Race Report – Russell Pearson -AMA H&H

Race Report – Russell Pearson -AMA H&H

Good morning everyone,

This past weekend marked the 4th round of the AMA National Hare and Hound series and this round we headed up to Jericho, UT which is about an hour or so southwest of Salt Lake City. I had done some testing in between the last round and this and had made a couple minor changes and was really looking forward to this round. We got up there Friday morning and talked to the club and found out like loop mileages and just race info. They said the start was open for riding Saturday morning before the race, but if we felt up to it, we could walk from the pits to the start and check it out. So, put on the walking shoes and we elected to walk over a mile just to get to the start to look at it. It was one almost identical to one we did a couple years back. We scouted around and found something off to the left which seemed good instead of up the middle like we had done years ago. Got ‘er all dialed in and back walking back to the pits. Now, time to get my bike all dialed in. I went out and the small changes I had made in suspension and jetting felt really good. So after bleeding brakes and the final little preperation things, we signed up and our dad and some of our younger brothers and sisters had shown up. Axel, my younger brother, was racing his little Yamaha TTR 125 in the mini race. Well, back to town for dinner and showers and shut eye.

Up before daylight and out to the race. It looked like it was going to be a nice day with a few small clouds and a bit of a breeze. We got there and Axel raced in the morning. He did really good and ended up like 10th overall. Good job Axel! They finally let us go ride our start and I had pretty much already known where I was headed. My line seemed really good. I had to pull some sagebrush and dig down a few little bumps, but I was happy. Nick grabbed my starting stand and we went to the side a little and practiced our starts and what technique was going to be the best. We had it down and were confident. So, after a peanut butter and honey sandwich and the rider’s meeting, time for ‘Race Time.’ After a bit the banner was up and all bikes silent. Drops and Braaaaa, my Yamaha 450 fired perfectly and I jumped everyone around me, Yeee haaa. I got to my line and pinned it. I came through the banners at the end and was first, Cooool, right where I wanted to be. Well, we went through some sand and grass and sagebrush off the beginning and I knew it was going to be a battle with very little dust. I was searching for ribbon and arrows with my eyes while pinning it with my wrist. I had talked to the club and they said after 5 miles we were crossing the main road again, so, I knew the course was going to loop back to the left. The club also said about 2 miles out there was 2 arrows we had to go between where the course did like a 90 degree turn and started heading left. Well, I spotted the 2 arrows and set up the turn and I started lining up the ribbons so I could make a straight shot through the sagebrush. Got ’em lined up and made the turn and as I was going through the arrows, I started rolling the throttle on and WAAAMMMMMM. Crash, bang, bang, tumble. Now I am hurting something bad and pinned under a red bike. What the bleep just happened. I am like pinned under his bike and his pipe is like burning me and he comes over and picks his bike up and pins it away. I am not going to mention the rider’s name but, just want to take a second and remind everyone that I know how excited we can all get when racing, but it’s important that we always observe offroad racing etiquette(actually, just human decency), ‘Look out for your fellow rider if he or she is down, even if it’s not your fault,’ because often all we have is each other in the middle of the desert or woods or wherever you ride. Meanwhile I am on the ground trying to figure out what the heck. I get up and get to my bike and it is mangled pretty good. The clutch is broken. So I get it going and jam it in gear. No front brake and I am just a bit rattled. I thought I was doing everything right and out front and then this happens.   Now, near the back of the pack, I slowly get going and trying to figure out what to do. Can I make it around the loop without a clutch?? So I started playing with it and kind of figured a way that I could make it kind of work, so I just started going. After like 5 miles when we crossed the main road, I stopped and talked to a friend and told them to try and get a brake and clutch ready in the pits. Well, I tried to push and do as much as I possibly could. Jeez, it was dusty. I never knew how much you rely on your clutch and brakes in the trees and just riding until you don’t have them. I would be trying to push through dust to catch the next rider and see a danger marker at the last second and slamm on the rear brake, but it doesn’t stop you much at all as I found out by flying off cliffs and scaring the poop out of myself, or almost get stabbed by trees as I missed corners. I pushed and after 40 miles made it back to the pits. Nick and my dad and pit crew had everything ready and we changed my clutch and front brake assembly. Got going and at least I could ride safely and in control. I pinned it as hard as I could the second loop and passed a lot of people and coming into the finish I had just caught another group of riders and finished right on their tail, but back around 10th or so:(     

Well, I am off the bike healing for a bit and I am going to my Physical Therapists today and try to get analyzed and see what it is going to take to get me healthy and back on the bike. So, I have another National in 2 weeks that I will be prepared for one way or another. And until then, I am keeping my head up and going forward and on to winning more races.

On the positive side, my cousin David put in a solid ride and came home with the win, so it was good to see him do that.

Also, I want to give a big thanks to my family, girlfriend, friends and sponsors and fans and everyone for all the great support. Thanks and chat with ya in 2 weeks

Russell Pearson


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