AMA Racing Kenda Hare & Hound Round 3 Dirt Bike Racing
Kurt Caselli’s a pretty quick learner. In the first two rounds of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series, he discovered that he needed to improve his dead-engine start techniques. He wasn’t getting really bad starts, mind you, but winning is so much easier when you don’t have to hold it wide open through blinding dust when trying to make your way to the front of the pack.
Previous 2011 AMA Hare & Hound Races:
So, the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team star tried something a little different at round three of the series, the Roadrunner Off-Road/Threat Racing King of the Desert National near El Centro, California. Whatever his secret was, it worked well because he rocketed off the start on his 450 SX-F, led at the bomb and held it to win his second race in a row this season. That brings his score to 5-1-1, which means he trails race runner-up David Pearson in points, 80-76. Five-time series champ Destry Abbott claimed third on the day and sits third in points after a wild day at the Superstition Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area.
But it was a closer race than at the previous round. Caselli also found out that it’s tough being in front in this particular desert with its very fast first loop. “That first loop was tough,” he said. “There were a lot of sections where it was hard to stay on the course. I was blowing corners and I could see Pearson back there and I actually went down once, but I was able to get up and going before he was too close to pass me. Dave was riding really well. He was on my butt that whole first loop and I was pushing and still trying to race smart.”
Purvines Racing Honda’s Pearson explained, “I just stayed right there in the thick of his dust the whole first lap. I came in[to the pit and] I think I was 10 seconds behind him but then went out on the second [loop] and, I don’t know--he was riding really, really good. I was riding good and about halfway through the lap I started making a few mistakes and I looked down and he was probably about a minute ahead of me. Man, just like that!”
He would not be able to retake any of that ground he lost and ended up about two minutes behind, which was a marked improvement over the seven-minute gap Caselli owned at round two. However, he remains the series points leader after three rounds.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Abbott got a third-place start and couldn’t make up time at a venue that is admittedly not his favorite. “Here, I just like to get out of here with a podium,” he said. Though he wasn’t on his backup bike, he was using a backup motor after lunching the race engine on Saturday afternoon when a clip came off the compression release, letting parts into places where they’re not designed to go. Mechanic Jonathan Weisman drove back to Phoenix, swapped motors and drove out to El Centro again by race morning to get the job done.
Kawasaki of Simi Valley’s Jacob Argubright kept Abbott in sight for the entire race, thanks in part to a good start with new Purvines Racing Honda recruit Justin Morrow claiming fifth overall. Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s David Kamo finished sixth on what was basically a stock magazine test TXC 511 after his own bike broke on Saturday afternoon. Zip-Ty Racing boss Ty Davis and another employee made the drive from Hesperia to El Centro, arriving at about 1:00 a.m. and spent the next couple hours putting some of Kamo’s parts on the donor bike that got him to the finish for the first time this season.
Purvines Racing Honda’s Carl Maassberg, FMF Kawasaki-mounted Brett Saunders and Barstow Motorcycle Center Kawasaki’s Brad Pace rounded out the top 10.
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. David Pearson (Honda CRF450X)
3. Destry Abbott (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Justin Morrow (Honda CRF450X)
6. David Kamo (Husqvarna TXC 511)
7. Robert Underwood (Kawasaki KX450F)
8. Carl Maassberg (Honda CRF450X)
9. Brett Saunders (Kawasaki KX450F)
10. Brad Pace (Kawasaki KX450F)