Monster Energy Kawasaki News Release
Irvine, Calif. (February 16, 2012) – At the inaugural motorcycle event of the King of the Hammers (KOH) in Lucerne Valley, Calif., Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott powered his KX™450F to a third-place finish after conquering some of the most challenging terrain he had ever encountered. Although the race began with 21 competitors vying for the winner-take-all purse, only six would finish the race. Just days following his podium performance at the KOH, Abbott headed to Ridgecrest, Calif., to compete in Round 2 of the AMA National Hare and Hound Series at Spangler Hills OHV. When the flag dropped for the dead-engine start, Abbott was the fastest off the line and powered his Kawasaki through 87 miles of rugged desert terrain to claim his second podium of the week.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Under the Tent
Turning it Up a Notch
Due its high level of difficulty, the KOH event organizers only allowed professional riders who were invited to compete in the inaugural motorcycle event dubbed “King of the Motos”. The 65-mile course which wound through the rocky hills surrounding Lucerne Valley OHV consisted of a variety of extremely technical terrain including steep hill climbs, gnarly rock sections, numerous elevation changes, and high-speed desert trails.
“That was some of the gnarliest terrain I have ever raced in my life,” said Abbott. “The course consisted of both extremely fast stuff and super-technical terrain. You just had to take your time and really pick good lines. A few times I would pick a bad line and have to turn around to find another line since I would be heading up super-steep, cliff-type areas. This was also the first time I’ve ever raced with a GPS, and since the course wasn’t marked very much you had to really keep your eye on it.”
The King of the Motos began with a dead-engine start, which is Abbott’s specialty. He got off the start quickly, but the steep, rocky hill climb that followed proved more difficult than he had anticipated. Although he went down a number of times, Abbott refused to give up and continued pushing forward.
“I had a pretty good start, but took a bad line and couldn’t clear a rock gap that I tried,” said Abbott. “I flew off the back of the bike and tried to get up and going as fast as I could, but there were already bottlenecks going up the hill and I had to wait for some of it to clear. I finally made it to the top and then going down the back side, still only a half mile in, I hit a huge rock with my shifter and bent it all the way back to my footpeg! I thought my race was over at that point since I couldn’t shift. So I was planning to go back to the truck and change it, but officials said if I went 50 feet off the course I would be disqualified. Since you can’t get any outside assistance, I laid the bike down, found a huge rock and started beating my shifter back into place. Once I bent it back to a point that I could shift again, I got going and was around 14th place.”
Only the Tough Survive
Despite the slow start, Abbott persevered and continued picking off riders. As he progressed through the field he noticed several riders broken down on the side of the course. By the halfway point of the race, Abbott had moved into fourth place. He eventually worked his way into third and was met by the cheers of a huge crowd when he crossed the finish line.
“I’ve been racing all over the world for most of my life and this was a race that I was just pumped on finishing,” said Abbott. “I think of myself as an old school guy and don’t like to give up, no matter what. Things started off pretty bad, which made it so much more rewarding to finish a race like that. I’ve never been in a race where I either pushed, pulled, dragged, or walked my bike that much. There were times that I could barely talk because I was so beat. When I got near the finish line, there were a ton of spectators cheering me on which felt great. I was so happy and exhausted at the same time. That race was so intense and something I really enjoyed, but I wouldn’t have said that during the race.”
Back in the Saddle
Only three days after his podium finish at King of the Motos, Abbott headed north to Spangler Hills OHV for Round 2 of the AMA National Hare and Hound. The race consisted of two loops, the first being a 47-mile fast loop and the second being a 40-mile technical loop. When the banner dropped for the dead-engine start, Abbott’s Kawasaki kicked to life on the first try and stole the holeshot.
“I was feeling pretty confident coming into this event from the King of the Motos,” said Abbott. “When the banner dropped I got a great jump on my KX450F and came out of the bomb in the lead. After the first mile marker I just focused on trying to stay loose and not push it. Around five miles into the race I could hear someone coming up behind me and when we came up to a road crossing I slowed down and he blew by me. I stayed out of his dust, but he started to pull away and I knew if I tried to stay with him I would get really tight. I was still pulling a gap on third and felt confident with my pace so I figured I would just play it safe.”
Lost and Found
After the first loop, Abbott pulled into the pit to service his bike and prepare for the second loop of the race. He left the pits in second place and started looking to reel in the leader. However, Abbott briefly lost the course in the dust and had to climb a nearby hill in an attempt to find the course again.
“About 10-miles into the second loop I completely lost the course,” said Abbott. “I looked all over, but couldn’t find it. Then I saw David (Pearson) coming, and he was below where I was at on the course, so I pinned it back down the hill to catch him. For the next 20-miles I just stayed out of his dust and kept waiting for an opportunity to pass.”
Down But Not Out
As Abbott closed in on the finish, the course funneled into a valley which was littered with boulders. Determined to catch the leaders, Abbott kept on the throttle, maintaining a very fast pace over the treacherous terrain.
“As we dropped into that valley I noticed there were some pretty big rocks right on the course,” said Abbott. “I got a little unlucky and clipped one of the rocks and did a big cartwheel off the bike. I got up pretty quick and when I picked up the bike I saw I had broken the radiator and it was leaking. Considering I was doing about 70 mph when I crashed, I was happy nothing was wrong with me. I figured I would take it easy going back in, but they put us back into the mountains and into some really cool rocky stuff. Next thing I know I was closing in on David (Pearson) again and was back in his dust. I did everything I could to get around him, but the dust was just too thick and David was riding really well. I ended up finishing not too far back for a solid third.”
King of the Hammers – Motorcycle event
Lucerne Valley OHV, Calif.
February 9, 2012
King of the Motos Result
1. Graham Jarvis, Husaberg
2. Kyle Redmond, Husaberg
3. DESTRY ABBOTT, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
4. Mike Slawson, KTM
5. Cody Webb, Beta
6. Jimmy Jarrett, Honda
AMA National Hare and Hound – Round 2
Spangler Hills OHV – Ridgecrest, Calif.
February 12, 2011
Pro Class Result
1. Kurt Caselli, KTM
2. DAVID PEARSON, KAWASAKI
3. DESTRY ABBOTT, MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
4. NICK BURSON, KAWASAKI
5. JUSTIN MORROW, KAWASAKI