2023 KEYSTONE CHALLENGE: SHOTGUN HARD SCRAMBLE

Shotgun Hard Scramble

After a full night of fixing bikes and resting, the Shotgun Hard Scramble took place 30 minutes down the road in Sugarloaf. This race, hosted by Mike Soudas and the High Mountain Dirt Riders, was new to the scene last year and quickly became a formidable challenge amongst the pros and amateurs. Since this was day three of the Keystone Challenge, the HMDR club decided to simplify their format from last year and just host a two lap hard scramble. This 16 mile course ramped up in difficulty as it went on, traversing up steep rock gardens and dropping into fern-covered creeks. Some of the sections like Stairway, Tombstone, and Green Acres took the riders through a variety of terrain throughout this 4000 acre property. The terrain was relentless and was tough on the bikes and bodies, as rock littered the entire course.

 

Hart gained an early lead on Webb, while a charging LeBlond and Walker put pressure up front. As the race went on, Hart continued to push ahead of the lead pack and finished his first lap in approximately 90 minutes. LeBlond and Webb were only a minute behind Hart after lap one, while Walked was a few minutes back. On lap two, the course split off on more difficult sections and the pros had to work through the amateurs still making it through lap one. Hart ran finished his second lap only a minute longer than the first, winning the Shotgun Hard Scramble and Keystone Challenge. LeBlond pulled ahead of Webb and finished in second, and Webb came in third. Walker finished in fourth, and Riordan finished in fifth.

 

Sandra Gomez finished a lap and won the Pro Women’s class, with Rachel Gutish and Hallie Marks rounding off the podium again. Out of the 270+ racers, only 12 finished both laps in the allotted time. Everyone seemed pretty tired and depleted out of energy after the third day of racing, which was a sense of accomplishment for many as they tested their limits. For the AMA East Hard Enduro Championships, Presented by IRC Tire, Trystan Hart ended up winning the

Pro Class, where Hallie Marks won the Pro Women’s class. The amateur champions were also awarded their AMA Championship plates.

The AMA USHE Series continues on May 23-24 at the Silver Kings Hard Enduro in Kellogg, Idaho. This big mountain race at the Silver Mountain Ski Resort has sold out at 500 entries, and will be an epic event for both racers and spectators. This race will wrap up the IRC US Hard Enduro Series, Presented by Klim Premier Championship, as well as be the final round of the AMA West Hard Enduro Series, Presented by Beta USA.

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