2019 Lone Star Hare & Hound Race Report
Although his start wasn’t the best at the Lubbock Trail Riders’ Lone Star National in Kalgary, Texas, Off-road Support/TBT Racing/Kawasaki’s Jacob Argubright didn’t panic. “After my start today, I was thinking, ‘Well, I really don’t know if I can do it, but it happened last round, so I think I can do it,’ ” he said.
Just last month at the opening round of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, presented by FMF, the privateer star found himself in similar circumstances, but he didn’t surrender. “I’m more mellow this year,” he explained. “I knew I had some work to do on the start, so I just kind of went to work.”
Little by little, he worked his way toward the front until only 2018 series champ Kendall Norman lay ahead as they wound their way through the long, twisty section called “Toothpick” on the second 30-mile loop. “I had Argubright on me for, like, 15 miles and I just threw it away on this big-ass boulder [going up a hill at the end of that loop],” Norman said. (He wasn’t the only one.)
From that point on, it was all Argubright as he claimed his second win in a row, though this one may have been more physical as he pointed out, “It was like a corner track for 90 miles. It was fun, but I’m tired.”
Beta USA’s Joe Wasson finished one minute and six seconds behind (matching his best-to-date result from last year’s finale) with Gnarly Routes KTM’s Cole Kirkpatrick third overall and the Pro 250 winner.
For local rider Kirkpatrick, the result made up for running out of fuel while doing well here last year. In fact, it was likely his best finish (and first podium) for a national-caliber event in the 10 years since he retired from the AMA Enduro National Championship circuit. And being more of an enduro rider, he’s always been more comfortable on slower, more technical trails, which the Lone Star provided in abundance as all the series regulars pointed out.
He got a great start on his 250 SX, challenging Norman for the lead until giving it up voluntarily. “I checked up once I got into the riverbed [shortly after the start] because I had no business leading those guys in that fast stuff!” Kirkpatrick admitted. “My focus on the first loop—I think I was as far back as seventh or eighth—but I just wanted to stay loose. I knew it was going to get tighter as the day went on, so I really tried to focus on conserving some energy.” He continued, “This is such a long race, any wasting of energy is just going to destroy you on the last loop.”
As the race wore on, he and Beta USA’s Chance Fullerton went at it for a number of miles until the 2018 Pro 250 champ (now riding in the Open Pro division on his 430 RR Factory Edition) blew a turn enough for Kirkpatrick to get by for good.
“I kept trying to stay motivated because I knew the race was almost over and my body was hurting, but I was doing good—that’s encouraging,” Kirkpatrick shared. “I saw Kendall and I could tell he wasn’t riding like Kendall should. I rode with him for a minute, then he blew a corner and I got by him and tried to keep hammering down in the tight stuff because I still knew we were going to have to run down that riverbed and I didn’t want to drag race his Honda 450 (Norman was still on last year’s CRF450X race bike) or him in that riverbed!"
Norman held on for fourth followed by Fullerton, Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Nick Burson (who’d crashed along with Wasson off the start), Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Ricky Brabec, GasGas rider Clayton Gerstner, Cycle Shack KTM local Ryan Grantom, and Beta USA’s Zane Roberts, the Pro 250 runner-up.
Afterward, Kirkpatrick summed up the feeling of lining up as a local against the National stars once more: “It’s super-fun! I’m glad the Hare & Hound series came out here [again]. It’s a long haul [for them] and it’s definitely different than what these guys are used to, but it’s still really cool to line up next to guys like Kendall and Ricky. It was a great turnout and hopefully everybody has a safe trip home and comes back out again next year. I don’t know [if] my body can handle that [again]! I thought I’d been doing pretty good at home riding, but the lining up and racing, there’s no substitute for that. Today was a lot of fun and I’ll be walking funny tomorrow, I’m sure!”