By: Ryan Sanders
Photos: Mark Kariya
For the first time in nearly 6 years the National Hare and Hound Series returned to Idaho and it’s SIDRA racing organization for Round Four of the AMA/Kenda National Hare and Hound Championship series, and with it came the freight train that is Kendall Norman.
With the small community of Murphy, Idaho playing host to the event, the northern city of Nampa played host to a Saturday autograph session which saw the likes of all the NHHA’s pros. Nearly 300 people showed up for a chance to “meet the pros” and the signage that flooded the city of Nampa proved that the NHHA was a welcomed sight. “It was fun to meet people who are really into what we do.” Jacob Argubright explained, “This is really the first time that I have been a part of something like this, and it was really fun! Nampa and the Idaho people were all really cool and I really just can’t wait to do it again!”
After the evening’s festivities had concluded, the racers prepared for a 100-mile desert race that was only hours away. Grabbing an early holeshot was Factory FMF/KTM’s David Pearson who looked to be a sure bet for a win with the thick loamy dust. Closely following however was the Johnny Campbell Racing CRF450X of Kendall Norman who was on fire after a win just two weeks before.
Following the leaders, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott played chase to friend and Valcom Motorsports Gary Sutherlin while local and FMF/KTM backed David Kamo Made a charge in 5th. Privateers Justin Imhof, Robert Underwood, and Jacob Argubright were the next to the trail, and the racers disappeared with the lone single engine aircraft following them into the desert.
Somewhere prior to Gas stop number one, David Pearson would lose his rear tire as the Bib came out causing the tire to come off the wheel. Desperately trying to find a wheel in the pits, Pearson was forced to watch his hopes of gaining the points lead slip away as his predicament forced him to drop out of the event early. Another victim to the Moose Bib-Tire Malfunction was Blais Racing Service’s own Morgan Crawford who only made it 7 miles before his tire deteriorated.
With the Honda now clearly in the lead, Kendall Norman rode like he had just two weeks before and entered the main pits about 15 seconds up on local David Kamo. The two were in and out before third place was even in sight, and the crowd watched in hopes that their hometown racer would become their hometown hero. Into the pits, Gary Sutherlin had worked his way up to third and knew that an easy ride through loop 2 would guarantee himself a spot on the podium.
Robert Underwood and Jacob Argubright came into the pits virtually side by side as the duo of Kawasaki’s battled to have a shot of breaking the podium. But as Argubright pulled out of the Kawi pits, the crowd was left to ask one question, Where was Abbott?
After suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the week, Destry Abbott was forced to ride it smart and hope to have a top 10 finish that might help to salvage himself some points. Into the pits in 7th, and a good 20 seconds down to Justin Imhof, the Kawasaki Veteran actually felt good with his ride thus far. ” At that point I couldn’t really complain. It hurt but I knew that I needed to keep moving. I was figuring to be a bit further back at that point, but when they told me 7th it made me want to push just a bit harder.”
In the end Abbott was able to make the pass for 6th, and Justin Imhof despite tangling up with a barbed wire fence settled for 7th overall and first in the 250 class aboard his Paul Krause Racing 250cc KTM. Finishing 6th on the day, Abbott was happy to earn enough points to keep himself in the hunt for the title at the end of the season.
In repeat fashion, Kendall Norman and his JCR Honda 450X crossed the finish line if first overall, and now holds a 7 point lead in the series championship. Local David Kamo had a strong ride to the end, but finished just short of the top place on the podium. “Obviously everyone always wants to win at home, but in the scheme of things this really doesn’t hurt me too much. I have 5 more rounds and I know that consistency will be key this year.”
Gary Sutherlin held on to third overall and now sits back at 8th in the championship points chase. Although finishing 2 minutes down of Sutherlin, Argubright was able to open a gap over Underwood and finished for the second time this season 4th overall. He now sits 5th in the points standings 12 points out of the top 4. With another great ride privateer Robert Underwood took home 5th overall and now sits just ahead of Justin Imhof in the points standings.
Next up, the Sageriders present Round #5 of the series, as we head to Utah!
For more information on the NHHA or National Hare and Hound Series go to www.nationalhareandhound.com.