B.I.T.D. Laughlin Hare Scramble
Last year Nathan Woods and I won this race, and I have to say I was pretty excited. This was one of those races I’ve always come up a little bit short on and would finish second or further back (there’s always been a little curse on me at this race). Nathan and I were really looking forward to this year’s race, unfortunately he broke his hand last week and that put a little damper on things. So I made a call to Matt Karlsen to see if he would be able to do it. He didn?t have much notice, but he was still able to fly out Thursday and test the race bike with me right before the race. The course is going to have three big loops, but the course comes back to the pits in the middle of each loop. The first half of the loop is going to be 22-miles, then the second part is going to be 20-miles (a little more technical). Most of the teams were just going to have one rider ride each section three times, but I think I?ll ride four sections and have Matt ride two. I?ve been feeling really good and I?m pretty sure I?m up for it.
We all woke up nice and early for the 7:30 start. I was the fifth rider off, with thirty-second intervals in between each pro rider. It was probably in the high 40?s and it?s hard to get going right off the start when it?s that cold. About 4-miles out, I got around the Truelove team and not to much further I caught Jonny Campbell (who was soloing the race). David Pearson / Matt Gosnell started first with Kendall Norman / Robby Bell starting second. I didn?t think I would catch them on the first loop, but towards the end of the first 22-miles I caught Robby and passed him then got right behind Matt coming into the pit. Most of the guys switched riders, but I just took a quick splash and was off. Now I was in the lead physically, but Nick Pearson put in a really great first loop and our team was pretty much tied with theirs leaving the pits (on adjusted time since they started 30-seconds back from me). The second part of the first loop wasn?t near as fun as the first section. This really had a lot of virgin terrain and it was hard to try to put time on Kendall and Russ. Somewhere around the 10-mile marker Russ was trying to make the pass, but our lines came together and we collided. We hit pretty hard and he went down and I went flying off the hill I was going up, but I was able to keep it on two wheels. I went off the trail. and had to make a U-turn at the bottom so I could try get up the hill again. I know it was an accident, and it was just one of those fluke things when we hit. Kendall was able to get back by both of us to take the physical lead again. The three of us stayed really close all the way into the pits. This time we were running second on time, about 15-seconds back from Russ’s team. We were still beating the Honda team since they started 1:30 ahead of us. Now Matt got on the bike here and put in a good ride, but got passed by Nick and lost a little time. When I got back on the bike for the second part, of the second lap, we were in third physically (still second on time). I was about 50-seconds behind Kendall leaving the pits, and a little over a minute to Russ (I think). I pushed it really hard, and a little past halfway I was able to catch Kendall and make the pass. I kept pushing it, but never was able to see Russ before I gave the bike back to Matt. Now Matt was on his last section and put in a great ride. He brought the bike to me in first, but I know Russ?s team had to make a long pit stop to change some brake pads. Now I just had 20-miles to go and I knew I could do it. Things were going really good until I jumped into this big drop off, but I swapped a little bit before it and went sideways. I hit the other side so hard, I hit my face on the bar pad and went flying off the bike. When I hit the bank it was pretty much an instant stop, since my bike was pretty sideways. I knew it was a really bad crash, because I was pretty confused as to what was going on. I had a couple guys I lapped stop by and make sure I was ok. I finally went and picked up the bike, but my mouth was bleeding really bad (pretty much just running out of my mouth). I knew we were still leading the race and I had to get going. When I took off my whole front brake lever was gone (dejavu from a few weeks ago). I was riding, but it was really slow. I felt a little out of it, and was having a tough time focusing. Then David Pearson came up on me and he went by. I knew if I could stay within two minutes of him we would have a good shot at winning. We probably had 8-miles to the finish and I was doing everything I could to keep up. Then I looked back and saw Russ about 25-seconds back. Now I really had to pick it up and put some time on him to win this thing. I actually started to make up some time on David, since he was having a tough time getting around two lappers. By the time we made it to the finish I was about 20-seconds behind David, but I was still worried about how far Russ was. Well, he finished 24-seconds behind me and that means they beat us by 6-seconds for the overall. It was a wild day and it definitely didn?t turn out like I was hoping, but Matt really put in a great ride and I felt good all day besides the one mistake.
The race was almost perfect except for my big crash at the end. I really don?t know what to say, since I?ve been feeling really good. I just made one mistake and it probably cost us the win. I?m still going to keep working hard and I know my luck will change sooner then later (I hope so!). It’s hard not to get a little frustrated with the way some things have gone this year, but I know that would just make things worse.
1st Russ Pearson / Nick Pearson (Yam)
2nd Destry Abbott / Matt Karlsen (6-seconds back) (Kaw)
3rd David Pearson / Matt Gosnell (KTM)
4th Kendall Norman / Robby Bell (Hon)
5th Josh Morros / Jamie Lanza (Kaw) 1st in class
My crash wasn?t a really hard one besides me hitting my head on the bars (at least I think that?s what happened). It’s been a long time since I’ve knocked myself silly and it’s really a weird feeling. I?d like to thank the couple of guys that stopped to ask if I was ok. I broke my helmet really bad and it has two really big cracks on each side. I also bit through my lip and was told I might need stitches, but I just used super glue and called it good. I think the worst part was the fact I hit my head pretty hard. I didn?t lose consciousness, but I know I?m a little on the loopy side.
I need to give a huge thanks to the guys at Shoei (by the way I need another helmet) and GPR for building an under the bar stabilizer. If it wasn?t for the Renthal bar pad, I?m sure I would?ve been out cold (like I was at the Nevada 2000).
Thanks to Matt Karlsen for teaming up with me. I called him last minute and he was all good with it. Matt?s a great friend and a great riders so I was pretty happy he was able to fly out. He really rode awesome for not spending any time in the desert.
Another rider that will be missed from the Kawasaki tent is Ricky Dietrich. He had surgery last week and should be back to racing within three months. I’m really looking forward to him getting healthy again since he’s my training partner.
Kawasaki was the main sponsors for this weekends race. They’ve been the sponsor for a long time and I really wanted to win it again for them. Luckily this isn’t a points event for anything and it’s more about having fun, but I still like to win no matter what. Someone asked me after the race if the Kawasaki guys were mad, but they’re always really good about however we do. I can tell you I’m way harder on myself then anyone ever could be on me. Hopefully next year we can get back on top of the podium.
As you can tell right now I?m the lonely soldier under the Kawasaki semi. Hopefully Nathan will be able to race the Havasu WORCS race in two weeks, but I think he’ll be back for the following WORCS race (in Idaho).
It was great to see a lot of guys I know come up from Arizona to race. My dad (Boyd) raced with Jene Brown and Rob Beggs. They were in the 50+ expert class and finished 3rd. Rick Dietrich?s mechanic Gary Sutherlin rode awesome and won the iron-man expert class. Gary?s been running my www.destryabbott.com stickers on his bike and helmet so I?m sure that helped. He’s also a great guy to ride with back home. Great job to all the AZ boys!
It’s been really good to see Brenden Ritzman at a lot of the races lately. I know he came and helped out Josh Morros and Jamie Lanza. He also prepped some goggles for me in between my sections.
I have this next week off, which is perfect. Then the following week I?ll be in Lake Havasu for the WORCS race. That?s one of the toughest races of the year, so I need to bake sure I?m 100% before then. David Pingree will be racing one of my race bikes there and doing a test on it too. If you can make it to the race, I guarantee you?ll love it.
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