Howes Sails To Easy Win At BITD’s Parker 250

Defending BITD champ Jacob Argubright strikes misfortune

Skyler Howes at BITD Parker 250
Having drawn the first start position for the first time, Skyler Howes made the most of it, leading from start to finish for his first-ever BITD triumph, tackling the 240 miles by himself against a number of speedy two-man teams.Mark Kariya

It seems like the flu has been going around everywhere lately and that includes a few cases in racing.

A few days before he was to make his debut on his Chidester Transport Racing YZ450FX, Jacob Argubright got hit hard, but he couldn't afford to take any time to rest—he wanted to line up for the first race of the year: the GMZ UTV Winter Nationals/Casey Folks Parker 250 in Parker, Arizona, round one of Best in the Desert's American Off-road Racing Series.

After all, he was the defending series champion and he looked forward to running the N1 plate. However, the largest field of rivals in recent memory also showed up at Parker, eager to take it away from him.

Argubright rode well from his fifth starting slot and passed his way into second before completing the 80-mile loop (the race being three times around that loop except for Ironman entrants who only had to complete it twice). Unfortunately, the 2.5-gallon tank he’d hoped would satisfy his new bike’s thirst wasn’t enough and he coasted to a stop well short of the main pit. (IMS was back-ordered on 3.0-gallon fuel cells when he ordered.)

Tayler Stevens at BITD Parker 250
The Zach Myers/Taylor Stevens team had to come back from an early crash and ended up second.Mark Kariya

“I ran back [to where I thought I could bum some gas] and that just tore me apart,” he said. “I vomited just from huffing and puffing and coughing—it was bad!”

All of that, of course, greatly impacted his time on course, and though he’d eventually get going again, he’d surrendered too much ground to figure in the final results, finishing 13th Open Pro while riding by himself as he’d done all last season.

Asked to comment on how being sick affected his riding, he replied, “You know, actually I rode pretty good still. I was a little weak—I definitely wasn’t 100 percent—but I rode pretty good. I was just spent and not talking too many chances, especially with the dust.”

Skyler Howes, on the other hand, enjoyed more than 80 miles of dust-free riding on his Lake Powell Off-road Association CRF450X due to drawing the first start position. He noted, "This is the first time I've ever drawn first starting position so that was a huge, huge reason why I was able to pull out and have such a healthy lead. The dust was insane today so being able to start first was huge. Even if you started second or anything, the dust and the way the course goes into the sun a lot of times, starting first at this race—especially with how dry and dusty it's been—that's a huge deal."

Jacob Argubright at BITD Parker 250
It just wasn’t in the cards for defending BITD champ Jacob Argubright. The flu hit him hard a few days before the race, then after working into second place he ran out of fuel. After running to get a splash, he was spent and cruised to finish 12th in class.Mark Kariya

He added, “I didn’t really know how anyone else would ride so I rode 100 percent [on the first lap]; I gave it my all, and when I came in off the first [lap], they said I had about an eight-minute lead. Off the second [lap], they said I had upwards of almost 15 minutes.”

Howes was able to back it down a little on the third and final lap, and took the checkered flag after four hours, 22 minutes, 51 seconds of tackling the race alone. That put him comfortably ahead of runners-up Brody Honea and Tallon Taylor, who debuted a new bike for a new team—a CRF450RX for Cooper Motorsports 747/Monarch Honda—and had to come through plenty of dust from their ninth-place start. They finished in 4:31:35, Honea saying, "We just rode super smart, picked good lines, and tried to stay out of the dust as much as possible when we could. You've just got to pick your choices through the dust and choose your battles.

“Tallon got [Parker] Steele that last lap and we ended up in third [physically but second on time].”

Indeed, Steele and partner Jake Longtine who’d started fourth aboard their 440 Motorsports KTM, finished in 4:38:12, good enough for fourth Open Pro behind the Stevens Off-road Racing Husky FX 450 ridden by Zach Myers and Taylor Stevens. (Eric Kirby was originally going to share riding duties but had last-minute personal obligations that prevented him from making the trip.)

Jeremy Newton at BITD Parker 250
Brothers Deegan and Jeremy Newton had never teamed up but may want to rethink that after doing so at Parker. Despite losing fifth gear on their YZ250, they managed to pass a number of 450s and win 300cc Pro easily, placing seventh overall motorcycle.Mark Kariya

Second off the line, they ran into trouble early, Myers explaining, “About the first 15 to 20 miles when I got on the bike [at the midway pit 27 miles into the loop], I crashed pretty hard and bent the bars and broke the throttle. We just rode through it and managed [to keep going]. I’m just a little scraped up and we lost the tracker, but other than that, the bike still rode good—just a little lopsided!”

Jason Alosi and Wyatt Brittner earned fifth Open Pro in 4:43:00 aboard their Source 1 Commercial Cleaning Services KTM with Cooper Motorsports 747/Monarch Honda’s Danny Cooper/Tuffy Pearson/Nick Tolman (4:44:17), 300cc Pro winners Deegan and Jeremy Newton (4:49:36 on their Scootin’ Newton/La Piazza Pizza YZ250), Over 30 Pro winners Danny Cooper/Reece Honea (4:54:41 on their Cooper Motorsports 747/Monarch Honda CRF450RX), The Pit Enterprise XR650R-mounted Braxtan Gallian (4:55:48), and Certified Appliance Yamaha’s Alex Kortepeter/Luis Escobedo (4:58:05) rounding out the top 10 bikes overall.