Bikes continue to get more specialized, which often leads to riders following suit. But there are exceptions, one apparently being Ricky Brabec.

After a disappointing DNF at the Dakar Rally in January, he got back aboard his works Honda CRF450 Rally and won his first try at the Sonora Rally in Mexico last week for the Monster Energy Honda Team.

Whisked immediately away by helicopter to an American airport after that race finished on Friday, he then caught a commercial flight to Boise for round three of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series: the 42nd Annual Rabbit Creek 100 put on by Dirt Inc.

That gave him Saturday to recover from four days of rally racing and prepare to switch gears to give his Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda CRF450RX its series debut—all while dealing with a diarrhea-inducing bug he’d picked up on Thursday at the rally.

Ricky Brabec, Idaho National Hare & Hound 2017
From winning a rally in Mexico on the works CRF450 Rally one day to winning a hare & hound in the National H&H debut of the JCR Honda CRF450RX two days later, Ricky Brabec demonstrated speed, endurance and adaptability—and he did it while sick!Photo by Mark Kariya

“The transition from the rally bike to the normal CRF450X [that’s been my race bike for a few years now] is not so bad,” he noted. “But I’m out here on the new CRF450RX which is completely different than the ‘X. It’s a little bit smaller of a bike, [more] motocross-y.

“I had one day to recuperate and it wasn’t enough. Riding a big ol’ rally bike to riding a little motocross bike is hard, and my first [loop] out here was hard. I had arm pump.”

When the Rabbit Creek 100 started, he got an excellent start on his new bike and hit the bomb behind only Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha-mounted Gary Sutherlin, the winner of round two.

Though joined by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright, Sutherlin’s teammate Nick Burson and local favorite David Kamo, as the miles wore on in the two-loop/125-mile race, the race at the front eventually became a two-man duel between Sutherlin and Brabec. The two went back and forth, each trying different lines to make hairball passes until finally Brabec made one stick and managed to stay in front for the final 20 miles.

“Once the arm pump went away, confidence started coming back,” Brabec said.

Sutherlin had to settle for second, though he was probably lucky to even finish as he’d hit a rock hard enough to put a hole in his YZ450FX’s ignition cover. Luckily for him, part of the rock remained embedded in the hole, reducing oil leakage to a minimum.

Gary Sutherlin, Idaho National Hare & Hound 2017
Round-two winner Gary Sutherlin spent all day up front, and most of the time he battled with Brabec for the lead. This time, though, Brabec made the final decisive pass, forcing the Purvines DA8 Racing rider to settle for second.Photo by Mark Kariya

Burson made it a 2-3 day for Purvines DA8 Racing, though he was miserably cold after hitting Sinker Creek fast and getting drenched by the frigid snowmelt. With his hands and most of the rest of his body numb, he simply tried to stay upright and avoid mistakes on his way to third, which is his best finish in the series this year and a welcome relief after two years of DNFs at this race.

After mixing it up with the lead group in the early going, semi-retired Kamo proved he’s still got endurance as well as a decent turn of speed, finishing a strong fourth on his PCI Race Radios KTM 450 XC-F. Argubright slowed markedly over the final 56-mile loop on his FX 450, hampered by an ongoing wrist issue while Axel Pearson made it a Purvines DA8 Racing 2-3-6 day. Seventh went to Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Honda rider Justin Morgan who’d been under the weather all week, made the 15-hour drive from near the Mexican border to Murphy the day before, then turned around to drive to start pre-running for next weekend’s San Felipe 250.

SRT KTM’s Morgan Crawford entered the FMF Pro 250 class instead of Vet and won, finishing eighth overall, with Nic Garvin and Taylor Stevens rounding out the top 10 overall.

Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha rider Tyler Lynn took second FMF Pro 250 and 11th overall with Burke Barnes earning his first class podium with a third-place finish.

In Women A, FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Kacy Martinez-Coy found herself battling U.S. Women’s World Trophy team rider Jamie Wells over the last few miles, with Wells beating her to the finish line. But since Wells entered the 250cc A class (which she won, by the way), Martinez-Coy still came away with the 30 points for the Women A triumph over Rebecca Stout and round-two winner Britney Gallegos.

David Kamo & Erek Kudla, Idaho National Hare & Hound 2017
AMA Off-road Racing Manager Erek Kudla made the trip from Ohio to observe and, in this instance, help complete the hare’s ensemble. The hare for the Youth National, by the way, was local favorite David Kamo who wore his regular gear the next day en route to a strong fourth overall.Photo by Mark Kariya