Caselli Earns Win, Ramirez Finishes Second at Hare & Hound
KTM enjoyed a banner weekend around the world over the weekend with FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team’s Kurt Caselli and Ivan Ramirez adding to the orange crew’s haul of gold by going 1-2 at round seven of the AMA Racing/FMF/GPR Hare & Hound National Championship Series.
Though it took place at the Little Sahara Recreation Area outside of Jericho, Utah, the 53rd Annual Cherry Creek National hosted by the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club was, in fact, different from round six in the same area two weeks ago. The Sugarloafers base their race farther west--close to the race’s namesake stream--and use different trails.
The bomb run, for instance, was a short affair through heavy sage brush and funneled the field between a pair of FMF banners. While Ramirez led as they approached, Western Design Racing TM’s Tuffy Pearson had momentum and a great line which carried him flying into the lead.
Untunately for Pearson, his final National before he goes on a two-year church mission ended early when the engine on his 300 MX expired after about 20 miles in front.
Ramirez took over at that point and spent most of the race out front. Unlike the previous round when he took a wrong turn out of the pits, losing the lead and the race, Ramirez didn’t put a wheel wrong.
“This time I paid more attention and the signs were bigger and I took my time [to read them],” he explained. “I wasn’t that nervous [being in front]. Last time, I didn’t pay attention and I learned.”
After the 40-mile mostly fast (and sometimes very dusty) first loop, Ramirez came into the pits with a 30-second lead over Caselli, while Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson was a further 50 seconds back.
Ramirez continued to ride well through the tighter 30-mile second loop farther up in the juniper-covered hills where dust wasn’t quite as bad, but that allowed Caselli to close the gap, finishing the loop just seven seconds back. Burson found himself getting sick and backed off the pace, though he was still almost two minutes ahead of Off-Road Support/Kawasaki of Simi Valley’s Jacob Argubright who’d had a horrible start.
But Caselli knew he still had the 42-mile third loop to make his move and early on that one he did. “Usually, you’ve got a lot more time on the second loop--and if we have a third loop--to really catch people,” he said. “The first loop was pretty fast and pretty dangerous so I just rode my own race. Tuffy ended up blowing his bike up, which was a bummer.
“Ivan took over the lead and he was out front for pretty much the whole first and second loop. He’s definitely making a lot of progress.”
From that point, Caselli motored steadily away, finishing 2:17 in front of his teammate. Burson hung on for third place for the third-consecutive round, cutting a few points out of fourth-place finisher Argubright’s lead as they vie for second in points behind Caselli.
Levi Hutchings won 250cc A for the second time this season, placing a best-to-date fifth overall. Coupled with Nic Garvin’s DNF due to a crash, Hutchings now leads the class in points, unofficially.
Open A winner Irving Powers, Open A runner-up Tallon Taylor, Vet A winner Dan Capparelli and Open A riders Taran Taylor (not related to Tallon) and James Rhodes rounded out the top 10 overall.
The series now takes a short break before resuming in July at a new venue where it’ll share the spotlight with an HDRA race that’ll count towards the World Championship of Desert Racing standings.
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 XC-F)
2. Ivan Ramirez (KTM 450 XC-F)
3. Nick Burson (Beta 498 RR)
4. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Levi Hutchings (KTM 250 XC)
6. Irving Powers (KTM 450 SX-F)
7. Tallon Taylor (Beta 498 RR)
8. Dan Capparelli (Beta 498 RR)
9. Taran Taylor (Kawasaki KX450F)
10. James Rhodes (Honda CRF450R)