Welcome to Weekly Dirt, the best place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week we check in on the Hare & Hound National in Reno, Nevada, World Trials from the Czeck Republic and take a look at the 2014 Gas Gas Enduro models. Hold on to your flat-billed hats, here’s the Weekly Dirt.
Argubright Comes Out Swinging As H&H Summer Break Ends
It’s been almost like Christmas in July for Jacob Argubright this past week. First, he received an invitation to participate in the upcoming X Games in Los Angeles as one of the elite Enduro X competitors. To top that off, a few days later he won round eight of the AMA Racing/FMF/GPR Hare & Hound Championship Series–the 2nd Annual GXE Reno Extreme 20 miles east of Reno, Nevada. It was his first National victory since his break-through win last year.
Run in conjunction with the Eldorado HDRA Reno 500 truck/buggy race at the Tahoe Reno Motorplex, the event marked the end of the H&H summer break. During that time, of course, lots of eyes were on Kurt Caselli as he won the Desafio Ruta 40 rally in Argentina a few weeks ago.
Argubright prepared for this one with lots of EnduroCross-type training and the knowledge gleaned from winning the inaugural running of this race last year when it was a one-off, non-National that drew only about a dozen Experts.
“What worked for me was I was here last year and I knew it was going to be brutal,” he explained. Between the rocks, the heat and the hills, add more rocks–the jagged, mobile kind that defy any attempt to maintain a steady, predictable trajectory. It’s more like hang on and hope for the best. This is a place that rewards patience and penalizes bravado.
And if Argubright thought last year was bad, this year’s longer loop was much worse, promoter Erek Kudla aiming to make it more like an extreme enduro than the “normal” hare & hound. (At 18 miles long and repeated for a total of three laps for the top classes, it was quite unlike the usual hare & hound that employs two or more much longer loops so participants rarely ride the same ground twice.)
Some liked it for the tremendous sense of accomplishment at finishing something that a few felt was more difficult than King of the Motos or Last Dog Standing. Others threw in the towel well before then. Even runner-up Caselli–one of the fittest riders around–admitted this one took a lot out of him: “I wasn’t pushing too hard. It was tough! I got tired on that second lap; the third lap was tough.” It’s not often that Caselli says that.
Likewise, you won’t often hear about Caselli’s teammate on the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team, Ivan Ramirez, confess he was unable to make it up a hill in one shot en route to an eventual third-place finish. “On the third lap, I had to stop a little bit on the [big] uphill because I was really tired [and] out of breath,” he revealed.
Though extremely tired at the finish, Off-Road Support/Kawasaki of Simi Valley’s Argubright owned this one, crediting his experience from last year.
“I kind of knew what pace to run from last year, but I knew I had to step it up,” he acknowledged.
“It was like a [normal] third loop for three hours!”
Purvines Racing Beta teammates Justin Morrow and Nick Burson rode two-strokes for the first time in the series and rounded out the top five overall.
By the way, for X Games, Argubright will switch from his KX450F to his TM 300 provided by Western Design Racing. And WDR co-owner Cheryl Taylor revealed that Western Design Racing will be the title sponsor for the David Pearson and Robby Bell duo for Best in the Desert’s Vegas to Reno marathon next month.
The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) also got back into action after a summer recess with Kawasaki-mounted Bobby Garrison picking up his first victory of the season and preventing a Robby Bell three-peat. Bell remains the points leader ahead of Garrison, 141-113, while third-place finisher Justin Jones of the RPM/KTM Racing Team sits in third at 107 after that sixth round in Pala, California. —Mark Kariya
A Look At The Carbon Titanium Factory 4.1 Megabomb
The 2014 testing season is upon us, and the Dirt Rider staff has been working around the clock to evaluate and organize the new machines. Right now we’ve received or ridden slightly under half of the 2014 motocross models, but we’re already getting several of them to our pre-shootout standard amount of hours (all bikes are equipped with hour meters and given the same amount of break-in time in order to keep the comparison fair and balanced.)
While testing with the 2014 Yamaha YZ450F last week, the Dirt Rider crew jumped at the opportunity to try an aftermarket exhaust setup from FMF for the bike. Dubbed the Carbon Titanium Factory 4.1 Megabomb system, this unique setup features the same wraparound layout as the stock Yamaha exhaust, and can be run in either the full system ($1049 as we tested it) or in several different variations, namely as just a PowerCore 4 muffler ($299.99), a MegaBomb ($449.99 for titanium!) or Factory 4.1 RCT ($449.99 for stainless).
While we’ll switch back to a stock setup for the comparison, it was fun to see the changes that the FMF system made to the stock power curve; it altered the the low-to-mid-range so that it was less “steppy”, and made it easier to keep the bike in the revs on a deep, loamy day at San Bernardino’s Glen Helen Raceway. We also had a chance to ride the system at the tighter, SX-styled Perris Raceway, and were more than impressed at how easily the Yamaha could be wound up to huck some of the tighter jump combinations. Our preferred setup here was actually to run the FMF-provided spark arrestor insert, which helped the snap of the power curve to be a bit more manageable for the tight, traction-filled track. More info on the FMF setup can be found at www.fmfracing.com.
Check out a future issue of Dirt Rider for a full test on the Carbon Titanium Factory 4.1 Megabomb system, and be sure to stay tuned to www.dirtrider.com for more info and updates on all of the 2014 machines. We’ll be riding the wildly new Yamaha YZ250F soon, as well as the ’14 Honda and Suzuki models. As always, if you have a specific question about these machines, head over to Dirt Rider’s Facebook page and drop us a note. —Chris Denison
2014 Gas Gas Enduro Unveiled
News is starting to trickle in about even more 2014 models and this week Gas Gas unveiled its new range of enduro models for 2014, including the new EC Racing, which is available in displacements from 125cc 2T and up to the 450cc 4T, and the major changes on next year’s Gassers center around the new chassis.
While achieving a significant reduction in weight (two kilograms), the new chassis is said to offer better stability and a less rigid feel. To reach this objective, there has been a redesigned aluminum sub-frame culminating in an entirely new structure for the entire Enduro range.
In addition to the new chassis, one of the biggest changes to the 2014 Gas Gas EC Racing models is the rear suspension where an updated Reiger shock graces the full range of Racing models, both 2T and 4T, complete with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound. The Reiger shock utilizes a small internal thermostatic device that compensates for the changes in oil viscosity when the shock is hot or cold, in this way, effectiveness is maintained at a maximum level at all times.
At the front, Gas Gas relies on Marzocchi forks. In the Racing range, the fork is 48mm in diameter with a dual pressurized cartridge and new settings.
With respect to the engine paragraph, the Gas Gas R & D department has worked especially with the 2-stroke models. For example, the design of the water pump has been modified to not only reduce weight but its volume has been increased to make it more effective, in fact, after adopting the new cylinder of the previous model range, this has been complemented by a new cylinder head with much more fluid thermodynamics. Also, the reed cage is VForce4 mounted on the EC 200 Racing, EC 250 Racing and EC 300 Racing – and obviously also with the electric start versions – help improve the power at the same time softening the power delivery.
Notably, for 2014, the exhaust silencers on all of the company’s range are made by FMF (except for the EC 250 F and EC 300 F).
The biggest news of the 2014 EC range is a new ignition system, which also reduces weight and optimizes the crankcase size with a new design. In addition, the new cylinder head offers more power across the power curve and a 38mm Keihin PKWS Carburetor delivering more power and a more progressive engine, which features a dual-power ignition map.
This year the 2014 Gas Gas EC Racing 2T version will also be available with electric start.
• New Chassis
• New chassis
• New rear shock Reiger (in Racing range)
• 48mm Marzocchi fork (45mm in Racing 125 and Standard range), new settings
• Side covers that improve the flow to the filter box
• Excel wheel-set with machined hubs
• More ergonomic and effective brake pedal
• Titanium color sprocket
• Handle on front wheel axle
• Tires Metzeler Six Days
• Injection molded SKID PLATE, lighter and more coverage
• Handlebars Gas Gas Double Force
• New digital display
• New machined clamps
• New 8.2 liter tank (model-4T)
• New side number plates
• New graphics
• New water pump
• Reed valve V-Force4 (in Racing range, except EC 200)
• New exhaust EC 125 Racing
• New power curve EC 125 Racing
• Exhaust FMF (except EC 250 F and EC 300 F)
• Redesign of the crankshaft
• New Ignition
• New crankcase design
• New cylinder head
• Keihin Carburetor PKWS
• Electrical wiring improved
• New clutch cover and clutch cover disks made by aluminum injected.
Cool Jonny Walker Enduro Video
Here’s some cool helmet cam video from round three of the British Enduro Championships, taken from Jonny Walker’s helmet. http://youtu.be/4Cu5fyfqFaI
Adam Raga Takes A Big Win In The Czech Republic World Trials
Adam Raga claimed his fourth win of the season at the World Trials round in the Czech Repulbic, at Kramolin. It is the fifth time in his career he has won the Czech GP. With the win, the factory Gas Gas rider closed to within two points of series point leader Toni Bou in the race for the 2013 title.
While expecting a complicated trial, the trial was rather easy, which puts a premium on perfection. It’s important to keep mistakes to a minimum in these conditions since it’s harder to make up for a mistake when the sections are easy.
As expected, Bou and Raga distanced themselves from the field from the start, with Raga dropping just one point on the first lap, compared to six points for Bou.
On the second lap, Bou and Raga each dropped a single point.
On the third lap, Raga lost his advantage when he fived the third section, allowing Bou to pull even with the Gas Gas rider. However, Bou took a five later in the lap, which ultimately gave Raga the win.
With two double Grand Prix events to conclude the World Cup, these four races still have many points to be played-out, and everything suggests that the title will not be awarded until the last day of the championship, making for a very exciting end to the 2013 season.—Shan Moore
That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.