Round 3 of the National Hare and Hound series was held in Murphy, Idaho. I always enjoy the race and the atmosphere the Idaho national brings. The drive not so much, but that is part of the game. For this round the team always stays in the same hotel every year because it is easier to get in and out of the race site with a smaller vehicle then the big rig we usually drive. Early Friday morning my wife, Dad and I set out on the 11 hour drive. The drive is not bad because we usually only do it once a year and there is a lot of wild life along the way along with some fun stops we usually make. We arrived around 5:00pm and settled into the hotel and went to dinner with the team. Saturday morning we get to sleep in a little bit before we head out to the race site to set up pit and do a little shakedown of the bike. After walking the start and finding the line I liked the best we loaded up the bikes to go ride. Being that you can’t ride around the area where the pit is we have to load up and drive down the road a little ways to get some riding in. I practiced a few starts and got in about 30 minutes of riding with Axel and TJ before I felt comfortable and was ready for Sunday!
Sunday morning is always an early wakeup call especially in Idaho because of the time change for us. We got up around 4:30 our time to get some breakfast and head to the race. Once we get there I got my bike through tech inspection and on the starting line. One more walk of the start and time to relax and get ready for the banner drop. When the banner dropped I got a great jump but the Purvines Yamaha just didn’t want to keep the front wheel on the ground. I am pretty sure I almost pulled an “Axel Pearson” and looped it off the start. I managed to get it settled down and get going. This put my about 4th on the line I really wanted but I just peeled off to the right and held it wide open going through the brush. It’s always a big adrenaline rush but with the start being so important it’s the risk you have to take to have a good day! I got through the banners and into the sand wash right behind Jake and I think we were 4th and 5th overall. I felt good right away and was putting some pressure on Jake when I heard a bike coming up behind me going really fast. I took a quick glance and saw Idaho Native David Kamo coming and coming fast. I knew I needed to get going before I went backwards! About then 3rd place had a big crash right in front of some spectators and all of us. That moved us all up one position and the battle continued. When we got in a little rocky wash I tried to go around Jake and he pinched me off which allowed Kamo to rail almost past both of us but he made it around me. I watched him get around Jake as well and take off. We stayed close to him as the conditions made for not very much dust at all. Maybe about 10 miles into the race we found ourselves pressure Kamo to make the pass back on him. Jake got by him and I knew I couldn’t wait either as I needed to stay with the lead pack. I made the pass soon after that and set my sights on Jake. I got up behind him and made the pass in a rocky wash. At that point we had worked up to Brabec who was sitting 2nd overall. I got right behind him and was waiting for a mistake. Finally he clipped a rock and lost some drive going down a straight away and I put the power to the ground and made it by. I could see the leader my teammate Gary Sutherlin not too far ahead and I pushed to close the gap. I ended up pulling in right behind him but I also brought along 3rd and 4th which were Brabec and Jake. Now the 4 of us were in an all-out battle. It was pretty much a motocross race going 60-70mph across the desert and through the sand washes. It was fun and we weren’t even to the first alternate gas yet. We finally made it there and luckily my Dad and Kyle Kurtz were ready for us. They each grabbed a dump can and filled our bikes and we were off. No position’s changed and we set out to continue the battle. We stayed like this for some time until I started making some mistakes and got passed back which put me in 4th overall. I came into main pit in 4th and set out on loop 2 to regroup and get the leaders back in my sights. I pushed and finally started catching the dust of Jake and when I got up behind him he moved over and let me by. He was struggling with something and that moved me into 3rd overall. I could see dust ahead so I just kept pushing for the rest of the race. At the alternate on loop 2 I got some gas from TJ and set out for the last 30 miles of the loop. I never could really bridge the gap back to the leaders but I felt good on the bike. That is until I hit Sinker creek and it didn’t look deep so I may have carried to much speed coming into it and the front end just dropped. At that moment water ended up over my head and drenching me in freezing cold snow melt run off. I think we had about 10 miles of course left after that and I was just trying to survive until the finish at that point. I couldn’t feel the front brake and barley could feel my hands on the bars. I managed to bring it to the finish and get up on the podium with a 3rd overall.
All in all I am really happy with how the race went. I had the speed to run with the leaders and I feel I had the speed to win. I need to clean up the middle part of my race and I will be right there until the end. My bike felt awesome all day and I have no complaints there. Everything is starting to come together and I will only get better as the year goes on. I want to thank my wife for everything she does to support me and give me the best opportunity for success possible along with my Dad coming to help in the pits and help me with the long drives! I wouldn’t be where I am without the support system I have behind the scenes with my wife and family!