AMA H&H, Round 3 Ocotillo, Ca.
March 25, 2007
We made the short drive over to El Centro (3 ? hours) Friday and did a little riding before it got dark. On the way over it was raining really hard by the sand dunes. I was pretty excited, because we were only 30 minutes away from the race site! Unfortunately, it stopped raining just before we got there and it was totally dry. Saturday I spent a little time riding the bomb, and then did some play riding with some friends. I?m real happy with the bike, and the way I?m riding so hopefully tomorrow will be a great day!
We showed up for the race early since it was a 9:30 start time. I felt good about my spot, and was prepared the best I could be. When the banner dropped, I had a first kick start and held it wide open. Just after the bomb, I think I was around second or third. The course was a little weird after the bomb and did some small turns in the valley, so I got passed by a few other riders. About the 5-mile mark I was trying to get out of the dust, and then I thought my bike was locking up since it felt like something was wrong. The bike just suddenly slowed down like the rear brake was on and then let go again. I looked back and realized that I had collided with another rider, and then I saw him go crashing hard to the ground. I didn?t find out until after the race that Kellon Walch and I came together, but I never saw him and felt really bad about it. I don?t know how it really happened, but I was lucky not to go down. At this point I was in fifth at the first check, and then made the pass on Kendal. Not too much further I also got by his teammate Quinn. Now I was in third, and could see Russ and David in front of me. The first loop was really fast and we got back to the pits around the 50-mile mark. I was still in third, while David was leading followed by Russ. I knew the second loop was going to run us up in the dunes and some slower sections. The first loop was just way too dusty to try to make some passes. I?m definitely not a big fan on doing 90+ mph in the dust, so I was looking forward to this loop. I made a couple small mistakes on the second loop and lost the course and some time to the leaders, but slowly started to pick it up again. I also had some close calls when the course had a few drop-offs that I didn?t expect. Now halfway into this 40-mile loop, I saw I was getting closer to Russ and David. I was finally back in their dust and then Russ had some sort of problem and stopped. This put me in second, and I knew I really needed to start to push it if I was going to have a shot at the win. I closed in on David a little, but he was riding really well. About 10-miles to go my bike started to make some scary noises and wasn?t running like it should. It turned out that I had a stick go through my radiator and I was losing water. I knew I could push it and try and win, but the bike probably wouldn?t make it. I decided I better back it down, and just get the bike to the finish so I could earn some valuable points. It?s not the best feeling to see the guy in front of you just pulling away and knowing you have to let him go. I barely got the bike to the finish, but at least I still got second and I?m still in the championship race.
I didn?t come here to finish second, but with the way the last part of the race went I?m lucky I salvaged what I did. This series hasn?t gone like I was hoping, but I still feel really good with my bike and riding. I?m hoping my luck changes for the better here soon and I have a good feeling it will!
1st David Pearson
2nd Destry Abbott
3rd Kendall Norman
4th Quinn Cody
5th David Kamo
6th Carl Maassberg
7th Josh Morros (1st 250F)
8th Matt Gosnell
9th Resse Honea
10th Ty Hathaway
After the race Jonny checked to see how much water was left in the bike and realized it was dry. I really don?t think the bike would?ve gone another couple miles. I?m just happy the way everything worked out and that my KX450 got me to the finish.
I really need to thank Jonny for working so hard these last few weeks. We?ve been going wide open with a race every weekend and he?s been doing a great job on the bikes.
This race is a lot different then most National H&H?s. It?s a lot faster and there are a lot of trail riders around so you have to be really careful. It reminds me a lot of racing down in Mexico, where you can?t ride 100% and have to know when to push it. I also had a really tough time reading the terrain this weekend. It was really difficult to see how big some of the whoops or g-outs were. I know I heard a lot of people say the same thing. I?m just happy I kept it on two wheels and I?m leaving here healthy.
This week is going to be really cool! The 2008 KLX intro is going to be going on and all the top magazine guys (and girls) get to check them out (and ride them) for the first time. The bike is going to be awesome and I?m looking forward to riding and racing them here soon. Nathan Woods, Ricky Dietrich (won?t be riding), and myself will be there helping out and doing some riding. Be sure to check out all the articles on it, because I?m sure they?ll love it.
It was also really good to see Stephen Gall, Goat, and Richard show up to help me before the race again. These guys have been helping me out more then I can tell you.
One of the coolest things this weekend was on Saturday. The air force base (and bombing area) is really close to where the race is held. They would fly really close above us and it was one of the coolest things to see. I felt like I was at some sort of air show. The first time they flew over us it scared the crap out of me, since I was cruising along at 70 mph and I had know idea what it was.
Since Ricky is still recovering from his surgery, I?ve been doing a lot of riding with Ryan Clark again. Before he was riding SX all the time, and I wasn?t going to go bust myself up on his tracks. Now it?s really good and with the way he?s riding, I?m sure he?s going to be running some top 10?s when the outdoors come.
My next race is this weekend up in Idaho. It?s the fourth round of the WORCS series.
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