Caselli Returns from Injury to Win AMA Hare and Hound Round 7
Following his injury-induced absence from rounds five and six, FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team’s Kurt Caselli returned to the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series with just one thing in mind: win, baby.
After all, THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts racer David Pearson had taken advantage of Caselli’s status to take the series points lead heading into the summer break, building up a 22-point lead over the defending series champ. If Caselli was going to make it two titles in a row, he’d have to win the final three rounds and hope Pearson--the 2007 champion--finished third or worse in a couple of them.
Other 2012 Hare and Hound Races
Round 6: Pearson Earns Victory
Round 4: Caselli Takes Fourth Straight Win
So, Caselli went to work and went back to his winning ways by taking the inaugural Muley Run 100 in Panaca, Nevada, hosted by the Silver State Trail Blazers Motorcycle Club and THR Motorsports. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green/Purvines Racing’s Jacob Argubright, the round five winner, took second with Pearson settling for third after a mediocre start.
“I think the race… was really important for me, anyway--probably one of the most important races thus far this year, just because the way the points are in the championship and how Pearson’s leading and how that was his hometown race,” Caselli said. “If there’s any hope of me getting the championship, I need to win the last three for sure and finish ahead of Pearson a couple spots, at least.”
But once the banner dropped and the first wave raced toward through the virgin sage-covered bomb run to the orange smoke bomb, Caselli left the others in his dust, of which there were plenty.
“Sometimes, it’s a gamble to be up front, trying to read the terrain and also trying to find the trail,” Caselli continued, “but the club did an awesome job marking it and I had no problem finding the arrows and finding the course.
“Once I got out front, I was really patient. I knew that it was dusty and I didn’t really have to push too hard that first loop. I was just trying to ride smart and not blow any corners and get used to the way they marked the corners, the turns and dangers and everything.”
Behind him, local favorite Pearson tried to come back from a start that left him dealing with plenty of dust. Even when he worked into third place, ground was hard to come by. “Man, I caught up to Jake a couple times--maybe within 50 yards of him--[but] the dust was way too thick; I couldn’t make the gap up to get by him,” Pearson said.
After getting into second right away, Argubright spent most of the race by himself, occasionally catching glimpses of Caselli but unable to close the gap substantially and not feeling pressure from Pearson. It was his fourth consecutive podium.
Utah’s T.J. Hannifin rode another solid race for fourth place on his Pro Cycle Racing KX450F and headed a tight freight train of riders at the finish. He was just 10 seconds ahead of Purvines Racing Kawasaki’s Justin Morrow, who in turn was four seconds ahead of his teammate Nick Burson.
Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s David Kamo recovered after landing on Burson’s rear wheel on the bomb run with his front wheel. Luckily, neither fell, but Kamo wobbled around so much (his hand coming off the handlebar and landing on the front fender!) that he lost a lot of ground early and, like Burson, spent the entire race fighting through walls of dust for his final position (seventh).
Nick Thompson took his Cafe Rio KTM to eighth overall followed by 250cc A winner Axel Pearson of the Purvines Racing Kawasaki team and 250cc A runner-up Skyler Howes.
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. David Pearson (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. T.J. Hannifin (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Nicholas Burson (Kawasaki KX450F)
7 David Kamo (Honda CRF450X)
8. Nick Thompson (KTM 350 XC-F)
9. Axel Pearson (Kawasaki KX250F)
10. Skyler Howes (Yamaha YZ250)