Ricky Brabec thought he had things under control at the Sage Riders National Hare & Hound near Jericho, Utah, round three in the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series.
After all, the Johnny Campbell Racing Honda rider had led from not long after the bomb, maintaining about almost a minute cushion over his closest rival—Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright who’d led at the bomb but surrendered the position when he crashed later in the sand dunes that serve as the start for the Sage Riders event.
“I was riding good; I thought for sure I had it wrapped up,” Brabec . All I had to do was get to the end.”
But after leading relatively comfortably for two of the three loops in near-perfect conditions after some overnight rain and good cloud cover (which helped promote tight racing), Brabec ran into a problem. Heading out onto the last loop, he got lost.
By the time he found the correct trail, Argubright was right on him.
“It kind of gave me a new [lease on] life, seeing him [right in front of me],” Argubright said. “After that, we just battled, like back and forth. It was easier to follow. We had some good passes, but it was all clean—it was awesome!”
Brabec tried to stay with the Husky, but he found himself unable to negotiate the twisty trail quite as well as the 2014 AMA West Hare Scrambles champ. As the finish drew closer, he decided accepting second place and its 25 points was better than trying harder and risking a crash that’d cost him more positions and points. Besides, he had to keep himself healthy for the rally he’s racing in Africa next week (his flight leaves on Wednesday).
After finishing second behind Argubright, Brabec now has 80 points, which is still comfortably head of the 56 that Argubright now has as he moves into second in points. Third in points is now jointly held by Purvines Racing Beta’s Axel Pearson who was third on the day and privateer Ricky’s Custom Shutters & Blinds Yamaha-mounted Ryan Smith, who was sole owner of second in points going into the day before his sixth-place finish.
A mere eight seconds separated fourth and fifth overall, with Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Yamaha’s Justin Morgan holding off Chidester Transportation Racing Yamaha rider Joe Wasson. Don’t feel too sorry for Wasson, though; he claimed the FMF Pro 250 win for the second straight round to pad his class points lead.
After Smith in sixth, Nick Tolman took a career-best seventh overall and second FMF Pro 250 followed by Cooper Ashton (third FMF Pro 250), Max Eddy, Jr., and Taran Taylor.