The Western Hare Scrambles series picked back up again after summer break in Jericho, Utah. This is a pretty familiar race site for most of us because we used to have two national Hare and Hounds out here every year. Now we only have one but this year they also scheduled a Hare Scrambles as well. It would be my first time racing a Hare Scrambles at this location but the terrain would be the same. Leading up to this race I got to do some riding in the area and spend a few days camping at Hyrum, Lake with my wife and our fur babies. It was a nice break from the heat we have had at home to get up above Salt Lake City and spend some time relaxing. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on our trip as it would get a little warm in the day but have really cool evenings and mornings. We had a great time and never wanted to leave but we were excited to head to the races for the weekend. We got out there late Thursday night and the clouds were rolling in. I expected some big rain storms the next few days but we had a lot of clouds and showers off and on. With the area being super silty and dry it was going to take a lot of rain to make it not be dusty. I knew the start would be important as it always is but even more this time.
When the banner dropped my usual starts went away and I was sitting there as everyone took off. I quickly regrouped and got my bike fired up and luckily for me we had a really long straight away before the first turn. I swung out wide and made a lot of passes before the corner and then coming into the first turn I banged bars with a few guys sending all of us bouncing around. I ended up coming out of the mayhem and dust cloud in 2nd that my teammate Axel Pearson created by nailing the start. Now I set off trying to make a move on him but the dust was just too thick and he was riding really well. I had to back off for the dust to settle in some sections and then when we finally made it up into some wetter dirt try to catch back up to him. I could see him inching away from me but I knew it would be a long race. About halfway thru lap 1 I started feeling flu like symptoms and having really bad stomach cramps. It was hard to even focus on racing at this point but I really didn’t have a choice. These stomach cramps and flu symptoms would haunt me all day and really put a dampener on my day. I made it around the first lap in 2nd about 30 seconds down from Ax but what we didn’t know is 3 of the pros had taken a wrong turn and ended up on the morning course. This cut out about 5 miles of our course. We had no idea but our pit crews were really confused as they had seen us leave being 1-2. Right in the beginning of lap two I took a line to the right of the main line and this led me straight into a 6ft g-out ditch with the other side being a vertical wall. With no way of clearing the ditch I held on and went for the ride. I smashed the other side of the wall with a big force folding my body in half over the bike. I never even came close to crashing as my bike stayed perfectly straight thanks to my precision concepts suspension. The first thing I felt when I realized I wasn’t crashing was my left wrist. Instantly I thought I broke it again. Anyone who races motorcycles knows when something is broke or not and it instantly went a little numb and got tight. Then after that I realized I really couldn’t see. I had gotten such bad whip lash it had knocked me silly. I had to climb a hill that was super silty afterwards and I could barely stay on the off camber trail my vision and balance were so off. At that point I was done for the day. I slowed way down the next two straights pissed off that I just ruined my day. About that point my vision started getting better and I decided to see how long my wrist would hold out. I didn’t really have a choice as I had to get to the finish somehow. Luckily for me it was my left hand and all I had to do was hold on with my flex handlebars it provided a little bit of cushion. I knew catching Axel was probably out of the question but I needed to stay in 2nd. I put my head down and just kept on riding knowing the finish would come at some point. Finally after 4 grueling laps we got the white flag. I got some fresh Viral Goggles from my beautiful wife and a pep talk from her and knew I could hold on for one more lap. It ended up being a really good lap for me and I finally rode a lot better than I had been earlier in the day. With my stomach still acting up and my wrist getting worse by each whoop we hit I finally made it to the finish in 2nd overall.
It was a rough day for sure but this is what makes off-road racing what it is. So much goes on in the 2-3 hours that we are out there that if I we tried to tell someone that didn’t know racing they wouldn’t believe you. There are so many close calls, little crashes, missing course markings, running into people, almost hitting downed riders that it’s an experience you can never imagine until you race. This is why I love the racing that we do so much because you can have a horrible day but if you don’t quit and keep going by the time the checkered flag fly’s you would sign up and do it all again right away. It also takes a support system to keep you motivated and keep everything flowing. I know that my wife and my parents support me more than I could ever ask for. In that moment there is nothing my wife wouldn’t do for me that would help benefit me in my racing. The same goes for our team. I know that I have 100% support with my team and that our boss Ron Purvines would do anything possible for us to help make our day easier and better along with Collin Woolsey that puts so much time into making our bikes perfect, and that we have anything and everything we need on race day. He makes sure our pits are the fastest they can be and I know I never have to worry about losing time in the pits. The only thing I have to worry about is getting myself out of the way which doesn’t always happen. The next race is in another month and I’ll have time to heal and work on my weaknesses to be more prepared!