Utah National & Primm Big 6

Photo by Mark Kariya

Coming into the last weekend before summer break I knew it was going to be a long one. I had a National Hare & Hound on Saturday in Jericho, Utah and an AMA Big 6 in Primm on Sunday. Luckily it was on the way home and not far away at all for the team on Sunday. I was looking forward to racing again in Utah but the weather wasn’t near as nice this time around. It was hot and dry. Very dry. Even though it had rained earlier in the week it had soaked up like it hadn’t rained in months! On the way up Maddy and I picked up our nephew Aiden for a long weekend of racing. It is his birthday month and we did it last year as well so we figured why not. After picking him up in Las Vegas we drove the rest of the way out to the race site stopping quite a few times to just enjoy some places we usually just blow on by. One place we stopped was Cove Fort. It was an awesome experience and sharing it with our nephew was even better. We showed up to the race Friday afternoon and got set up. I took the race bike out for a little bit and walked the start with my buddy and teammate Axel Pearson. The start was just a field with a little chicane towards the end. I knew the start would be very important as well with all the dust.

When the banner dropped on Saturday afternoon after a 2.5-hour delay It was finally time to go racing. I got a great jump and had Kendall just to my left. I tried to edge him out but he stayed on the gas as well as Ryan Smith. I tried to just follow them through the first two corners and make my move right before the end of the start. It was a sharp left and as they both swung wide I squared it up and go the power of my Purvines Yamaha going forward. I was able to power around the inside and take the hole shot! I was excited for this but it was also short lived. I didn’t hold it on enough in the beginning and lost the two spots back pretty quickly and then made the pass back on Smith which put me in 2nd overall. Now the dust was horrible. I couldn’t see anything. I was riding off the trail straight into bushes and missing corners. I knew no one could see behind me as well but I was worried I would get passed. Finally, the dust opened up and I was able to get on the gas again and see Kendall checking out on me. I tried to stay in his dust as much as possible. I really tried to reel him in or at least stay close but I was not feeling comfortable at all. At this point my stomach started turning for the worse as well. I don’t know what it is with the dust up here but it makes me sick almost instantly. This is the 4th or 5th time this has happened to me. I just really tried to ignore it but it was keeping me from pushing as hard as I wanted to. The high-speed rocky terrain and random ditches had me riding a little paranoid and very timid. It was definitely not my best but I was 2nd overall almost all the way to the pits when Taylor blew by me in an open grass field valley. I knew I wasn’t going fast enough through the valley but I was going the speed I was comfortable with at the time. When I came into the pits and got some gas and fresh Viral goggles from my beautiful wife Maddy she let me know I was 30 seconds back of Taylor and 1:30 minutes down from Kendall. I knew it was going to be a long 2nd loop and that I needed to push all the way to the end. I didn’t want to relax and get caught by anyone so I pushed hard like I had someone right on my tail. I finally started to ride like I should and felt really comfortable. About halfway through the loop I came to a road crossing and was told there was a rider only 20 seconds up. I thought I was starting to see poofs of dust but sometimes the dust can really linger. I finally caught sight of the rider and realized it was Kendall. About that time his dust was really bad so I couldn’t get very close to him. It also made me start feeling sicker and I wasn’t sure if I could push past him. About that time, I got right behind him in some tight sections and I just focused on him and made the pass in a sand wash. From there I just kept my speed consistent and knew the finish would be quickly approaching. It was a rough 10 miles back to the finish line but I was very excited to see the checkered flag. I quickly rode straight through the finish and to an outhouse to take care of my stomach issues. Being on the podium is always the goal but I feel like I am really close to winning a lot of these and I just need to execute a few things a little better! Now it was off to the next race for the weekend.

I have to thank my wife for keeping me fueled and ready to race again two days in a row. One big race a weekend is always a lot and this weekend we had 2. I tried to hydrate as much as possible and just stay cool before the 1:00pm start time. It was delayed a little bit as well just to let it get hotter out. I knew it was going to be rough, dusty and hot. I didn’t see much of the course but knew it would only be a small issue. When the race started I got an ok jump but just got pelted with rocks and mud going down the truck track. Not my favorite start. I was pulling tear offs in the first 100 yards trying to see where I was going. I figured I would now just hang back and try to learn the course and put in a charge later. The dust was so bad in the next couple miles’ people were riding 100 feet off course and missing corners because you couldn’t even see where you were going. Finally, after a lap I started to feel good and knew I needed to put in a charge. I passed quite a few riders and made my way to the back of a train that lead up into the top 5. I was about 2 corners behind and felt comfortable with the pace they were riding. Right before halfway I started to get really hot. I felt like I couldn’t cool down at all and realized the day before took a lot of energy out of me. I was really trying to push through it when I hit a hole and blew both hands off the bars and flew over a berm. I saved it but almost had a big crash. I needed to back it down to make sure I safely got to the finish. From then on I had my wife running through the pits with water bottles doing a hand off so I could dump water on myself which I never do but needed at this time. It helped me get through to the finish and bring it home with a 9th place overall. The result was not very good but I knew it was going to be tough after pushing so hard the day before and being sick. I am looking forward to summer break now and being able to work on some things and come out swinging after summer to finish the year off strong!! Thank you to my wife for all her had work this weekend!! As well as Ron Purvines, Collin Woolsey and Axel Pearson for coming out both days to support me!

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