Brabec Earns First National Hare & Hound Win

Apr. 15, 2014 By Mark Kariya
After his run of third-place finishes at the previous two rounds--which were his best National finishes to date--Ricky Brabec jumped to the top of the podium by winning round four, making his final move late in the race and sealing it with a sprint across the last long valley.

The way Ricky Brabecs been riding lately, you knew it was only a matter of time before he picked up his first victory in the AMA/SRT Hare & Hound National Championship Series. Fifth at the opening round, he then got on the podium for the first time with a third place at round two, matching that at round three.
 
Now, at round four, the THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki rider bypassed second place altogether and jumped all the way to the top, winning the Slim Tesh Memorial Hare & Hound hosted by the So Cal Motorcycle Club after a race-long battle involving him and three others.

Early leader Ivan Ramirez was unable to repeat his round-one win (which, coincidentally, was his first-ever National triumph). Wind blew away a number of course markings, so the lead pack constantly shuffled order, but taking at ATV-only alternate resulted in a penalty for the FMF/KTM rider and he was eventually DQed. KTM is expected to lodge an appeal with the AMA so the results will be unofficial until that is resolved.

Initially, Ivan Ramirez of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team looked like the runner-up, having crossed the finish line a few seconds after Brabec. However, after talking to witnesses, officials penalized him for taking one of the three alternate routes on the 42-mile first loop that was meant for ATVs only. The officials listed him as a DNF, but the FMF/KTM team asked instead for Ramirez to be disqualified, as that would allow them to lodge an appeal with the AMA.
 
The appeal is expected to be filed later today (Monday, April 14) and would make the results unofficial until a decision is reached.

A second straight runner-up finish has moved Jacob Argubright up in points; hes now tied for seventh, unofficially, having given up a lot of ground with the two DNFs he started the season with.

Most felt that Ramirez hadnt intended to gain an unfair advantage and that he simply went the wrong way while in front.
 
Due to high winds blowing course markers away in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside Lucerne Valley, California, following the trail was more difficult than usual, though it did seem to keep the pack closer together. The running order changed regularly as the leader would blow a turn, the next one in line taking a pull up front until he missed a trail.

No ones been more consistently fast this season than Nick Burson who finished on the podium again with a third despite losing two of the six speeds in his tranny early on the second loop.

The first and second loops, it was me, Jake [Argubright], Ivan and Nick Burson all just back and forth all day, Brabec said. It was tough to read the markings because [so many] arrows were blown over.
 
That was even a problem farther back in the pack as well according to eventual 200cc A winner Sam Bangert who finished 16th overall.
 
Max Eddy, Jr., (left) joined Brabec and Ty Renshaw on Saturday morning to conduct a free racing seminar for the kids before their races started. Eddy went on to finish fifth overall in the National, winning Vet A and taking first A overall honors.

The race came down to the last half of the 36-mile-long second loop with Brabec noting, I think it was whoever made a mistake first and thats what it came down to. Ivan got a little squirrelly in the rocks so I went right past him. I came around a corner maybe a mile later and Jake was picking his bike up.
 
That put Brabec in first with a long sprint westward across a valley to the finish, something he felt favored him: The valleys are definitely my thing. Im a little bit bigger. I can hold the bike down a little bit more and I like going fast!

Caitlyn Kurtz charges up a challenging hill en route to overalling the combined Micro Mini (65cc)/Girls race on Saturday. She came back the next day and lined up again older competition and won Women C by 10 minutes.

Ramirez chased him to the finish, only to be penalized. So, that moved everyone behind up a spot, pending the expected KTM appeal. Bel-Ray/FMF/Moose Racing Husqvarna factory rider Argubright came in next to match his runner-up performance in Idaho with Purvines Racing Betas Burson in third, keeping his streak of podium finishes perfect so far this season, despite losing fourth and fifth gears on the second loop.
 
Its awesome! It definitely boosts my confidence, Brabec said of his win. Now I cant wait for the next one and I know the next ones out here as well, but the SCORE race is the day before so Im actually going to shoot just for a podium there. But if I have the chance to pull off another win, Im going to do itgo for it!

Results
1. Ricky Brabec (Kawasaki KX450F)
2. Jacob Argubright (Husqvarna FC 450)
3. Nick Burson (Beta 498 RR)
4. Justin Morrow (Beta 498 RR)
5. Max Eddy, Jr. (Honda CRF450X)
6. Brandon Prieto (KTM 450 XC-F)
7. Skyler Howes (KTM 300 XC)
8. Ryan Smith (Yamaha YZ250)
9. Irving Powers (TM 300 EN)
10. Levii Hutchings (TM 300 EN)

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