Taylor Robert Pulls Off Improbable Win In Utah Hare & Hound

From 50th to first despite horrible dust

full line of bikes
When a full line of bikes goes off, being in front is a definite advantage.Mark Kariya

The silty soil in the Little Sahara Recreation Area near Jericho, Utah, used for the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club’s 58th Cherry Creek Hare & Hound creates huge clouds of blinding dust when disturbed by a tire.

It only takes a few bikes to create a veritable wall of dust and that’s what FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Taylor Robert found himself looking at when the banner dropped and his 450 XC-F didn’t start right away for the race serving as round 5 of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Presented by FMF.

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith (62) led through the first few turns of the bomb run’s chicanes followed by Kendall Norman (46) and Nick Burson (657). Utah racer Nick Tolman (243) is barely visible and much farther back buried in the dust cloud is Taylor Robert.Mark Kariya

While Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Nick Burson, Pro Circuit Honda’s Kendall Norman, SRT Husqvarna’s Ryan Smith and the rest of the first line sped away, all Robert could do was tread gingerly through the first miles of the race.

“I couldn’t see five feet in front of me. I was going down the [bomb run] like third gear, half throttle—maybe,” Robert said.

But he went to work quickly and after some 30 miles of that fast 40-mile first loop, he slipped past Smith for third, though he didn’t even see dust from Norman and Burson.

Robert is in the middle
Robert is in the middle of the frame here and facing a huge task.Mark Kariya

So he charged. Before he reached the end of the first loop, he’d passed Burson for second and a few miles into the tighter 40-mile second loop, he nailed Norman for the lead and went on to score his third win of the season.

Norman eventually ceded second to Burson, revealing that he’d hurt his thumb in a crash the week before and couldn’t hold on very well, but third place was enough to keep him atop the points, 127 to Burson’s 107. After missing two rounds due to injury, Robert is solidly third at 90.

A few hundred yards before, Smith missed a turn, handing third place to Robert. But he’s still two minutes behind Norman and Burson at this point some 30 or so miles into the race. With much less dust to contend with, though, Robert quickly made up ground and went on to take his third win of the season with the most impressive ride to date.Mark Kariya
Robert leading Smith
Even with just one bike ahead, visibility was a challenge as seen here with Robert leading Smith.Mark Kariya
After running third late in the race, Burson put in a charge that allowed him to pass Norman and finish second despite being sick most of the race. Here, he splashes through Cherry Creek about a mile from the finish.Mark Kariya
Riding with a damaged thumb, Norman counted himself lucky to be able to hold on, much less ride at race-leading pace for most of the way. But when Robert and then Burson came up to challenge in the latter stages, he couldn’t successfully up the pace safely and had to settle for third, though he remains atop the point table.Mark Kariya
Josh Knight
Although work and other commitments prevent Utah’s Josh Knight from following the full series, winning the FMF Pro 250 division and finishing fifth overall (even after running out of gas and having to push his bike the final couple hundred yards to the finish) has him thinking about making a run at it next year.Mark Kariya
Chance Fullerton
Chance Fullerton came into Cherry Creek with three straight FMF Pro 250 triumphs but had to settle for third. He still leads Daemon Woolslayer in points, 136–115.Mark Kariya
Brandy Richards
Brandy Richards notched her third consecutive victory in Women A. Like Taylor Robert, though, she missed two rounds due to injury and is third in points behind Britney Gallegos (who was third on the day) and Rachel Stout (second for the day).Mark Kariya
Pee Wees
Even the Pee Wees can feel pressure. Waylon Honnold led every lap of the Pee Wee race with class point leader Grady Ballow right behind. Both now have two wins with Ballow ahead in points, 100–85.Mark Kariya
Little tires and sand
Little tires and sand can be a tricky combination.Mark Kariya
Bradley East
Despite having switched from a TM to a Husky since round 4 two weeks ago, Bradley East had little trouble in getting his third win of the season with round 4 winner Aaron Rhodes having to settle for second this time.Mark Kariya
Kortney Kearsley
Although not a series regular, Kortney Kearsley proved to be more than competitive and easily won the Girls 12-15 class over point leader Ty Woolslayer.Mark Kariya
Micro Mini 65cc 7-11 has Jett Lessing
A fourth triumph in Micro Mini 65cc 7-11 has Jett Lessing well positioned to successfully defend that number-one plate.Mark Kariya