On this memorial day weekend the 3rd round of the AMA Eastern Hare Scrambles Series ventured to the dense Northern Wisconsin woods. Located in Sugar Camp, Wisconsin on Scott and Debbie Schwalbe’s piece of beautiful property, this race is always a great stop on the hare scrambles tour. The race was run a lot earlier in the year this time around, it is usually in the fall and is a bit on the chilly side. This year it was moved ahead on the schedule and the riders where greeted with near perfect conditions, the temperature hovered in the 70′s all weeknend with blue skies above. The Rick Anschutz designed course was 10 miles in length and featured tight woods, open roads, grass tracks and even a sandy MX track. It is one of the most diverse courses on the tour and the dirt was perfect in the woods with a little dust coming up on the open sections of the track.
Am-Pro, FMF, Yamaha, Factory Connection rider Jason Raines fired first off the line but as the riders rounded the first slow sweeping right hand corner JD Friebel on his Moose, Kenda, Team 2, KTM put the hammer down and rocketed into the lead heading onto the MX track “I got a decent jump off the line and when we went down the first straight I tried to hold it on as long as I could and I was able to sneak into the lead” commented Friebel . His lead was short lived as he powered into the next coener on the MX with a little too much speed and left the door open for Raines to hug the inside and move past and back into the lead “JD and I where playing cat and mouse going into the next coner and he just held it on longer than me, but I didn’t think he would be able to make the corner at the speed he was going, he left a little opening for me so I dove to the inside and made the pass” said Raines.
As they churned up the Wisconsin terrain the first lap Raines held his lead followed by Friebel, Gaerne, Jackson Performance Center, Yamaha rider Jeremy Smith, John Maier on his GAS GAS, Kawasaki rider Mat Herrington and Nate Federer on his Yamaha YZ 250F.
As they came out of the back section of the track and onto the MX, Am-Pro’s Jason Raines had started to pull a little gap on the field followed by Friebel and Smith. “I got a good start, but lost a few spots on one of the straights because it was so dusty, but once we settled into the woods I was able to work back up into 3rd” said Smith. As they completed the first lap Raines maintained his lead, followed by Friebel, Smith and Federer. “Once I got out front, I just got in a good rythm, this track just suits my style because it is like riding in my backyard back in my homwtown in Washington!” said Raines
Nate Federer was on the move on the second lap and was making time up on Smith and Friebel. “I got a little tight and saw the pit board telling me Federer had made up 40 seconds and was coming, so I knew I had to get going and I put my head down and was able to gain 20 seconds back pretty quickly” said Friebel. Smith had dropped back to fourth. At the completion of lap 2 it was still Raines out front, followed by Friebel, Federer and Smith.
The riders stayed in running order until just after the gas stop when Federer had a big crash and damged his bike and had to pull out of the race, handing third back to Smith. Nate and I had a good battle for quite a while and then he crashed and I never saw him again.” said Smith
The rest of the race saw Raines steadly gaining on the pack each and every lap, Friebel running a strong Second and Smith a steady 3rd. The top three had seperated from themselves and they all had the same comment “After about the middle part of the race, I was all by myself and it was hard to keep pushing becasue the next rider in front was a long ways ahead and I had a good cushion on the rider behind”.
As the race came to a close, after just over 3 hours of racing Am-Pro, FMF, Yamaha, Kenda, Rainesracing.com rider Raines crossed the finish line first and with this win, extends his points lead in the championship and remarkably this is his 3rd conscutove win at this event. “It was a great day for me today, I rode smooth and smart and had a perfect day and I want to thank my dad for all his help this weekend, he works as hard as I do and days like to day make all that work worthwhile.”
Moose, Kenda, IMS, KTM mounted Friebel crossed the finish line in 2nd “It was a good day and I am happy to finish on the podium, the track got a little rough and rooty towards the end, but I kept charging until I saw the checkers.”
Smith, Gaerne, Moose, Yamaha rider Smith pushed home third on the day. “This was a good day for me, I am just coming off a year off due to a knee injury so this is a good confidence builder for me and look forward to getting stronger race by race.”
Series Points (after 3 of 8 rounds)
1-Jason Raines 65 points/1Win
2-Paul Whibley 30 points/1Win
3-Mike Lafferty 30 points/1Win
4-JD Friebel 25 points
5-Jimmy Jarrett 25 points
6-John Maier 23 points
7-Jeremy Smith 21 points
8-Wallace Palmer 21 points
9-Kaliub Russell 21 points
10-Zach Dotson 21 points