Caselli Wins Final Hare & Hound Race, Wins Championship After Appeals

Oct. 29, 2012 By Mark Kariya
Kurt Caselli did exactly what he needed to do by winning the series finale. But he had to wait to see how points leader David Pearson finished before doing any celebrating. As it was, Pearson was penalized five minutes for a pit infraction, effectively handing Caselli the championship, but Caselli loathed to win it that way.

The 2012 AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship was supposed to go down to the ninth and final round, the 100s Motorcycle Club’s National at North Anderson Dry Lake, part of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside of Lucerne Valley, California.
But it may ultimately end up being decided at the AMA offices in Pickerington, Ohio.

Update - AMA sent out a press release regarding the matter at the race. Here's its ruling on the matter:

The results were pending an appeal by David Pearson of Panaca, Nev. Pearson was assessed a five-minute penalty for failure to adhere to rider fueling guidelines. Pearson's appeal has been denied.

With the certification of the results, Kurt Caselli of Palmdale, Calif., is the 2012 AMA Hare & Hound National Champion.
Kurt Caselli of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team turned in another undisputed win--his seventh of the season--to cap off a year of mostly ups.
David Pearson needed to finish second to win the championship, but after his five-minute penalty (pending an appeal with the AMA), he saw the title slip from his grasp.

However, the championship was mostly out of his hands and depended largely on how David Pearson of the THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts team did. He led Caselli in points going into the finale, 188-180, so if Caselli won, Pearson needed to finish second in order to retake the title he first earned in 2007.
After a back-and-forth battle with Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s David Kamo, Pearson crossed the finish line second overall and his camp got ready to celebrate.
Pearson’s penalty lifted Jake Argubright to second for the day, the second time this season he’s claimed it.

Unfortunately, they had to stand by while Pearson was assessed a five-minute penalty for a pit infraction. When he came in to the main pit before loop two while running third behind Caselli and Kamo, Pearson reportedly grabbed his quick-fill can from the hands of his pit crew and continued down pit row, topping off his tank himself before dropping the can at the end of pit row. He passed Kamo for second shortly afterward.
“I pulled an innovative move in the pits; there’s nothing in the rule books against it,” Pearson insisted. “Kamo missed the course anyway [leaving the pit] and I was able to get by him.”
After getting a new suspension spec, David Kamo put in probably his best ride of the season. He ended up in third after bending his brake rotor left him without brakes on the final loop.

The main charge the 100s leveled against Pearson with was not refueling on the BLM-required “enviro” mats, though, as Bob Bell of Precision Concepts pointed out, that requirement was not rigorously and evenly enforced. And besides dropping the can off at the end of pit row (potentially spilling fuel onto the bare desert floor), the club deemed Pearson’s mobile pit hazardous in and of itself.
End result: Caselli successfully defended his series championship, though not as he’d hoped.
“This is bad for me,” Caselli said. “I feel bummed. I would’ve loved to have just a straight-up race—no confrontation, no drama, no nothing—and just be able to call it like it was at the end of the race and say ‘Good job!’ to Dave and shake his hand. But I feel like once again he’s kind of bending the rules. If it’s a championship race, you can’t really be doing that; you kind of have to walk on eggshells, as they say, and I’ve kind of been doing that for the last few races where I know I really have to pay attention.
“It’s a bummer to see a national series come down to a protest for the number-one plate and it definitely takes away from what I feel I’ve done all year. The championship isn’t won—it’s earned. If you run it the right way and you put in the work and just [do] straight-up racing, then so be it. That’s how it should be—the best guy should win.”
Despite an off day and an eighth-place finish, Justin Morrow should maintain third in the final points over teammate Nick Burson, who was fourth on the day.

The controversy overshadowed an otherwise pleasant day in the desert filled with some excellent individual races. Unofficially, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green/Purvines Racing’s Jacob Argubright finished second with Kamo ending up third after bending a brake rotor and losing his brakes. Argubright’s Purvines Racing teammate Nick Burson was fourth, with 250cc A winner Skyler Howes fifth, and Pearson was credited with sixth after his five-minute penalty.

1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. David Kamo (Honda CRF450X)
4. Nicholas Burson (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Skyler Howes (Yamaha YZ250)
6. David Pearson (Kawasaki KX450F)
7. Ivan Ramirez (KTM 450 SX-F)
8. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
9. Nick Thompson (KTM 450 XC-F)
10. Ross Neely (Yamaha YZ450F) Newsletter
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