Round 4 of the National Hare and Hound series was back in Lucerne Valley and the race was being put on by So Cal MC. I was looking forward to getting back into the desert and having a more normal desert race by our standards. So Cal always puts on a great race and this one would be no different. My wife and I headed out and got all set up with the dogs and the new trailer late Friday. It would be nice having the trailer there and not have to go get a hotel or do any driving once we were there. We also got to spend a lot of time with our friends at the races and meet the new Pearson puppy “Penny”. She fit right in with our bassets and now the wolf pack was up to three. Saturday was a pretty relaxing day since we were already set up and there wasn’t much to do but get some riding in and make sure our race bikes were ready to go. Axel and I got in a good ride and felt confident and ready for Sunday. You couldn’t ride the start Saturday so we watched some of the kid’s races, watched supercross and had a good dinner. Thankfully for me my wife is an amazing cook and had everything ready for me!!
Sunday morning is always an early one but when you’re camping out there it’s not too bad. I woke up and got geared up right away to head to the start. Sometimes the start can take a couple hours to figure out a line and sometimes it only takes a couple passes. This time it was a pretty basic start and everywhere was about the same. I found where I wanted to be and went back to the trailer to eat some breakfast and relax before race time. When the banner went up I was ready and confident for the day. I knew it would be a long day and a lot of miles to cover. I had a great jump and with the way the start was laid out I knew it would be more than just to the bomb that mattered. Once past the bomb I found myself even with a few other riders and was just to the right of the main trail. It was a smooth valley and I felt pretty confident going across it. By the time I hit the trail I had no one in front of me. I knew people were all around but at this point I was leading. It felt good to have some clean air and be up near the front. That didn’t last too long though as I heard a bike way off to my right and looked that way and saw Brabec veering right. Well the trail I was on was going that way but he had made the pass and I was now in his dust. I moved off the trail for some clean air and tried to stay as close to him as possible. At that point I heard another bike and Jake went by me. We traded positions a few times before he made the pass on me right before we funneled into a lakebed trail. It was super dusty and I tried to stay right on his wheel but the dust got too bad. I backed off and just tried to keep them in my sights. I was comfortable with where I was at and didn’t quite have the leaders pace but I knew it would be a long day. Across another valley approaching a sand dune hill as I was going right across the middle of the valley I noticed a bike way off to the left out of the corner of my eye. It was Taylor and he was a few hundred feet to my left on a super smooth trail and got in front of me going up the next hill. From that point I just was riding my own pace and feeling pretty good on the bike. About that time I came over a little hill and hit what I thought was just a normal stake in the ground but it about ripped me off my bike and almost made me crash. It hit my front brake so hard it exploded my master cylinder and I was left with no front brakes for the rest of the first loop. Coming across another lakebed almost back to the pits I noticed a dust trail way off to the right. As I slowed down and looked to make sure I was going the right way as I was on the ribbon trail I noticed it was Taylor again. This time he was about 500ft and at times more on a score road going around the lakebed. I was in his dust up to this point but after this move I wasn’t even close to him. I am not sure if it was a mistake or what but it was some pretty obvious course cutting to me. I tried to put it out of my mid at this point and hope the club would do what was right as multiple people sitting on the lakebed trail watched the whole thing. I finally made it into the pits after realizing how hard it is to ride without a front brake. I came in and threw my bike on the stand and let my mechanic and team go to work. They had the whole front brake system changed out quickly and I was on my way. Only good thing about this was that I got to chat with my wife in the pits for the first time ever!! I took off and was in 7th place and I knew anyone in front of me was a ways ahead. I took off and tried to ride calm and not hair ball it and crash out of the race. I struggled a little bit at first in the rocks and I’m not sure if it was frustration or what. I finally settled down and started riding well and slowly was catching up to dust. About this point I noticed something going wrong with the front brakes again. I thought it was just in my head so I tried not to focus on it and keep charging. I just got in the dust of the riders in front of me when we hoped in a tight sandwash. I came into a sharp corner and grabbed the front brake and that’s when my front brake didn’t disengage. It put me on the ground really quickly and pretty hard. I got up shook off the dust and took off messing with the front brake trying to figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t see anything but it wasn’t releasing and made using it really sketchy. I couldn’t believe it but I was without brakes again. This time I knew I needed to salvage a finish and try to catch some riders but be safe in the process. I made my way into the pits and we looked at the brakes and couldn’t figure it out quickly so I took off on the 3rd loop. I had just figured I would ride without front brakes for the rest of the day. The 3rd loop steep downhill’s made this a little sketchy but I made it without any mistakes and brought the bike home in 7th overall.
The course So Cal put on was probably the best course I have ridden in a long time. I had a lot of fun on the course but wasn’t happy with the result. After talking with the club and them making a ruling on Taylor it moved me up to 6th overall. Nowhere near where I want to be finishing but with all the bad luck that I had it wasn’t a bad result. I am glad we are racing again so quickly this weekend so I get a chance at redemption. I want to thank my wife for taking care of me all weekend and making sure I was ready for race day! Collin Woolsey for the entire bike prep and fixing the stuff I break during the race as well. Ron Purvines for giving me the best support and team possible!! See everyone in Utah this weekend!!