2019 Cherry Creek Hare & Hound Race Report
Beta USA’s Joe Wasson rolled into the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, presented by FMF, with two goals in mind: Take the overall at a race and win the title. That he was even able to line up after what many would consider a career-ending wrist injury two years ago is a testament to his strength of will and capacity to endure pain while rehabilitating that wrist. But to think about winning a National, let alone the championship? A pipe dream, many would’ve said.
However, he proved the doubters wrong when he picked up that initial victory at round 2 a few weeks ago and when the series visited the Little Sahara Recreation Area near Jericho, Utah, for the 59th Cherry Creek Hare & Hound, hosted by the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club, he kept the ball rolling and made it two in a row.
Those two triumphs elevated him to the top of the point table after four rounds, tying him at 106 points with Off-road Support/TBT Racing/Kawasaki-mounted privateer Jacob Argubright. Wasson’s record through the first four rounds is 3-2-1-1 while Argubright’s is 1-1-2-3. Interesting.
“I’m ecstatic right now, so excited!” Wasson declared.
Although he didn’t lead the entire race as he’d done at round 3 in Idaho, Wasson was pleased with the way his day went, getting off to a good start, passing a few riders early, and settling into second behind 3 Bros./SRT/Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey, the holeshot winner.
Wasson explained, “So I was able to [hold] second and we had a pretty quick pit [at the end of the 25-mile first loop]. As Dalton pulled in for gas, I was able to sneak by him right there and I just kind of put it in overdrive and set the cruise control and went for it.”
Unknown to most, the Husqvarna rider led the first loop despite crippling arm-pump. After yielding the point to Wasson in the pits, he went out onto the second loop and waited to regroup: “When I was stuck in Joe’s dust, Jacob snuck by me and I sat in their dust. Toward the end of the second loop (also 25 miles long but more technical up in the trees), I was starting to catch back up to Jacob. I got rid of my arm-pump.
“We hit the valley [on the 45-mile-long third loop] and these [Husky FX 450s] have the six-speed that’s super nice, so I just clicked it in sixth and went right by him like he wasn’t even there.”
The five-speed gearbox on Argubright’s KX450 just didn’t give him the top speed needed to stay with Shirey, forcing him to settle for third on the day and giving props to his rivals, though he vowed not to let it affect his championship hopes.
“Joe dropped me in the trees and I just didn’t have it today,” Argubright graciously offered, though he added, “The season’s still young and a lot can happen. I’m going to come back and take it.”
(While Wasson headed back home to Arizona, Shirey made the nine-hour drive south to California where he raced round 4 of the FMF AMA National Grand Prix Championship Series, finishing a remarkable third. Argubright made an even longer drive through the night north and claimed fifth on Sunday at the muddy Odessa 100 desert race.)
Completing another great day in the desert for Beta USA, Chance Fullerton finished a strong fourth with Zane Roberts fifth overall and first Pro 250 for the second round in a row. Fullerton holds third in points at 60 in his first full year aboard the 430 RR after winning the Pro 250 title last year.
Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Axel Pearson survived a huge high-speed get-off less than 2 miles from the finish when he hit a kicker at the cattle guard a few feet from the abandoned cabin where Porter Rockwell (bodyguard to Mormon leaders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young) once hid out.
Although banged up and apparently suffering a slight concussion, he was able to remount his damaged YZ450FX and salvage sixth overall ahead of teammate Nick Burson (who was sick and is tied for third in points with Fullerton), Pro 250 runner-up Daemon Woolslayer on his Economy Floor YZ250FX, Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Preston Campbell (third Pro 250), and MotoXperts Suzuki rider Taran Taylor.
Defending series champ Kendall Norman and JCR Honda’s Ricky Brabec sat out the race due to earlier injuries. Coming back to the series after missing round 3 due to a conflicting race, Colorado Recycling KTM’s Brandy Richards easily ran off with the Pro Women’s win to regain the class point lead over Beta’s Morgan Tanke, who had an off weekend and finished fourth behind Richards, Rachel Stout, and Britney Gallegos.