AMA Racing Kenda National Hare & Hound Dirt Bike Racing, Round 5
Apparently, things were a little too close for comfort in Idaho for Kurt Caselli. Even though he won that race--round four of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series--the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team star treated round five in Jericho, Utah, like he’d lost that one and was out for revenge. He blazed away from the field from the time the banner dropped in the sand dunes near the Little Sahara Recreation Area and controlled nearly every aspect of the race.
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About the only things he couldn’t control was the snow that fell practically all day and getting lost at the beginning of the snow-shortened second loop.
“This was definitely a one-off race,” he observed afterward. “I think everybody went out [simply] with the intention to finish. It wasn’t a real intense race; you kind of had to just trail ride and be smart.”
Behind him is where the action took place, with Utah native T.J. Hannifin getting a great start and running in the top three early on his Pro Cycles KX450F, finally finishing fourth.
The fight for second and third place ended up being waged between Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott and Purvines Racing Honda’s David Pearson. It got a lot closer as they headed out onto the second loop where the top four had trouble finding the reroute so they rode around until they found it, then took off in the order they’d arrived, a great display of sportsmanship.
“From there, that second loop was gnarly,” Abbott exclaimed. “It was unbelievable how much snow there was. Dave and I rode together the whole second loop.”
Both of them would take small spills, which gave the other rider a chance to make a pass. But Abbott was unable to hold onto second due to vision issues--a common lament, especially for the many out-of-staters who weren’t used to riding in snow. “With maybe three miles to go, my goggles just got so bad I could not see,” Abbott explained. “I’m trying to clean [the snow from] them and David just went by me, and I was done--I had to pull them off.”
As a result, Abbott chased in for third place for the fourth consecutive round, a record of consistency matched only by Caselli’s four-straight victories, which moves him farther ahead in series points over second-place Pearson, 136-123. Hannifin made his season debut good for fourth ahead of a vision-impaired Jacob Argubright, who remains fourth in points at 96 behind Abbott’s 109, unofficially. The second half of the season begins in Lucerne Valley, California, in three weeks.
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. David Pearson (Honda CRF450R)
3. Destry Abbott (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. T.J. Hannifin (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Shawn Strong (Kawasaki KX450F)
7. Ryan Abbatoye (KTM 450 SX-F)
8. Clay Davies (Beta 450 RR)
9. Robert Underwood (Kawasaki KX450F)
10. Tuffy Pearson (Honda CRF250X)
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