October 22, 2006

Race Day
This was one of those races that?s been top priority, since May, after the second to last Hare and Hound race. After that, we had a big break in the schedule so I knew I would have to stay focused if I wanted a chance at winning the Championship. Today it came down to Russ Pearson and I. We were basically tied in points, and whoever beat the other guy would be the 2006 H&H Champion (no pressure there). I?ve actually been feeling really good and was looking forward to finally racing my 2007 KX450. The last few weeks, I?ve been practicing on it and was amazed at how good it was stock.

Now to the race! It was a dusty race and I knew the start was going to be really important. When the banner fell, I had a first kick start and was holding it wide open all the way into fifth gear (I can now say that this year). I saw Kendall Norman and I were starting to come close and he had a little edge on me, but when our lines met he took a trail to the right and mine was a little to the left. I thought I was going to get dusted out, but it worked out really well. At the 2-mile mark we made it to the end of the bomb and I was leading, but Russ was just a little ways to the left of me and made a good pass. I stayed right on him, and was going to try everything I could not to let him get away. About a ? mile later, we dropped into this sand wash and I went a little wide while he was hitting some big whoops. I was able to make the pass and get back into the lead.
From this point on, the first loop was pretty fun. It had a little more fast stuff then I would like, but it was marked really well and that?s huge when you?re leading the race. Every time I looked back, I could see Russ right there. He had me on my toes all the way to the first pit (40-miles in). Kendall Norman was right with us too; in third place. When I left the pits, Russ was about 5 to 10 seconds back. Going out on the second loop (52-miles of tighter stuff) I knew this was going to be where the race was going to be won or lost. I had some sections I would put a little time on him, but then the next thing I know he?s right behind me again. I had a couple dumb mistakes (stalled it once and slid out once), but I was still able to keep the lead.
Right before the alternate pit, I had a really close call and hit a Yucca tree. I saved it, but smashed my bike up pretty good. The bike started to leak fluid from the radiator, but I didn?t know this at the time. Then around the 38-mile mark, on the second loop, we had an alternate gas. I stopped for a quick splash and was off. I knew we didn?t have that long to go, but I just wanted this race to hurry up and finish. With about 5-miles to go, I had around 25-seconds on Russ going into a valley section to the finish. I could feel the bike getting a little slower, but didn?t think much of it and kept it wide open. Next thing I know I?m coming into the last hill, by the finish, and all I could see were 100?s of spectators. At this point, I knew I had it and threw my fist in the air while the spectators were cheering me on. It was one of my greatest moments in racing and I?ll never forget it. When I got to the finish I gave everyone around me huge hugs and was more excited then words can say. I looked back to see when Russ was coming, but I heard he had some bike problems about a mile or two before the finish.
A few minutes later Kendall Norman showed up, and seemed to be pretty pumped about his second place finish. It was really a great day of racing, since both of us were running one and two for most of the race. Russ is one of those guys I enjoy racing with. I know he?s going to ride a clean race and not try to take any of us out. I?m sure Russ is going to be working hard, along with all the other guys, to take the #1 plate away from me. I?ll be sure to do my best not to let that happen.

Results (Overall):
1st Destry Abbott
2nd Kendall Norman
3rd Carl Maassberg
4th David Kamo
5th Matt Gosnell
6th Mike Childress
7th Quinn Cody
8th Steve Hengeveld

Other Notes:
This was my 4th overall AMA H&H Championship. My goal it to break the record of Danny Hamel and Dan Smith?s titles (two of my H&H hero?s).
I was telling you earlier about my close call with 20-miles left (and hitting the tree). By the time I got to the finish, I really didn?t have any fluid in the radiator and was super lucky to finish and win the race. I can?t believe the bike held up that well with barely any fluid in it. The new ?07 is really going to be a great bike next year!
When I was coming up the last little hill, before the finish, I can?t tell you how great it felt. I?ve been working really hard and after that it was all worth it. It was one of the greatest feelings in a long time and I had to just soak it all in. Thanks to everyone that was there cheering all of us on. It was one of the biggest H&H spectator turnouts I?ve seen.
Earlier in the week, I came over with Jonny to do a photo shoot with Bill from SIDI (Motonation). They?ll be running a two page add in some of the major magazines here soon.
The 100?s Club put on a great National event! The first loop was a little faster then I would?ve liked, but the second loop was a lot of fun. The great thing about these guys is the fact that they mark the race really well. That?s a huge plus when you?re leading a race. The club also did a really cool awards podium for the top three and to hand out the new AMA #1 plate. I was lucky enough to spray Champaign on the trophy girls.
One of my big highlights of the week was going to Craig Morgan?s concert. I know he?s a big country singer, but he?s also a huge motorcycle rider and races some Hare Scrambles with his son (back in Tennessee). Jason Smigel hooked us up with tickets, so Jonny and I went. We both had a great time and I didn?t realize he sang a lot of songs I knew and really liked (my wife is a big fan too). After the concert we went back to his bus and hung out with him for a while (past midnight). This guy is super cool and hooked me up with some great things. He races Kawasaki?s and now I?m trying to get him to come to Arizona and do some riding (I?m pretty sure we can make it happen). I would recommend supporting him, since he really tries to do a lot to support our sport (and he does).
I couldn?t believe all the people that showed up to the race to support us (and Kawasaki). It was really awesome to have a lot of great people behind me. Some of the sponsors that were represented were Pro Circuit, GPR, Thor, BRP, to just name a few.
The guys from Pro Circuit made some really cool Championship T-shirts and hats that they gave away at the finish. James, from Thor, was there with a race jersey with a nice, big #1 (and Abbott) on the back of it. It was really cool!
Joey and Meredith Lanza were there with their baby Destry. This was the first time I got to see him and boy is he cute. No wonder they called him Destry.
My next race will be in two weeks, at the last round of the WORCS series, in Mesquite, Nevada.
They had a WORCS race in Pismo Beach, Ca. today, but I decided it would be smarter to race the H&H. I heard it was a huge turnout! The top five were Nathan Woods, Kurt Caselli, Bobby Garrison, Jimmy Albertson, and Ricky Dietrich. With one round left it?s on the line for Ricky and Bobby for the title. It should be good!

Best Wishes,
2006 Sponsors:
Kawasaki, Dunlop, Scott goggles, Thor, Pro Circuit, Kawasaki Accessories, SIDI, GPR, Acerbis, CTI2, Jonre, BRP, Motion Pro, Works Connection, Hinson, Hoy Fox Toyota, American Racing Wheels, Renthal, Pro Clean 1000, DP pads, UNI, Wiseco, Twisten Wrenches, Cyto Sport, Red Baron, Trick, Zip-Ty, RK/Excel, N-Style, Shoei, Maxima, IMS, Top Speed, ZLT, Bent, Steahly, and Tire Balls.


Comments are closed.