Welcome to The Weekly Dirt, the place to go each Wednesday to catch up on the latest happenings in the realm of off-road motorcycling, this week we’ve got news form the National Hare & Hounds, the Moose Run OMA and the Boise EnduroCross.
Thanksgiving is nearly here, which means that it’s almost time for one of the most fun one-off races of the year: the Red Bull/ Day In The Dirt event. Now in its 15th year, this legendary race is hosted by the Hollywood stunt and film industry and allows a wide range of stunt performers, motorcycle enthusiasts and families to do what everyone loves best—race motorcycles together.
With major support from Red Bull and Troy Lee Designs, this year’s race will take place at Glen Helen raceway. Dirt Rider was given a sneak peak of the track and some of the various elements within the facility that will be used to make sure that the weekend is fun, safe and memorable for all. Taking advantage of Glen Helen’s flowing layout, the DITD course will utilize much of the main track including several of the big hills. However, this isn’t the Glen Helen national, and with rider safety being a primary concern the course will take advantage of wide passing lines, forgiving jump combinations and a special race-day prep that will ensure that the track doesn’t become too rough.
Several big name riders and stunt performers—including longtime DITD supporter Troy Lee himself—were on hand at Glen Helen to scope out the track. A sea of TLD gear and smiling faces, the lucky track previewers all left the compound raving about how fun the track layout was and how much they are looking forward to the race. Stunt legend Tom Harper has been a part of A Day In The Dirt since the beginning, and he was quick to agree that the event is based purely on fun. “I’ve been racing Day In The Dirt since the very first year,” Harper recalls. “The big race that first year was the stunt team race, which I won with Brian Manley. We had to ride double on the last lap, and we jumped a huge tabletop at LACR together—it was so gnarly but funny! Over the years, the race has gotten a lot bigger and we have a lot more riders from outside the stunt industry, but all the while the race hasn’t lost its flavor. Every year we look forward to guys coming out with their families, camping and just having a great time. That element hasn’t changed, and it’s really cool that it still has that feel. Most of us raced professionally at one time or another—I still race Sprint Cars professionally—but when we go out at DITD we’re hooting, hollering and having a great time. We know that’s what it’s about, and that’s the mindset we go out with.”
Fellow stunt icon Mic Rogers was also on hand to enjoy the day, and he gave his approval of the chosen venue for 2012. “I think Glen Helen is going to be great for the race,” Rogers commented. “It’s a legendary track, and the people who run it are super cool. The layout is going to be excellent for racing and I think it’s fun to have a different venue. Glen Helen is such a well-known place, and to host the race here is a special thing. I think it’s going to be safe, and I also think it’s going to be a blast!”
The 2012 edition of Day In The Dirt will take place on November 23rd through 25th. To learn more, visit www.adayinthedirt.com and www.troyleedesigns.com. Also, you can read up on Tom Harper and Mic Rogers by visiting www.brandxstunts.org. —Chris Denison
Caselli Wins Hare & Hound Finale
Factory FMF/KTM rider Kurt Caselli claimed his sixth win of season at the 10th and final round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Series.
Race conditions in Lucerne Valley are notorious for being extremely dry and dusty. With such circumstances, Caselli knew how crucial the start was going to be in order to stay in contention for the series title. “I knew I had to win these last two rounds if I wanted any shot at the championship,” commented Caselli. “It was important to have a good start and stay out of everyone’s dust so I could ride my own race.”
Caselli did just what he planned and was able to get the holeshot to lead the group into the first loop. The first forty-mile loop was split into two twenty-mile segments of technical single track. Caselli came through the pits at the end of the two sections 15 seconds ahead of David Kamo and series point leader David Pearson. Pearson would have to finish third or worse in order for Caselli to claim the championship.
After the fuel stop, Caselli maintained his lead and headed out for the final loop. “The second loop was really fun and had some cool rocky down hills,” remarked Caselli. “The club did a really good job of changing up the course and I had a lot of fun riding today.” Caselli was able to stretch out his lead for the remainder of the race. He crossed the finish line in first with a comfortable margin over the second place rider of David Pearson.
Due to an incident during the race, there are currently multiple protests pending against one of the riders. The official overall results for the final round are currently awaiting the effect of those protests. The outcome will determine the 2012 AMA National Hare & Hound Series Champion.
“Regardless of what happens with the pending protest to determine the title,” remarked Factory FMF/KTM team manager Antti Kallonen, “we’re happy to finish out the series on a high note. We really had a great year despite missing a few races, but we’re glad Kurt was able to come back from his injury and win those last few races. The Hare & Hounds have been great way for our team to make bike adjustments and test settings as we direct our focus to the upcoming SCORE/Baja 1000,” commented Kallonen.
The championship title will remain unannounced until the protests are settled and officially publicized by the AMA National Hare & Hound Series.
Unofficial – Overall Results
1. Kurt Caselli – KTM
2. David Pearson
3. Jacob Argubright
4. David Kamo
5. Nick Burson
6. Ivan Ramirez – KTM.
In a statement issued after the race, THR Monster Kawasaki’s David Pearson cleared the air about what happened at Sunday’s AMA National Hare and Hound championship finale:
I want to apologize to all my sponsors, fans and organizers for this. They (THR Motorsports, Bob Bell and my team) put a lot of time and money into me winning the AMA Championship. I think this experience was costly but I can learn a lot from it as a rider and a person. I saved a couple of seconds but it cost me an entire championship. The way the race turned out, I would’ve been fine without doing it. I wasn’t cutting the course or doing anything dishonest. I simply made a bad decision and gave the championship away in doing so. I never would’ve done it if I knew the repercussions. I also want to apologize to the club for putting their future races in jeopardy and also to National Hare and Hound for putting their reputation out on the line if for some reason, when I dumped the can, if it caught on fire, it would give the BLM a reason to shut desert racing down. The desert is about all we have. I love racing and I love winning.
On the first loop Kamo got around me and I didn’t stress too much because I thought I could get around him. It was dusty and the wind wasn’t blowing so I tried everything I could to pass him early. I didn’t want the same thing to happen on the second loop. I have thought about the strategy (fueling on the fly) but never practiced it or tried it in a race. I’ve looked in the AMA rulebook and didn’t find anything against fueling in motion. But obviously after getting the penalty I realize I shouldn’t have done it. In my head, all I wanted to do was get the job done out in the desert. I was trying to give 120% and be creative. It was in the heat of the moment and I didn’t want to have to look in the mirror the next day and say, “I should’ve tried something different”. Obviously I regret what I did. I am sincerely sorry.
Kurt (Caselli) did an awesome job all year long, my hats off to him for coming back after his injury. He’s a great competitor.
I’m going to put what happened behind me an focus entirely on helping Robby and THR win the SCORE BAJA championship plate.”
-David Pearson, THR Motorsports
Blazusiak Closes In On Fourth-Consecutive EX Title
KTM/Red Bull rider Taddy Blazusiak continued his push for a fourth consecutive US Endurocross title with a winning performance at round seven of the 2012 series held in Boise, Idaho. With winning momentum behind him, Blazusiak once again showed the kind of form that has put him out front in the Endurocross title chase and topped the main event ahead of American Beta’s Cody Webb and Husqvarna’s Cory Graffunder.
The night wasn’t without some mistakes from Blazusiak, who after topping his heat race made a poor start to the main event. Initially fifth as he exited the first turn, Blazusiak quickly moved into the runner-up position before taking the lead on lap two. Battling with Webb for several laps, Blazusiak started to open up an advantage at the front of the field before a simple but costly mistake on the last lap saw his lead all but disappear. Remaining out front, and with the checkered flag almost within touching distance, Blazusiak claimed the win and now needs just a handful of points from the championship’s final event in LasVegas to secure the 2012 US Endurocross title.
The eighth and final round of the AMA EnduroCross Championship takes place inside the Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, on November 17th.
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
2. Cody Webb (Bet)
3. Cory Graffunder (Hsq)
4. Justin Soule (Kaw)
5. Kyle Redmond (Hsq)
Bobbitt Tops Moose Run OMA
This past weekend, FMF/KTM’s Russell Bobbitt halted Paul Whibley’s streak of OMA wins at eight by taking a hard-fought win at the Moose Run in Morison, Illinois – round nine of the Parts Unlimited OMA series.
Whibley grabbed the holeshot to start the race, but the Am Pro Yamaha rider soon found himself in a tough, three-way battle for the lead with Bobbitt and Husaberg’s Nick Fahringer. On lap two, Whibley got stuck in a rut in a creek crossing and that was just the break Bobbitt needed to put some distance between himself and the newly crowned OMA champ. At the finish, the order was Bobbitt with the win, Whibley in second and Fahringer in third.
“I just took a bad line in the creek and got stuck in a deep rut,” said Whibley. “By the time I got out of it it was too late and Bobbitt was long gone.”
The attention, at least in the east coast off-road world, now turns to this weekend’s final round of the GNCC series in Loretta Lynn’s on Saturday, and Sunday’s Rekluse AMA National Enduro series in Maplesville, Alabama, which should be a fitting end to both series.
Troy Lee Designs and DC Team Up at Pala
Here’s cool video from the TLD and DC shoes ride day:
Shameless iMag Plug
As usual, don’t forget the Dirt Rider digital issues for all of you who are into saving the trees, or just like the idea of getting the most out of your mobile devices. To subscribe to the digital version, go to www.dirtrider.com/apps/ and follow the links to download the free app. From there, you can browse through and purchase a digital sub and back issues for your iMag. Oh yeah, the monkeys (who live in the trees) will thank you. —Shan Moore
That’s it for this week, be sure to check back this time next week for more from the world of off-road.