This is a look into the factory hardware piloted by some of the elite racers of the Hare and Hound racing world—Kurt Caselli’s Hare and Hound KTM, David Kamo’s JCR Honda and Team Monster Kawasaki’s Hare and Hound KX450F piloted by Destry Abbott. All of these machines start off as normal production dirt bikes, and under the tutelage of the riders’ needs, the time and diligence of their mechanic and guidance of team managers who constantly think of the big picture, they dominate a world driven by speed and a unique skill of navigating uncharted terrain at speeds that are illegal on all U.S. highways.
TEAM KTM FACTORY 450SXF HARE AND HOUND
RIDER: KURT CASELLI
Machine: KTM 450SXF
Engine: Uses stock gearbox, Pankl rod and piston, stock compression, factory cam timing to produce optimal mid-to-top -end power. The head is ported, the clutch is a manual Rekluse, the fuel is VP T4 and stock radiators carry Evans waterless coolant.
Exhaust: Especially made by FMF specifically for the Hare and Hound motor. The header targets better all-around power and superior top-end power for the long valleys across the desert. The muffler uses a special heavy-pack muffler so that it doesn’t blow all the packing out when it gets ridiculously hot during the races, and to top it off, we run a spark arrestor to comply with BLM and AMA rules.
Gearing: Fourteen-tooth countershaft sprocket and a 49 in the back. For super-fast courses, they go to a 15-46.
Wheels: Stock hubs with Excel A60 rims and stock spokes. This combination is very reliable for the desert and anything else that Kurt wants to conquer.
Tires: Kurt normally runs the Dunlop MX71 with a bib mousse insert both fore and aft. For the back tire, since it is a hardpack tire, they groove some of the side knobs completely off to open the side bite up for the sand along with center knobs for high-speed stability
Bars: Kurt runs Renthal TwinWall 999 bars and the McGrath bend with no crossbar since he uses a GPR stabilizer above the bar. The GPR special makes a top-bar clamp, and we use the KTM hard-parts rubber-mounted bar clamps for the bottom. Kurt is very particular about bar position and lever position.
Fork: WP “aftermarket” kit suspension. The components are made in the WP race department in the Netherlands. The fork is the 48mm “cone valve” fork, which WP uses for WORCS, H&H, Enduro, SX and MX. This damping system gives the rider a more stable feeling than the regular “shim” built damping system.
Shock: WP “TRAX” system shock. When the rear wheel comes up from the ground, a valve inside the shock opens and decreases the rebound damping. When the rear wheel touches the ground, the “normal” rebound damping is activated. Like this, we keep as much traction as possible. The shock is adjustable in low-speed compression damping and 25 clicks, and high-speed compression damping and 45 clicks. The rebound adjuster has a range of 30 clicks.
To change the preload of the spring, WP uses the “XTrig” adjuster, which is easily adjustable with an 8mm T-bar spanner, so no hammers needed here. The biggest change from stock would have to be the “aftermarket” kit suspension that anyone can purchase from WP.
The unusual: Kurt likes as much throttle slop as possible. His mechanic, Anthony Dibasilio, has never met someone that gets as excited as he does when you talk about going fast on a dirt bike. He wants to have a land speed record on a motorcycle someday. That definitely helps him when he is crossing the desert at 100-plus mph.
RIDER: DESTRY ABBOTT
Machine: Kawasaki KX450F
Engine: According to Kawasaki, the new ’12 machine has really helped elevate all aspects of their race machine, including the engine. Special care goes into the fuel-injection, mapping and Akrapovic exhaust, which makes a superb gain from roll-on into the mid-muscle. For the desert, they run a larger countershaft sprocket and rears that range from 46–48.
Fork: The standard fork gets revalved and sprung—both stiffer and more progressive. Destry tends to run a very stiff fork spring and light damping. The GPR stabilizer works well with the fork and enhances the stability of the machine.
Shock: Fox Racing because it has an extremely progressive feel, and it has some more—or additional—adjust ability over the stock shock with the added BOC (or Bottom-Out Control). The coatings and tolerances on the internal components help keep a consistent feel in the shock over long off-road races.
Triple clamps: GPR 24mm offset clamps target improved front-wheel contact, help with stability, and actually offer cornering traits that are more user-friendly than stock.
RIDER: DAVID KAMO
Machine: Honda CRF450X
Exhaust: Pro Circuit Ti-4—durability and performance.
Tires: Dunlop—front, 742FA 80/100×21; rear, 739AT 110/100×18—predictable, reliable and durable.
Foam inserts: Yes, by Dunlop—no flats!
Wheels: Stock CRF450X—durable, lightweight.
Suspension: Pro Circuit mods and valving. More spring and progressive valving setup for high-speed hits and a plush ride over rocks. Stability is number one. Baja setting is similar and a little plusher for roads.
Steering damper: Scotts steering damper is reliable, set up for tracking at high speed through undulating surfaces, and low speed is lightly valved for maneuverability.
Bars: David likes a low bend, 999 Renthal Twin Wall, no crossbar for less fatigue and bump impact.
Tank: IMS 3.2-gallon dry break ready for quick fuel stops, translucent color to check fuel level easier.
Chainguide: BRP—impact resistant, also beefed-up guide mounts by Race Co fabrication.
Chain: DID ERV3 X-ring for maximum durability and less friction.
Graphics: Dirt Digits—JCR replica. Available from DirtDigits.com
Footpegs: IMS Pro series, big foot.
Sprockets: Renthal lightweight 14T CS, and 49 or 50T rear aluminum.
Clutch cover: Hinson billet cover, Durability against impacts, added oil capacity.
Skid plate: E-Line carbon. Max durability for rock impacts in Hare and Hound environment.
Brake: Stock pads and disc for maximum durability and performance.
Oils and lubricants: Lucas Oil products.
Air filter: Stock with backfire screen.
Grips: AME full-waffle.
Clutch perch/lever: Works Connection, Elite. Durability and performance for quick adjustments at speed.