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Blais Racing Services NHHA Round 9 Race Reports! Silver State Trailblazers


Blais Racing Services NHHA Round 9 Race Reports!  Silver State Trailblazers National
National Hare and Hound Round 9
Silver State Trailblazers
By Skyler Howes: 
Round 9 of the AMA NHHA series was a point to point race from Panaca to Caliente, NV. After racing a few local MRAN races in that area, I was more than stoked to get back and race there especially after seeing all of the pictures of wet ground. We had reports of rain there all week and the drive up confirmed that with the asphalt still wet. As I crested the hill and came down in to Panaca, I saw nothing but dry ground and dust in the distance, go figure. I pulled in to the pits, geared up and putted around to make sure jetting and everything was good for the higher elevation. Of course, Blais Racing Services had that KTM 300XC running crisp and feeling perfect. The Pro signing and spaghetti dinner was awesome. A lot of fans came by for some autographs, it was a great time. Thanks SSTB and Yucca Chuckers for putting that together.

Race day!

I finally went over to check out the bomb run. I found a perfectly groomed line right up the middle. Towards the end there was a large wash and on the other side was a big sand wall to jump up. Luckily the person that made that perfect line built a sweet jump over the wash and had everything ready to go. I parked my bike there and came back after the riders meeting to find out that the champ, Kurt Caselli is the one who put in the work on that line. 

The banner raised as the rain started to come down, it dropped and we were off. I had the jump on everyone and was pinned. To my right, I could hear the fire breathing 450 that was Kurt Caselli coming in hot. I was absolutely pinned hoping that I could hold him off to the wash. He was able to sneak in just as we hit the jump and crossed the wash. I kept right on his rear tire and was able to see fairly well until he brake checked for the sand wall on the other side of the wash. I locked up the breaks and veered off so I wouldn't run into him. As we both hit the sand, Kurt launched in the air and both my feet got kicked off the pegs and sent me straight into a flying W. I kept the bike pinned, landed back on the seat and pulled it off. This caused me to lose quite a bit of momentum thus losing spots to Ivan Ramirez and Jacob Argubright.

As we crested the first hill climb, other racers had some lines to the side and were able to squeak in on me putting me back a couple more positions as well. By that time the rain had really started to come down. The first 20 miles or so the entire top ten was within about 100 yards of each other. I was riding close behind Axel Pearson when course arrows suddenly said to turn left. I locked them up and tried to turn as Nick Burson came in hot and T boned me as he blew the corner as well. It surprised us both as we made eye contact and set out for a battle. He made a quick move on me and made it stick. I was cruising right behind him and literally 40 feet to our right, lightning struck. I about went blind and deaf as well as my fingers and lips were tingling. It was the craziest thing to experience. We dropped into a wash as the flash flood was starting. Water was flowing in from the valley into this wash and we were all just barely out running the water. I was able to gain closer to Axel Pearson as he was trying to wipe his goggles. He ended up just taking them off which was a huge mistake because then came the hail. The course opened up and we could start picking up the pace a little more. It felt like I was getting shot endlessly by tiny air soft BB's. My EKS brand goggles were amazing, I did not wipe or even switch out one pair of goggles the entire race. Nothing but clear vision. I put the pass on Axel and passed a couple more riders that went down. I locked on to TJ Hannifin's rear tire as the rain stopped and the dust began.

The washes were insane. Perfect berms and traction, my Kenda tires were hooking up awesome and I was pushing hard to get around TJ. Coming into some tight trees just after Alt pit 1, Axel came out of no where bombing through the trees and passed both TJ and I. After the main pit, I was able to make a pass stick on the inside of TJ and checked out. After a couple of miles I had caught back up to Nick Burson and Axel and closed in to their dust. Just as we came down a fire road, we quickly 180 turned to parallel on to a trail back up. TJ decided he didn't want to ride all the way down to the corner and B lined across the terrain back in front of me. I lost it. I put my head down and charged hard doing everything I could to stay close enough and not get stuck in his dust. I was finally able to make another pass stick on TJ on the rocky roads and I was sure to let him know I wasn't happy about his B line. I kept charging hard and eventually caught back up to Axel after losing so much time behind TJ. We passed the 90 mile marker and knew I had to make something happen quick. I was close enough to get hit with roost from Axel but just couldn't get in on him in any of the tight sand wash corners. 

The wash split and a couple of lines opened up. I chose to veer off and hopefully open it up before the next corner. Of course the line I chose dead ended into some bushes and I had to cut back over to the main line losing me quite a bit of ground. Coming around the next corner Axel was gone. Couldn't see or hear him so I raged on hoping to gain more ground. As we exit the wash and back on to some fire roads, Axel had put a decent gap on me. I charged hard as the rain began again. We made the descent down into the town of Caliente into the most unique part of the course. We crossed bridges, rode through trailer parks and underneath the main highway through the creek which was flowing quite well. The finish of the race was in town at the park in Caliente. Such an awesome event to come race, one of the best all year and one I will for sure suggest to all in the future.

I ended the race in 7th Place Overall. I am happy to come back after a serious injury to still hold a good pace and run with some of the best off road racers in the country. I had a few bobbles in the dust but virtually rode a mistake free race. I am so stoked on the battles that I had with everyone and how well my bike ran and felt. 

With one more race left in the National Hare and Hound season, I want to give a big shout out to all of my sponsors. Thank you all so much for the awesome opportunity to represent you in my racing. Blais Racing Services, Fasst Company, KTM, Torco Oil, ESR suspension, Race Tech, RAD Mfg, Alpinestars, Kenda, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway, FMF , Rekluse, HBD Motografx, Regina, TLD, BRP, Bullet Proof, DirtTricks, Eline, IMS, No Toil, Acerbis, Muscle Milk, Xbrand Goggles, A'ME Grips, TMFG Designs and Bike Week Radio. 
By: Ben Meza, 200A Champ!

Let me just start of by saying that in 2012, the Panaca Hare and Hound was by far my favorite! I was going into the race this year simply expecting to have a good time! Afte...r talking with team manager Chris Blais we decided I would bring my new 250sx out to race/test for the 2014 season.
Ben Meza in the Pits for some fresh goggles
We showed up at the staging area around 1 o'clock on Friday and immediately got started with some testing for the higher elevation. I was feeling extremely confident in my machine and more than pumped for the race the following day!

We had an awesome meet the Pros/autograph session later in the evening. The people in Lincoln County are some of the nicest I've ever met! After a fun evening we headed to the hotel to get some rest before the race.

Race Day came up on us fast. I took my bike over to the start line and took one last look over the bike. Everything was good to go! I lined up on the far right side and waited for the banner to drop! The banner dropped and my freshly ported Blais Racing KTM ripped off the line! My Kenda Washougal Tires hooked up and pulled me to the front of the pack! The second we took off, the sky erupted in thunder and lightning! Rain and hail plummeted from the heavens! It felt like I was getting roosted by a 450 from all angles!! 
I blocked it out and just started to charge! I made some quick passes on Dan Capparelli and Josh Knight, then started to work on Ryan Smith. I made it by him only to make a mistake and let him by me. I chased him all the way into the first pit where I stopped for a quick splash of gas. After the pit I hoped in behind Dan(who didn't have to stop for any gas) and Ryan. I tried to keep up with them but made a few stupid mistakes allowing them to gap me a little. The course tightened up and I heard a two stroke behind me, I glanced back to see Levi Hutchings who I knew was in my class. I tried to step up my game but blew a corner and let him slip by. Right behind him was Josh Knight. I hoped back on in front of him and just got on the gas! I held him off until the next pit where I ha some minor set backs. Luckily the Blais Racing crew got me back out as quick as possible! I got back out in front of Austin Keys who also happened to be in my class after losing a couple of positions. I tried my best to hold Austin off, but he was a little more aggressive through the rocks then I was willing to be. He made the pass and then we kept our position the rest of the way to the finish line. 
I ended up finishing right behind Austin and right in front of Ryan as 5th Place 250A and 16th Overall - my first time on my new 250! I'm really happy with how I finished and I feel like I have a better understanding of the 250! I really want to thank Chris 
Blais for getting my bike ready to race and giving me the opportunity to change up bikes! I also want to thank my Dad for driving the whole way to the race as well as being my chase truck for the pits! Without him none of this would be possible. 

Of course I'd like to thank all my wonderful sponsors and supporters: Blais Racing, Fasst Co, ESR Suspension, FMF, Race Tech, Dirt Tricks, Troy Lee Designs, BRP, Regina, HBD Moto Graphx, Fastway, KTM, Scott Goggles, Bullet Proof Designs, Scotts, Alpinestars, Muscle Milk, HBMC, and Especially the Man Above for always keeping me safe! Thanks and I'll see you all at the races!!
By: Sam Bangert, 200B  
Round 9 of the NHHA series was hosted in the beautiful town of Panaca, NV. This is by far my favorite race because of how awesome everyone is and how nice everyone is and they just put on an awesome race. 
Blais Racing's Sam Bangert getting fuelled up by his dad Mitch and Erek Kudla
Leading up to this race, the pictures online were getting me stoked. On Friday when we arrived, I went for a ride and my bike was running awesome. I got everything ready and got all signed up. The autograph signing was Friday night and that's always a lot of fun. Seeing all the stoked little kids is where it"s at! 

Saturday morning I rode my bike over to the line pretty early and then I got ready for the race. As we were sitting on the line ready to go, thunder clouds started to role in. Lightning and loud thunder started as the experts took off. Shortly after and before my line started it started to hail!! The flag dropped and we all zoomed off!  
The first ten miles was wild! Going down rivers and waterfalls. Then all of a sudden my grip slipped off! Having no control over the bike I crashed and got wedged into a tree. It was difficult trying to get it out but I did. Then I took my goggles off. Worst decision ever! Thanks to Kevin DeJoung, he gave me a pair about mile 20. 

At the main pit I was at least 3 minutes behind class leader Kadin Guard. The second half of the race was the most fun! I would eventually catch Kadin and make the pass. The last two miles of the race were the most fun with all the water crossings! I was just pinned going through them. When I caught Trevor Hoffman, I wheelied through the water and doused him with water! This race was by far the most fun race ever! 

I would end up 1st Place in my class which won me the 2013 Championship for 200B class with one race to go!  
I want to thank the awesome people at Silver State Trailblazers for everything! My parents, the man above, Erek, Nic, Bryan, Kurt, Ivan, and Skyler for making me a better rider and all my sponsors: Blais Racing, Fasst Company, Amsoil, VCMC, KTM, Cytomax, Musclemilk, Cross Fit High Definition, Rad Wheels, Del Taco, FMF Oak Hills Brewery, Alpinestars, Asterisk, Rekluse, Racetech, ESR, Kenda, Fastway, Notoil, Eline, Troy Lee Design, IMS, Samco, and everyone else that helps. Finally I'd like to thank Jon Johnson for the new bell that reminds me to have fun!! YEE! YEE! 
By: Brendan Crow, 250A

I knew the Panaca National was going to be an interesting race to say the least. The weather report the week prior (along with some facebook pictures) made me think that I should be preparing for a mud race, BUT after riding around on Friday and getting aquainted with my new bike (I had literally less than an hour on it prior to this race, and thanks to Chris for helping me get it ready to race in time!) my mind had changed. It was dusty and hot which gave me flashbacks of heat exhaustion at the last round in Reno, thus creating a bit more nerves for race day. After getting my bike settled in, the hosting club held a spaghetti dinner/Pro signing at the fairgrounds which had a great turn out and it was awesome to be a part of it! 
Brendan Crow on his new Blais Racing KTM 250XC
The 11am start allowed for a little relaxation prior to the race, but things started to get very interesting as the drop of the banner came nearer. Sitting on the line I was happy to see that a couple clouds had rolled in, thus blocking the sun and making things cooler. Then it started to sprinkle. I thought to myself "I've raced in snow before; I can handle a little sprinkle", and as the banner dropped and the race took off things got very interesting. About 2 minutes into the race the clouds let loose and A TON of water started dumping. 5-10minutes into the race: we were racing through flash floods. Did I mention that lighting was striking all around us? A little after that? Hail. Racing through hail! We hadn't even got 20miles and you could have enough crazy race stories to entertain for hours! We still saw dust later in the course as well. I could sit here and write a novel on how awesome this race was, not only with the random weather but the course itself. I had a blast, and the point-to-point format that ended us right in the middle of Caliente worked perfectly. The last few miles we ran through the town, and it was one of the best parts of the race! Although I was being a little dainty on the new bike, my finish was decent at 26th overall and 8th or so 250A (250A had 20+ entries!).
This race will be one to remember for a long long time, and I can't wait to hear (and tell) the stories that unfolded at this race. All the smiles and great times are why we like to race in the first place, right? I want to thank all of my sponsors who support me and allow me to have these amazing times at the races: Blais Racing, Fasst Company, No Toil, Dirt Tricks, FMF, Race Tech, IMS, BRP, Xbrand, Acerbis, Alpinestars, Fastway, Bulletproof Designs, Rekluse, HBD graphics, TLD, and Samco.




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