FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Taylor Robert started the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, presented by FMF, in the best way possible, winning the season opener back in January, but his hopes of continuing that run took an unplanned break when a rider going the wrong way at a practice track hit him head-on a month later, breaking both of Robert’s arms and putting him on the sidelines for two months.
So it was a bit of déjà vu when he made his second start of the season at round 4—the Sage Riders Motorcycle Club’s Sage Rider National Hare & Hound outside of Jericho, Utah—and won another one, though it was a tight battle with three and four riders in the mix for nearly the entire way due to perfect riding conditions from an unexpected storm the day before.
“We just had this insane three-way battle; everybody was showing everybody a wheel,” Robert said after winning in a longer-than-average three hours, 46 minutes, and 22 seconds on his KTM 450 XC-F. “I knew I could come back and hopefully win; I was pretty sure I could do it today, but it wasn’t easy!”
Series point leader Kendall Norman proved to be his strongest competitor, the Pro Circuit Honda CRF450X-mounted 2010 series champ coming from a so-so start to trade the lead with Robert a number of times before settling for second in 3:46:46. “All in all, I’m stoked,” Norman said. “It was pretty wild out there.”
Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Nick Burson was one of a number of the front-runners who got lost but rallied back on the faster, 52-mile second loop to run down Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Dalton Shirey a few turns before the finish to steal third, Shirey a disappointed fourth. SRT Husqvarna’s Ryan Smith posted fifth, his best result in two years.
Round 5 will revisit the area in two weeks with the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club hosting. Norman will go into the event with 106 points to 82 for Burson, 71 for Shirey, and 60 for Robert.