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National Hare and Hound Round 8! Blais Racing Tackles the Reno Extreme!


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NHHA Round 8!  Blais Racing Tackles the Reno Extreme!

Press Release

July 22nd, 2013

Contact: Chris Blais

Blais Racing Services

BLAIS RACING / FASST CO Race Report from Round 8!  
2013 AMA NHHA GXE Reno Extreme
By: Skyler Howes, Pro #7
Skyler Howes at Reno Extreme
Skyler Howes on his Blais Racing Services/ RAD Mfg/ Kenda/ FMF/ KTM 300 XC

I want to give a big thank you to Erek Kudla and GXE for all the hard work in putting this race together. It was a great event and I want to show my appreciation to them for everything! This would be my first official race back from my back injury at Round 4 in April. I was stoked but my nerves were up there too! We took the long trek from St. George, UT up to Reno on Thursday afternoon. It rained on us the whole way up but of course once we got closer there was nothing but dry heat and clear sky!
The start fit the term "bomb run" perfectly. It looked like a bomb went off and there was nothing but lava rock. There was no "good" line up the hill; you just kind of got lucky if you didn't hit any of the bigger rocks. I chose the right side and waited for the flag to wave. Old reliable (Blais Racing KTM 300XC) fired right up and I was off to a great start up the hill. I came through the banners at the end of the bomb in third just behind Kurt Caselli and Jacob Argubright.
The first two miles consisted of the up and down hill start, a large pile of boulders, a tunnel and this off camber rocky section by the scoring. Just over a mile into the race I was already into a comfortable groove and my front end decided it didn't want to stay on the ground any more. I went down in the rocks and my front brake was stuck on. It took me a second to get everything rolling and by this time I was near last place on the Pro line. I made my way back around through the pit area where we straightened everything out and I was back on my way for the rest of the loop.
I picked a few riders off right away and kept chugging along through the rough terrain. The first two loops were quite uneventful. The Dirt Tricks radiator fans had my bike running cool through out the technical course and I made it around the loop strong and consistent with no major issues. Nic Garvin had an issue of his own which put him back to where I was. We both swapped positions a few times and cruised on together. I came into the pit, fueled up; re filled my hydration system and set back out on the final loop. Around the half way mark of the loop was a couple of gnarly up hills. The first one was all chewed up, poofy and loose from everyone spinning up it. If you could find a line off of the trail through the rocks, you could get traction and hopefully keep your momentum up the hill. Nic and my self were close coming to the hill. He chose the left side and I chose the right. As I was paddling my way up, I look off to my left where Nic made it to the top of the hill with no issue at all when I was still chugging my way up. I finally made it up the hill climb with no more sight of Nic. I turned up the pace to what was still safe but could not real in any more time.
Coming through the last canyon towards the finish I was extremely grateful for my Flexx Handlebars, Fastway system 5 steering damper, A'ME grips and ESR/Race Tech suspension. They all kept me relaxed and able to hang on for the grueling 60 mile race and come home with no blisters and able to hang on and push the entire time. Right as I was going to make my way through the tunnel under the truck course, BJ Baldwin's truck came charging by and gapped probably 6 feet right in front of me, it was sick!
I cruised on in to the finish felling quite accomplished. After only having a hand full of times on the bike since my injury and having the bike and my self in great shape, I was pretty happy. I came in scored at 9th pro and 13th overall. Not quite the result I was hoping for but still glad to have the opportunity to be back out and racing.
My Blais Racing KTM 300XC ran excellent the whole race pulling me in for a finish. The Kenda tires gripped and tracked around this rough course and kept me going along with Dirt Tricks sprockets, Regina chain and RAD Mfg wheels driving me forward. I could not do it without the help of all my sponsors, 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: Brendan Crow, 250A

Brendan Crow at Reno Extreme
Brendan Crow in the pits on his Blais Racing Services/ Samco/ Eline/BPD KTM 250XC

I had many mixed emotions coming into the 8th round of the NHHA series. I was excited to get back on the bike after not riding for a month, but was also scared for the very same reason. Having read and seen what the course looked like last year, and knowing that the temperatures would be much higher than my accustomed coastal weather, I knew that it was going to be brutal.
Off the start I had a decent jump and was right behind my Blais Racing teammate, Ben Meza, trying to attack the crazy uphill rock garden without making any mistakes, and around halfway up Ben decided to change up his line that put us inches from colliding. I was forced to change my line up the devious hill, and right when I thought that it was working a rock snuck up and threw me to the ground. I picked up my bike, and continued on knowing it was going to be an interesting race.
The course took a lot of patience and control to navigate all of the rocks. All of these landmines would have definitely ended my day quickly if it wasn't for all of the great equipment from Bullet Proof Designs, Dirt Tricks, and BRP that I could rely on to keep my bike in strong racing shape. I could try to describe how rocky the 20-mile loop was, but words cannot come close to helping anyone visualize it, only the ability to physically see what we had to race through.
After completing the 1st of 3 loops I had picked off many riders already and was feeling strong, but then I encountered the treacherous climbs that would send me into heat exhaustion.
The major hill climbs on the course did not seem very hard the 1st time through (although I did have to stop once), so I figured it would be roughly the same way every time. Man was I wrong! All of the bikes getting stuck and simply riding over the terrain loosened up the dirt and exposed rocks that made it feel as if I had found my way onto a hard endure course. While I was sitting on the hill in one of my many stuck moments, I looked back to notice the leaders. I can breathe a little easier and say that I watched at least the top 5 of the race all get stuck on this damn hill!
After finally wrestling myself past all of the climbs, I could feel the effects on my body. My vision started to get blurry, it was hard to focus, and it seemed that I couldn't help but hit every single rock that I didn't intend on. After crawling my way to the finish, I knew that I couldn't continue another lap.
This race was tough, it's that simple. I didn't particularly enjoy pulling off a lap early, but I feel that was a very good decision looking back on the race. With that said, I was still able to put myself in the 22nd Overall position and 3rd Place 250A. My first National class podium! I feel that I am learning more and more every race, and am glad to have all of the great support from my amazing sponsors to help me along the way: Blais Racing Services, Fasst co, HBD motographics, Kenda, No toil, Dirt Tricks, FMF, Race tech, ESR, IMS, BRP, Acerbis, Alpinestars, Fastway, Xbrand, Bulletproof Designs, Rekluse, Samco, and TLD. I also want to give a special thanks to Nate at Dirt Tricks for letting us stop by and giving us a tour of the facility in Nevada. It was awesome to see all of the machinery and behind-the-scenes look at how that stuff is created!  


By: Sam Bangert, 200B
Sam Bangert on his KTM 200 XC-W at Reno
Sam Bangert on his Blais Racing/ Fastway/ Fasstco, IMS, RAD Mfg, BPD, KTM 200 

For this round of the NHHA, I would spend the few weeks before riding and training with my teammate, Skyler Howes. This would be both our first races back after injuries.
As we pulled on to Rodger Norman's land, all I could see was rocks on top of rocks. Good thing I had my Fasst Company handlebars and Race Tech/ESR suspension to make the ride a little more smooth. I was not totally 100% for this race. I recently broke my scaphoid (bone in hand) and that has been bugging me.
The day before the race, we tested and got all the bikes dialed in then it was off to bed to get a good night's sleep. The race wasn't until noon so we got to sleep in somewhat. The bomb start was like no other, sending you straight up a gnarly, nasty hill. As the lines started to take off, more and more people were getting stuck going up this hill. The catch is that this will be the easiest part of the whole race! The flag dropped and I found myself drag racing with my buddy, Brandon Krause. He got to the top first, then Blake Guyse and myself. Blake and I have been racing against each other since we were 10 and are good friends so battling was super fun.
On the second loop I would not see Blake and found out Brandon had broken down. The second loop was more gnarly then the first because people had broken through the rocky top crust to the silt. People were stuck everywhere and I am so glad I had my Amsoil radiator fluid to help me not overheat. This race was very hard.  
Erek Kudla put a great effort into it and it turned out great.
I ended up with 1st Place 200 B furthering my points lead. I want to thank my whole family for coming out, my good friends at KTM, all my friends for keeping me motivated and positive, and all my sponsors: Blais Racing Services, Fasst Company, KTM, Amsoil, Troy Lee Designs, Asterisk, RAD, Alpinestar, FMF, ESR/Race Tech, Rekluse, Kenda, IMS, Muscle Milk, Cytomax, Fast way, and VCMC. Till next time! Yee yee!  



By: Ben Meza, 200A Champ 2013

Ben Meza Reno Extreme
Ben Meza on his Blais Racing/ TLD/ Alpinestars, DirtTricks, ESR, BRP KTM 200


The Reno National Hare and Hound/GXE race was supposed to be the toughest round of the year and possibly the hottest being in the middle of the summer. I was really excited for this race and was prepared for the heat!

We got to the race site Thursday night and got to have a full day of testing on Friday. The race was not to start until noon on Saturday right in the heat of the day. Saturday morning I started checking over my bike making sure everything was perfect! After eating some breakfast and even a sandwich for lunch I geared up and headed over to the start.

I was on the second row (the A class start) with about 20 other guys. We sat there while the front row took off on the extremely rocky uphill start, and then it was our turn! As soon as Erek waved the flag, I kicked my bike and pinned it! I raced up the hill to get the holeshot and held it all the way down the other side of the hill. I was leading the A line until someone from the pro line went down right in front of me allowing some guys behind me to get by.

I made it through the first couple miles and then my bike started running funny and eventually started to overheat. I toned it down a notch but the bike continued to overheat. I had to stop at the top of every hill and allow my bike to cool down. I basically had to baby my bike through the loop to keep it from overheating. I finished the 20 mile loop but had to call it a day. My bike physically couldn't handle anymore.

I really want to thank my Dad for driving me all the way to Reno and supporting me the whole weekend. Although the race didn't go the way I planned I want to thank all my sponsors for giving me the opportunity and backing everything I choose to race. Thanks to: Blais Racing Services, Fasst Company,ESR Suspension, Dirt Tricks, BRP, Rekluse, KTM, Muscle Milk, Fastway, Alpinestars, Troy Lee Designs, Scotts, Bullet Proof Designs, Race Tech, Scott Goggles, HBMC, Regina Chains, and just everyone that supports me.  


Thanks to all our team sponsors for 2013:  Fasst Company, KTM, ESR Suspension, Race Tech, Alpinestars, Kenda, Pro Moto Billet, Fastway, FMF, Rekluse, HBD MotoGrafx, Regina, TLD, BRP, Bullet Proof Designs, DirtTricks, Eline, IMS, No Toil, Samco Sport, Muscle Milk, Acerbis, & Bike Week Radio.

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