Morgan Crawford, 1st Overall

_Blais Racing Services/ KTM

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The weekend started off like any other. My buddy Bob Roberts and I rolled out from Fresno at about 10am Saturday morning on our way to the Dirt Diggers MC Desert Scrambles Race near Ridgecrest, Ca. After a quick stop at Starbucks, we were pumped, ready to drive, and arrived at the Dirt Diggers staging area at around 2:30pm. After a quick power nap, we unloaded our bikes and went on a 30-mile suspension test ride through the hills of Ridgecrest, over to Charlie's Place, through Teagle Wash and up to the roller coaster hills of Spangler.

Sunday morning snuck up quick. With two hours to go before the banner would drop, I had to get limbered up so I took my mandatory 30 minute ride through some treacherous whoops. I topped off my fuel, shoved down a banana and a bagel, loaded up the pit truck, then headed to the start line. It was a "start by class" so Row 1 was the hot ticket with some stiff competition surrounding me in the Open Expert class. Nick Burson was to the right of me and Jake Argubright was to the left of me. Ricky Brabec started a few spots down from me.

As the green banner waved, the loud rumble began. Unfortunately, my foot slipped off the kick starter half way through the stroke and I didn't get that initial jump, but luckily I had "the button" on my KTM 530 XCR to keep me from kicking a second time. By the end of the first mile, I was in third overall behind Brabec with Argubright leading. There was hardly a breeze so it made passing pretty tough. As the course winded through the rolling rocky hills, Brabec and I crossed the railroad tracks at TeagleWash. We got a little off course just left of the ribbon. We diced back and forth a few times looking for some markings. As I looked ahead, I could see Argubright's dust heading to the right and low and behold out of the corner of my eye, I saw some day glows (course marking cards). Immediately I sprinted in that direction, taking a quick look back, and I could see Nick Burson in hot pursuit as I was intercepting the course. The target was set with no dust to hold me back. All I could do was focus on Argubright, who was leading the way. In the next 10 miles the dust was thickening, meaning I was getting closer to him. As I approached the last checkpoint before pit row, I could see Argubright exiting the check shoot. Over the next few rolling rises, he was pulled over shuffling through his fanny pack. Did he run out of gas? Or maybe he broke down? Numerous scenarios raced through my mind, but all I could come up with was this was my chance to put the hammer down. I knew with Burson hot on my tail and lap traffic approaching while coming upon the second loop, this would be my opportunity to gain some ground.

I rolled into pit row and everyone was cheering! I was lucky to bum a quick pit stop with Bob Robert's club, HBMC. They did an excellent job. For the next 45 miles, I stayed on the tip of my toes watching for lap traffic and staying on course. With three vicious riders behind me, there was no cruise controlling this loop. As I crossed the checkered flag, the weight had been lifted from my shoulders as I took the First Place win for my Blais Racing Services/ KTM team. It had been long past due, making up for a streak of bad luck in the beginning of this year. Thanks to all of my great sponsors that help make this happen!

Blais Racing Services offers engine rebuilding and online parts for all your Motorcycle, ATV, & UTV needs. Owned and operated by Chris Blais, former Factory KTM Dakar Rally Racer. We specialize in KTM/ Honda, but can work on anything. www.blaisracingservices.com

Morgan Crawford | Blais Racing Services/ KTM
Morgan Crawford | Blais Racing Services/ KTM