Idaho! What a great place to ride! In all it was about an 18 hour drive from home, but we made it there and back, and I have really moved myself into a good position points wise, so this is one place that I will look forward to coming back to!Pre RaceThe weekend started off for us on Thursday morning as Kyle, Ryan, Ed, and myself loaded up the truck and trailer. We were taking two vehicles, and about 10 bikes! We were finally on the road at about 9:30 AM and I was excited to be back on an NHHA racecourse! It was pretty uneventful through Vegas, and we stopped to pick up Jerry and Levi Jones who are in the club and always help at the races.The road trip became exactly that somewhere on the Nevada 83 Hwy. I believe it was around Coyote Springs where we hit about 50 MPH winds. In the motorhome and the race truck any wind is definitely a bad thing, and when the wind was joined by rain it definitely got interesting. Ultimately we made it to Wells where we stayed the night. The following morning we got up and made it into Murphy where we had a great lunch at the General Store, before finally going into the race site.
Kyle, Levi, and I unloaded our bikes and went on a ride until the sun set. The club let us ride beyond a gate, which luckily lead to some snow covered mountains. Up there it was awesome, and at points appeared to be about three feet deep! In all we put on about 30 miles, but it was a good warm up ride, and enough to make me like Idaho already!Saturday morning as most of the District 37 racers arrived, I led about 10 of us back up to the snow and we played around all morning. Morgan Crawford was with us, and it was just a fun day to screw around before a race! It wasn’t all play; however, as it was a national and I had a lot of work to do.The bomb was about two miles long, and could only be walked! Aside from that it was really gnarly! Big ravines and tough sage brush littered the starting area, and after two hours of walking, I had only cleared about half way down. Justin Shults and I worked together as he was about to start in the same spot on the Ami line. I had to quit early though because there was an autograph signing in town.At the hotel where most of the racers were staying there were well over 100 people waiting for us when we finally arrived. In all there were 8 pros there, and we all had posters to sign. Destry and I had our own table and I must have signed over 200 posters! We were interviewed by Mark Kariya, and the people from the local Fox news station, and the entire city really worked to make us feel at home! Ryan and I got back in time to watch a movie and go to bed, but first we returned the truck we borrowed to Patrick from Rekluse… Thanks Patrick!!!Race DaySunday morning I was up at 6:30 to put a bike on the line. There was no one out there except for David Pearson, but he was far enough away that it really didn’t matter. I re-walked my line from the day before and felt confident that everything was in order.With about 30 minutes to go before the race, I went out for the Riders Meeting. At this point my dad noticed that we had forgotten to put a brake snake on the bike, and he took it back to have that fixed. Additionally (and thankfully) he noticed that my front brakes were going out, and was able to bleed them and give me back the feel that I needed to ride in the tight twisty terrain.The banner went up, and a place flew over and before a full minute had gone by it was down. Ed was only at 37 on the stop watch, but we were all off and I actually had a one kick start! The first ravine was the hardest part of the start, and I was the first one in and through! I held on for dear life and just pinned it. About half way down the bomb I could see David Pearson and Kendall Norman to my right. There were both on a similar line and were starting to pull me. By the time we got to the end I was in 9th behind Imhof, Underwood, and Sutherlin.
By the time we made it to the trail, it was a total dust bowl. The dirt is just different then we are used to back home, and here it really just kinda sits in the air. Less than a mile into it I was able to get around Justin. He went he went low in twisty sandwash canyon and I took a chance to stay high and ended up dropping in right in front of him, from about 5 feet above! From here I settled behind Underwood, and we both passed Destry at about mile marker 5.
At this point I was running in about 6th overall, and knew that I would see my dad at the alternate gas. When we got there my dad told me that Pearson had lost his moose bib, and was out of the race. From here I was in fourth, and just pushed on trying not to take too many chances in the dust. The running order stayed the same into the main pit, and the course was pretty smooth sailing.Into the main pit, Ryan told me that Kyle was doing well, and that I needed to just keep moving. There were a couple water crossings coming up, and both Ryan and Ed said to take it easy through them. I got out of the pits about side by side with Underwood, and we were wide open and through a cattle fence. We followed each other through the water crossing and then eventually into Rekluse Canyon, but the dust was just enough to keep him ahead of me. Through the last gas stop I knew that it was time to make my move.It sounded like the leaders were out of reach, but I still had a shot to catch my way possibly back up to fourth and maybe even third. At about mile marker 75 I finally made the move on Underwood. It was almost like I caught him sleeping, the trail split and there were two options, he went right and I stayed left. He turned around, and got back on it like he was going to give me a race, but I was able to get around him and never looked back.Gary Sutherlin was physically just too far ahead to catch, and I couldn’t even see his dust. I crossed the road, and charged into the finish where I could see probably 200 people waiting for the podium events to take place. After 100 miles it was Kendall Norman who took the win, followed by David Kamo, and Gary Sutherlin in third. I finished fourth, and Underwood finished fifth.It was a great race, and the club really spent some good time on it. The pride that this club had in their race showed through each and every check worker and everyone was on their feet and excited to mark my fender. My dad and Ed worked overtime this weekend with all of the driving and then bike prep out in the desert. Jerry Jones was also a huge help as he always is, and his attitude is key to keeping the overall feeling so relaxed in our pit every weekend. Between him and my dad and Ed there is nothing that can’t be fixed, even if it’s the pump for my air mattress at 10 pm the night before the race!As always big thanks goes out to my sponsors, many of whom were here this weekend. Patrick from Rekluse was a big part of the event, working signups and helping with every possible aspect. So again thanks to him for all of the help. Additionally Garrett Quinlan from Fastway/Pro Moto Billet was on hand to help pit Chris Brown who was also pitting with us. Thanks as well to the rest of my sponsors, Kawasaki of Simi Valley, FMF, IMS, BRP, Off Road Support, Dunlop, and TBT Racing.Other NotesMy friend Justin Imhof was on fire again and finished 7th overall and first in the 250 class. He was flying and sounds like he would have finished 6th except for a run in with a barbed wire fence. He was ok at the finish though. Destry was here and did finish in 6th place. He was a little sore from a crash earlier in the week, but still earned enough points to keep himself in the championship points chase.I met a lot of really cool people this weekend, and it sounds like we will be back in a couple months for the Idaho City Qualifier. The club that hosts the event was at the autograph signing, and they had some great videos and information of their event. After the race, I had another line of people that wanted posters, so it was really just a great weekend with awesome people all around! I can’t count how many autographs and/or photos I took this weekend!Lastly the points battle is getting very interesting. I believe with David taking a DNF, I am either in fourth, or within just a couple of him for the championship standings. Also Destry finishing behind makes him a little bit more realistic in my chase to finish top three at the end of the year. Next week I have a local D37 event, and then I’ll be right back up here for the first Utah race, and I can’t wait!See you at the Races!Jacob