Jacob Argubright Vegas EX Race Report

__Vegas EX Press Release_

Las Vegas is by far one of the best weekends of the year. It is the very last race of the year, we seem to always find new fun things to do on the Friday before the race, basically my whole family and all of my friends come to support me, and I always seem to race my best in the Orleans Arena. In the past three years, something good has come of the November Endurocross round. The first year I finished 2nd in the Amateur Championship, last year I finished first in the Baja Designs Night Race, and this year I finally qualified for my first MAIN EVENT! To top it off, it was a double main with two sets of points to be earned!

The whole weekend started off with Megan and I actually driving past Vegas, and all the way up to Hurricane Utah. We met with Cole from Fasst Co. and a whole bunch of the EX riders and support crews and got to put in a solid two tanks worth of amazing Utah Riding. Cole and Mike Farmer (from Maxxis) set the whole thing up, and we had a great lunch at the Maxxis rig in the middle of an awesome day of riding. I rode my 2011 District 37 Championship KX450F and it was perfect up in the wet dirt. At one point Mike Brown and I were side by side in a completely stress free environment, and it reminded me of just what dirtbike riding is all about.

Despite having an issue or two, and making it back to camp Alone and just before Dark, Megan and I had a great day, and I know that everyone else there felt the same way. The conditions were epic, and Cole really spent some time to make sure that we had the best trails to ride. I look forward to getting back out there to do it again! Thanks Cole!

Pre Race

Being pre-qualified, and in Vegas means that we really get to enjoy ourselves. We took it easy on Friday and got to check in on Eric Hallgath's new shop, and I spent some time explaining to Megan what "125 Man on a Mission" really means (see Time to Ride). After the KTM shop we headed over to the strip and took a tour of the Atomic Bomb Testing Site museum. It was pretty cool and we learned a lot about what some of our relatives actually did for work. The day seemed to end quicker then it started, and we were up early for the Saturday festivities.

Saturday morning we had a couple meetings to discuss our plans for 2012. I can't say who was there, but I can say that I will be on a KX450F again for 2012, and I am really excited about the program that is being put together. The whole team was there, and Levi wasn't riding this week because of his shoulder, so we really just made the day about planning for 2012. At 2 pm, however, it was time for business as we got to walk the track for the first time.

There were a lot more pre-qualified riders for this last round, and I really felt like I was one of the lucky ones who got to rest all morning. Practice started and I used my usual routine. Take it easy in the first 5 minute session, and then pick it up for the second. My goal at these things is to master cleaning all of the obstacles before I take any chances. There were really three deal breakers this weekend, and I needed to make sure that I had good lines through each of them. Finally, as the hot laps started I waited my turn and put in a good lap, until the matrix. One of the obstacles I was least worried about ended up causing the most problems. In all it only cost me two seconds, but those two seconds were the difference of qualifying 10th overall or 19th overall. I ended up at 19th, which was fine because numerically it put me in group 1.

The Race

As the evening started I had a bit of mixed emotions. I was nervous as always because I want to compete, but I was happy at the same time because it was literally the first heat all year that I didn't have to race against Taddy. Unfortunately I had Cody Webb, Gary Sutherlin, and a few others to worry about. I ultimately finished 5th in the Heat and had to transfer onto the first of the LCQ races.

In the LCQ it was top three who would transfer, and the rest would go to the Baja Designs Night Race. I needed to be top 8 either way to earn points, and with a chance at X games on the line, it needed to be more like top 3. Out of the gate I settled into fifth overall. A bobble or two later, and I was back at 6th with Bobby Prochnau, Wally Palmer, and a few other fast guys up front. I just kept my head down and pushed the file forward. Thankfully I didn't really have too many mistakes. The three obstacles that worried me seemed to be respectful to the fact that I was on a mission to finish as best as I could.

With two laps to go I passed Colton Hacker who had stuck his rear wheel into the flat tires (one of the things that worried me the most!) At this point however, I was still back in 6th. I came across the finish and saw Ed's pit board which showed 6th, but as we hit the Rock Mountain on the final lap I passed palmer and another rider stuck side by side (or so I thought). The problem was that I missed the third bike which was down under Wally. I crossed the line for the final lap and Ed still showed me in 4th so I was a bit disappointed. As I was about to leave the track, Mat Henderson stopped me to congratulate me and pointed to the board. I FINISHED IN THIRD!! I HAD QUALIFIED FOR THE MAIN!

It's pretty much all a blur from that point. I rode as well as I could in both Main's and those guys are FAST. When it comes down to it, the difference is that they just don't let off the gas. I know that a lot of them aren't running the stock setup that I have in my 250F, so there will be some changes for next year to the bike. But in all I rode two flawless main events, and salvaged more points in one night then I had earned all year!

Qualifying for the main earned me enough points to finish 13th in the points for 2011, which should be enough to qualify me for X games. I am really proud of the way I rode tonight, and it was just the perfect end to such an awesome season. I also found out that I finished 3rd in the Junior Endurocross championship, which is now the second year in a row I have been in the top 3 for that title. If anything this weekend, my LCQ race taught me that you can never give up in Endurocross. I have been on the other end of the stick many times in the last two years, but I keep training and coming back each and every round. This time it paid off, and I feel like I know what it takes to make more than just a couple mains in 2012.

As always I want to thank all of my sponsors from this entire year. Everyone has been so supportive, and I just couldn't do it without any of your help. Thanks to Kawasaki of Simi Valley, Off Road Support, Answer Racing, UFO Plastics, Jett Boots, Scotts, Dunlop, Rekluse, Dirt Digits, Omega, BRP, TBT Racing, Kal-Gard, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway Performance, IMS, FMF, Photos by Grumpy, and Alliance Offroad.

I also want to thank my family who came out from all across the country. My Uncle Keith from Arizona, cousin Chad from Illinois, and everyone from the 100's who came out from California. It is a special thing to be greeted after the race with such a large group of supporters, and to share this special night and my first ever main event is something that I will never forget.
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Other thoughts**

It's pretty cool to qualify for the main at one of these events. Basically only a handful of people ever get a chance to be involved in such a competitive race, and to look over at the startline and see those guys lined up next to you is a surreal feeling. Ryan asked me if I was nervous going into the first main, and obviously my answer was yes, but I also had such an awesome feeling of accomplishment that I feel like it overshadowed my nerves. As soon as I hit turn three I had so much arm pump that I could barely hang on, but it was still a great experience.

Vegas is always fun after the event because everyone seems to gather inside the casino. I got to meet a lot of awesome fans and people who had seen me on X Games. Some of them even came out for the first time because of that, so I think that the feeling of excitement just caries over all the way to the morning at this event. I think we all owe a big thanks to ESPN for helping make the 2011 EX season such a success, and inviting us back for next year so that we can share our sport with the world.

Finally I need to congratulate a few people who had a good night and awesome season. Taddy is unstoppable, and with a perfect season he just deserves everything he has achieved. He is a funny, down to earth, awesome competitor, and I am honored that for the third year in a row he is the Champion of a series I devote so much time to. He deserves this one, and I was glad to be there with him.

Mike Brown and Justin Soule have also road really well this year. Finishing 2nd and 3rd in points they both have been competitors on the track and friends off the track. Mike has done a lot of riding with me this year, and it is nice to know that he thinks of me as a peer, when I look up to him so much. Justin carried the torch for Kawasaki this year, and for those who don't know about his training habits, he is also one that really deserves it. He works harder than anyone else out there, and by finishing 2nd in the first main tonight, he has pushed himself into the final podium spot for the season.

Lastly Taylor Robert, I want to congratulate him and let him know that he is a worthy Champion in the Junior EX championship. Tonight was his first main event podium, finishing 2nd in the last main, and he has come a long way in this series. I know that he will be up there at every round next year, and I am glad that he will not be racing against me for the Junior Championship next year!

I am happy with how the season ended. I earned two championships, two top 5's, and a top 15 in the EX pro class. I have left myself a lot of room for improvement, but I can honestly look back at 2011 with a smile and say that it was possibly my best year of racing to date.

Thanks for being there with me for the past 11 months, and let's look forward to 2012 and more championships!

See you in the Desert

-Jake

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