OMG, that was hard!
The Hixton D16 Harescrambles was this past weekend. Hixton is a storied race location for Scott and I. We have been racing there since we both got into this sport. I have always had good results there, never outside of the top 3 in whatever class I was riding that year. So, there was a lot of anticipation building up to the race.
Unfortunately, the weather had different ideas. The Hixton MX track and grounds were blessed with more than 6 inches of rain in the week leading up to the race weekend. On the night before the race, they experienced another 1.5 inches of rain. The ground was completely saturated. There really wasn’t any big mud holes, but the whole place rutted up and became rutted, rooty and rocky. It beat the crap out of you. There were ruts to get stuck in, ruts to pull you down on a sidehill etc…
Our friend Matt Herrington laid out the course. Matt has been racing on the national level this past 2 years, but has come back to our area for a bunch more races lately. He is currently leading the D16 AA class overall. He, my teammate Scott and JD Friebel are having epic races these days. Matt did a fantastic job laying out an old school tough harescrambles race. I absolutely loved it. I do not think that I have been on a tougher and more fun at the same time HS course in a long time. It had fast sections, slow and tight, big uphills, downhills etc…
There was a decent sized crowd there and about 10 people on the +40 line at the start. We made a quick turn onto the MX track at the start, and John got the holeshot into the first turn. I was about 4th. I pushed my way immediately to John’s back wheel, and he and I blitzed the MX track on the first lap. As we were leaving the track, he slid out and I boosted past him for 1st going into the woods. That was not really what I intended, as I had not had a chance to look at the course.
The first lap was tough, with a whole group of guys breathing down my exhaust pipe, and a really tough to follow course. We made it around the first lap with a bit of drama and course finding, but by the time we came around for the 2nd lap, the course was much easier to follow. I put my head down and checked out.
On about the 6th lap, I got stuck in one of the developing ruts, and had to get off the bike and push it off onto it’s side to get it out of the rut. While I was doing all of that, John got by me. Even though my Rekluse clutch kept the RMZ running through my shenanigans, I had a hard time getting back up to speed. Eventually I did, and started to put down good laps again.
It was a hot and muddy combined day, a day for Sahara Moose gear. I was glad I had it.
During the last lap, I began to see John in front of me – so I pushed up to him. He could hear me coming, and although he admitted later that he was completely fragged at that point, he made himself really wide and I just could not get by him. We pushed and shoved and fought back and forth, but I could not get him. There was one last hill on the last part of the lap that had multiple lines and I found a good one. I poured it on to the top and almost got past him, but I would have had to tbone him to go into the lead. Not what us old guy racers need to be doing to each other.
We finished out the lap right on top of each other. This time he held me off, but we are virtually the exact same pace these days. This is really fun.
My teammate Scott had a similar ride. An epic battle with JD, and ended up finishing just behind him.
Overall, the Vesrah Suzuki team made a good showing and had a great time.
Check out the gallery of photos below. They are courtesy of Dave Hollub at http://www.spiderwebmxpics.com
I am totally sporting the old retro Vesrah Suzuki Offroad bell moto 8 on this day.