AMA Racing Kenda National Hare & Hound Round 2
Kurt Caselli had a great week planned: leave LAX on Monday morning, fly to Argentina, spend the week there and race probably the largest off-road event in South America on Sunday.
But first, he had a little unfinished business to attend to, namely round two of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series. So, to get to his working vacation as quickly as possible, Caselli went out and destroyed the field at the Moose Run, hosted by the Four Aces Motorcycle Club at the Spangler Hills Off-Road Vehicle Area outside of Ridgecrest, California.
In doing so, he got revenge for having the victory at round one stolen by a mechanical issue about a mile from the finish, literally pushing his dead machine to earn fifth after leading practically the entire race up to then.
The Moose Run was more of the same but with a sweeter outcome for the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team star. He grabbed the lead early aboard his 450 SX-F and simply motored away, winning by a good seven minutes over round one winner David Pearson and round one runner-up Destry Abbott.
“After the first round, I had a lot better idea of where I wanted to go as far as suspension--compression and stuff,” Caselli revealed. “We softened it up is what we ended up doing--we made it a lot softer [and] it actually worked a lot better today so I was happy about that. We’re making some steps forward.”
Honda-mounted Kendall Norman and Pearson got the best jumps off the line, with defending series champ Norman leading after the bomb. But it wasn’t to be for the Johnny Campbell Racing Honda pilot and he surrendered his lead when he crashed in the early going, though unlike round one he was able to gather himself together and continue.
“I had a pretty good swap-out [in some whoops about 15 miles out],” Norman reported. “It wasn’t one of those days when everything was working for me.” He would finish fourth--much better than the DNF at round one.
Purvines Racing Honda’s Pearson assumed the second-place spot, but he wasn’t quite 100 percent after injuring a shoulder and ribs while playing racquetball after winning round one.
“Everybody has excuses on why they didn’t win or whatever,” he said, “but I felt good for what it was.” Despite a top-gear get-off, Pearson managed to keep second for much of the race. “I still have the points lead so it could be a lot worse.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Abbott got another mediocre start and had to play catch-up just as he’d done at the first round, this time ending up third for the day.
“I really felt good,” he said. “This place, it’s just hard to pass [here]--it’s so dense and stuff. It’s frustrating because I felt I should at least have had a second today, but that’s racing.”
“It’s still a long year,” Caselli pointed out. “[Winning the championship] is going to be a consistency thing, I think. All of us are riding really well, the top five guys are all able to win so it’s going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes, I think.”
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. David Pearson (Honda CRF450X)
3. Destry Abbott (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Kendall Norman (Honda CRF450X)
5. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Carl Maassbert (Honda CRF450X)
7. Colton Udall (Honda CRF450X)
8. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
9. Quinn Cody (Honda CRF450X)
10. Robert Underwood (Kawasaki KX450F)