Caselli Wins AMA Hare & Hound, Round 2
Three days after DNFing the extreme enduro-style event King of the Motos, Kurt Caselli of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team bounced back to annihilate the field at round two of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series, the 62nd Annual Moose Run hosted by the Four Aces Motorcycle Club.
After passing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott a few miles into the race, Caselli enjoyed clear air the rest of the way at the Spangler Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area near Ridgecrest, California, besting runner-up THR Motorsports’ David Pearson by nearly seven minutes with Abbott hanging on to claim third despite crashing late in the race and losing radiator coolant.
“King of the Motos was just an extreme Hare & Hound, I guess,” Caselli said. “Obviously, I feel a little tired. I had a day, a day and a half to get ready for [the National], but it was so cool; I’m glad I got to do that.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, several of the National competitors had also competed at King of the Motos east of Lucerne Valley, not far from round one, but of the six official KOM finishers, only Abbott was a regular in desert racing. He finished third at King. Unlike his crash-filled start at the King race, his start at the Moose Run turned out far better and saw him lead at the bomb and for a couple miles thereafter.
But Caselli slid past the bomb just behind Abbott and pounced when the five-time series champ checked up for a road crossing. “I was able to leave the gas on and get by him,” Caselli explained. After that, he was gone.
“I grew up riding out here at Red Mountain. I like it--I like it a lot,” he said. “It’s rough and rocky, and it’s more like a moto pace--I feel like you’ve got to be more aggressive.”
Abbott maintained second place for quite a while, even when he had to stop at the main pit to do a quick brake bleed. But when he got lost momentarily on the second loop, Pearson shot past. Abbott gave chase, but a big crash left him with a broken, leaking radiator so he limped it in for third.
As for Pearson, a mediocre start left him playing catch-up for most of the race. “I think I was about 10th or 12th going through the bomb, then I started trying to pick my way through the pack,” he explained. “It was really dusty; the first lap, you couldn’t really pass.”
Purvines Racing Kawasaki’s Nick Burson put in his best ride at a National in quite a while. Third at the bomb, he would settle for fourth, about a minute and a half behind Abbott with teammate Justin Morrow another couple minutes back in fifth place.
Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Timmy Weigand placed sixth in his Hare & Hound debut followed by Brady Elton (in only his second National), GNCC and OMA regular Jimmy Jarrett (who raced the same bike at both KOM and the Moose Run), Max Eddy and Jeff Trulove.
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. David Pearson (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. Destry Abbott (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Nick Burson (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Timmy Weigand (Honda CRF450X)
7. Brady Elton (KTM 300 XC)
8. Jimmy Jarrett (Honda CRF450R)
9. Max Eddy, Jr. (Honda CRF450X)
10. Jeff Trulove (Kawasaki KX450F)