Rnd 8 October 21/22, 2017 – Lucerne, CA – FLIER POSTED
– Photo/Blurb: Mark Kariya
Right after the two Youth races, all of the big bikes lined up for the sheriff-escorted parade through Caliente on its main drag to the start area a few miles east of town.
While the Silver State Trail Blazers Motorcycle Club had done this a few times at their races in Panaca, I think this was the first for the always popular Muley Run, round seven of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series.
Using a different start area than previous years presented several line choices once riders left the short section of graded farm road, though the lines eventually funneled into one rocky, off-camber trail at the top of a hill.
If you haven’t seen the drone footage that Jacob Michna got of the start, check it out because it shows Axel Pearson and Jacob Argubright colliding at speed! Luckily, neither went down.
Once onto the trail, Axel set the pace out front, though Taylor Robert–last year’s Muley Run winner in his H&H debut–lurked right behind.
And last year’s individual overall winner of the ISDE was content to patiently wait there as they pulled away from the rest of the field, waiting until the right opportunity presented itself.
When it did, Taylor pounced, passing decisively a few miles from the end of the 33-mile first loop. From there and to the end of the 44-mile second loop, the FMF KTM rider controlled the pace out front, though Pearson did get fairly close, only to blow a turn and get tangled in a tree. So, the Purvines DA8 Racing rider had to settle for second.
His teammate, Gary Sutherlin, had a somewhat disappointing ride to third, unable to match the pace of the front-runners. But, third-place points was still better than trying too hard, crashing and getting a DNF for the series points leader who now has 164.
A little farther back, Skyler Howes made his second appearance of the season and aboard the same CRF450X he’d raced a couple months ago at the Baja 500, he finished fourth, just ahead of a disgruntled Ricky Brabec, the defending series champ falling in the first turn and thus giving up lots of ground to his rivals. He pointed out that his fifth place was the first time he’s finished a race off the podium in two years. The JCR Honda rider still sits second in points with 131 after missing two rounds due to injury, two points ahead of Taylor Robert who, coincidentally, also missed two rounds with injury.
We now have to wait until the middle of October to see this battle resume.
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2017 Rnd 7 KENDA/SRT National Hare & Hound Championship from JMR Productions