Round 8 of the National Hare & Hound series was put on by 100’s motorcycle club. It was held in Lucerne, valley and staged out of cougar buttes. Coming back to a district 37 National is always refreshing. The 100’s always put on a really good true hard national as well. We got out there early Friday so that I could do some suspension testing with Precision concepts. Well the weather had some other ideas on that. It was one of the windiest days I have ever witnessed out there and there have been a lot of windy days in Lucerne. We did nothing but get our rigs level and hide inside. On Saturday the weather mellowed out allowed us outside. I got in a lot of testing and came away with a whole new setup for the race Sunday. There was an autograph signing Saturday night and a few big display tents that the 100’s had set up for people to look around in. It is always awesome to see clubs put in some new stuff to give something for the people to come and check out.
Sunday morning at a National always comes with an early wake up call. The bomb run was set to be open at 7:15am. I headed over about that time to go find a line. After searching for the start and realizing how far it was away from camp I checked out the start and headed back to the trailer. I was going to have to get race ready and stay down at the start all morning to build my line. I got ready loaded down with some water, food and gave my beautiful wife a kiss and told her I would see her in the pits! I headed back to the start to work on my line. When I got back so many people were riding the start and the dust was so bad you couldn’t even see the end of the bomb. I worked on the first half of my line once I found where I wanted to go and got my bike set in its spot. We still had a lot of time to kill before the riders meeting and the banner drop. This is always the worst because you just want to get the waiting over with and get the race going. When it was finally time I was confident and ready. We had over a 100 mile battle getting ready to ensue. In such a long race you wouldn’t think the start would matter that much but it really does. If you get a bad start and get stuck in the dust by the time you get up front the leaders are minutes ahead. I knew I needed a good start because I lined up directly in the middle of the start. If I messed this up it would be a long dusty dangerous day ahead. When the banner dropped my Purvines YZF450fx fired quickly and I jumped out ahead of everyone around me. I had my line dialed in and wasn’t letting off until the end of the bomb. I glanced to my right and saw my teammate Gary about even with me and looked left to see my other teammate Axel. It was an awesome feeling because I knew Ron Purvines would be watching and he does so much for our team it’s all we could do to thank him with a start like that. I had a better angle on the turn at the end of the bomb and it allowed me to keep on the gas and come out in 1st overall. It is always an awesome feeling to lead a bomb run especially at a National. Across the 1st valley is always just as intense as the start. I felt a bike creeping up beside me and it was Gary. He held it on longer then me through some rough sections and made the pass on me. I tried to stick with him as best I could but the dust was really bad. I moved around on the trails next to him but it was hard to not get too far off into the rocks. He finally got up ahead enough where his dust wasn’t too bad and I just tried to keep his dust trail in sight. He had a really strong pace going but wasn’t pulling too crazy far ahead. I was happy with the pace I was riding and would just stay at that pace. I didn’t want to do anything stupid to throw away this good start. The whole first loop was really fast. I looked back toward the end of loop1 and saw Jake creeping up on me. I just tried to stay in the zone and ride my own race. I made it until right before the finish where I missed a wrong turn and lost the trail. Jake ended up seeing ribbon first and beating me to the trail that left me coming into the pits in 3rd. I grabbed some fresh Viral Goggles from my wife and some fuel from the team and I was off on loop 2. I tried to keep Jake in sight but his pace was better than mine. I had a few close calls so I just decided to ride my own race and whatever happens let it happen. About halfway through loop 2 Taylor caught me and got by me in a sand wash. I tried to stick with him in the rocks to up my pace and it definitely helped. About then I came up over a rise and saw Jake standing next to his bike. That is never a good sign but he was up and giving me thumbs up. I knew he would be ok but where he crashed didn’t look good. Now back in 3rd overall I just kept up the pace I felt comfortable with and came back into the pits 3rd overall. All we had left was a27 mile 3rd loop. I knew the nasty rocky terrain was coming. I always love this type of riding but at mile 80 of a 100mile race it is always more difficult than normal. I had a good time on some new trails and didn’t do anything crazy to bring the bike home in 3rd overall.
It felt awesome to be back up on the podium and my riding really felt good. My new setup was a change in the right direction and it should only get better from here. We now have 1 National Hare & Hound left and 1 WHS left. With a couple weeks off I will just keep working on my setup and be ready for the last 2 rounds of the year!!