Argubright Wins, Caselli Honored at Hare & Hound Finale

Nov. 25, 2013 By Mark Kariya
Heíd lead, get passed, re-pass, then lead again. It wasnít until the last 15-mile loop that Jacob Argubright made the final pass for the lead stick, winning for the second time this year and sewing up second in points.

The AMA Racing/FMF/GPR Hare & Hound National Championship Series came to an end in a mix of emotions. First of all, everyone still felt the loss of Kurt Caselli who died after crashing in the Baja 1000 the week before. Second, many took it as a sign that Caselli may have had something to do with the storms leading up to the race in the North Anderson Dry Lake area of the Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle Area, because rarely is the popular Lucerne Valley riding spot in such prime, dust-free condition.

While Caselli had clinched his third straight series championship at the previous round and the rest of the positions in the Pro division were basically set, a number of other class championships were on the line. Still, the Pros went at it hard with the top four hammering at each other the entire race, the final spots being decided on the third and final 15-mile loop after lots of dicing on the first two loops of 40 and 35 miles.

Holeshot winner Nick Burson finished a season-best second to claim third in final points.

At the finish, Off Road Support/Kawasaki of Simi Valleyís Jacob Argubright celebrated his second win of the year after battling with the Purvines Racing Beta horde of eventual runner-up Nick Burson, third-place Justin Morrow and fourth-place Axel Pearson. All of the top four led at different points during the tight race.
 
This was a typical scene and indicative of how close the racing was at the front. Justin Morrow leads Argubright going out onto the third loop, though he later smashed his rear brake pedal into uselessness and settled for third.

Burson led at the bomb after putting his familiarity with the area to good use. ďLuckily for me, the [AMA] District [37] race [here] about two months ago had that same exact bomb so I already had a line [picked out],Ē he confessed.
 
It didnít last long, though, as Argubright passed him not long after with a better line through a wash.

MORE HARE & HOUND
Caselli Earns Hare & Hound Championship

Argubright Stops Caselli Win Streak

Caselli Earns Win, Ramirez Finishes Second at Hare & Hound

Irving Powers didnít have his best day of the season, but he still won Open A for the day as well as the season while finishing 14th overall for the day.
 
What followed was the best racing in recent memory. Instead of two guys going at it, four took turns passing and re-passing while enjoying rare dust-free visibility and cool temperatures. Morrow said, ďMe and Jacob had a lot of fun out there, actually. We were going back and forth, and I was following him for a while. We got lost a couple times and Iím like, ĎIt kind of sucks to follow you!í because I wasnít paying attention to the ribbon.Ē
 
A bent brake pedal on the final loop forced him to back off, letting Argubright and Burson go by with Pearson 43 seconds back in fourth after stopping to pull some cactus out of his arm; it was still Pearsonís best National finish to date.

Part of the Amateur line funnels down over the first rise past the bomb on a near-perfect day for racing.
 
Afterwards, Argubright reflected on his year: ďI actually am happy with it because I got two wins instead of one so itís improvement. But Iíve also had some bad races. But overall I canít be too disappointed; I got second to Kurt.Ē

Kurt Caselliís mechanic, Anthony DiBasilio, took the Caselli machine out for the tribute lap on Saturday, joined by hundreds of friends and other well-wishers.

Blais Racing KTMís Skyler Howes lost touch with the lead pack and settled for fifth place. Ryan Smth, 250cc A winner Levii Hutchings, 250cc A runner-up Austin Keys, Robert Underwood and 250cc A Kevin Barbosa rounded out the top 10.

Taylor Phillip not only won the final Girls race, she overalled the combined Girls/65cc event. In final series points, she ended up third behind Caitlyn Kurtz and Rachel Stout (second and third on the day, respectively).
 
Results
1. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
2. Nick Burson (Beta 498 RR)
3. Justin Morrow (Beta 498 RR)
4. Axel Pearson (Beta 300 RR)
5. Skyler Howes (KTM 300 XC)
6. Ryan Smith (Yamaha YZ250)
7. Levii Hutchings (KTM 250 XC)
8. Austin Keys (Husaberg TE 250)
9. Robert Underwood (KTM 450 SX-F)
10. Kevin Barbosa (KTM 250 XC)

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