Ricky Brabec Wins Red Mountain National Hare & Hound 2016

JCR Honda’s Ricky Brabec in the driver’s seat with a fairly comfortable points lead after dominating Red Mountain NHHA race.

The Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series is coming down to the wire with Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Ricky Brabec in the driver’s seat with a fairly comfortable points lead after his dominating performance at round six of the series outside of Red Mountain, California.

Ricky Brabec, Red Mountain NHHA 2016
Though he lost points by missing round five (it conflicted with the Atacama Rally in Chile), Ricky Brabec’s decisive start-to-finish triumph at round six added another five points to the cushion he enjoys over Jacob Argubright, who was second, almost seven minutes behind at the finish.Photo by Mark Kariya

He’d made a great start to the series with 1-2-2-1 finishes before he had to skip round five as it conflicted with the Atacama rally in Chile he rode in order to fulfill his Team HRC Rally responsibility.

That cut the 2014 champ’s points lead over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright to 12, 110-98, with Argubright’s record 2-20-1-3-3. There are no throwaways in the Pro class.

So, Brabec went into the Jackrabbits Motorcycle Club/NHHA National with only one thing in mind: winning.

“Missing the last round hurt [my] points [lead] dramatically so of course I’m going to come out here and I want to race and I want to win so I’m going to ride harder to try to push to get the number one plate,” he declared.

And he did just that, leading from start to finish and pulling away in the process, despite a rear mousse that disintegrated on the third of four separate, shorter-than-normal loops. He stretched that winning margin to almost seven minutes at the finish, padding his points lead by five over runner-up Argubright who noted, “I’m scratching my head a little bit; Ricky’s riding amazing and hats off to him—he killed it from start to finish. I’ll just keep working hard and keep trying to progress and take one step at a time, keep climbing the ladder.”

But with only one round left, he’s running out of time, though as everyone knows, anything can happen in racing.

“I’m happy to come away with the win and make the point gap [17] points now so the last round should be not easy but easier,” Brabec agreed.

For the first time this his troubled season, reigning champion Ivan Ramirez podiumed with his strong third-place finish. “I got a good start and had second for quite a bit then Jacob got by me [on the second loop],” he said. “I just wanted to secure third [after that].”

The FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team desert specialist had but eight seconds cushion over hard-charging Rick’s Custom Shutters & Blinds Yamaha rider Ryan Smith while Bonanza Plumbing/FMF KTM support rider Gary Sutherlin rounded out the top five.

Being the penultimate round, of course, some riders clinched their respective class championships, like Idaho’s Joe Wasson who won the FMF Pro 250 class for the fifth consecutive round, placing seventh overall behind Purvines Racing Beta’s Axel Pearson.

Joe Wasson, Red Mountain NHHA 2016
Chidester Transport Racing’s Joe Wasson dominated the FMF Pro 250 category in his first full year chasing the series, with the Jackrabbits victory his fifth in a row to wrap up the class championship. He has one more round to accomplish his goal of an overall podium on a 250.Photo by Mark Kariya

AS Racing Suzuki-mounted Sage Vincent repeated his Open A victory from round five and placed eighth overall ahead of Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Yamaha’s Justin Morgan (who had to battle back from a poor start) and FMF Pro 250 runner-up Jeff Trulove (who’d ridden to third in Idaho, his only previous National this season).

Since the round in Nevada scheduled for this coming weekend was cancelled, the field has to wait until next month for the finale. Well, all except Brabec and Ramirez who’ll be taking part in the Oilibya Rally of Morocco on October 1-7.

Womens Podium, Red Mountain NHHA 2016
The top three overall women (from left): runner-up Rebecca Stout, first-time winner Stephanie Woolslayer and third-place Sharon Mowell split the $900 purse from Off-road Support.Photo by Mark Kariya
Tyler Lynn, Red Mountain NHHA 2016
Tyler Lynn wrapped up the Big Wheel (150cc, 12-15 years old) championship by winning for the fifth time, Mason Matthies (N1) finishing second with a broken exhaust.Photo by Mark Kariya