season and end up second in points behind Gary Sutherlin, who wrapped up the championship with his win at the previous round and settled for third place today. Splitting them was Jacob Argubright, who trailed Sutherlin for the first loop then saw the opening he’d been looking for as they started loop two. But while he managed to stay in second place the rest of the way, Sutherlin never dropped off the pace and remained just outside of his dust envelope. Same thing with the relationship between Robert and Argubright: Robert simply couldn’t shake Argubright despite the dust, the top three separated by just 25 seconds at the end.
They weren’t too far in front of 2010 champ Kendall Norman, who made his first National start in quite a while. Though a bit rusty, he finished just 35 seconds behind Sutherlin so there’s no doubt he could be a serous factor once again should he decide to pursue it.
Nick Burson and Axel Pearson claimed fifth and sixth, respectively, while Tyler Lynn took seventh overall and the FMF Pro 250 win (his fifth of the season, though it didn’t matter since he’d already sealed the championship last month).
Travis Damon, Joe Wasson and Jake Alvarez (the FMF Pro 250 runner-up on a 125!) rounded out the top 10 overall.
Now it’s time for the hare & hound racers to take some well-deserved time off and get ready for next year which could be the biggest in a long time with three additional states and two more rounds in the preliminary schedule.
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2017 Rnd 9 KENDA/SRT National Hare & Hound Championship from JMR Productions