American Honda / Matlock Racing's Josh Caster Wins NHHA Round 9
AMA National Hare & Hound - Round 9 - Johnson Valley, CA - October 9, 2012
El Centro, CA (10/22/2012) - Round 9 of the AMA National Hare & Hound race was located in Johnson Valley, CA. The District 37, SO-CAL MC club set up a great race course running across the valley floor and through the rocky hills of the Johnson Valley OHV area.
American Honda / Matlock Racing's Josh Caster took the overall win at the AMA National Hare & Hound in Johnson Valley, CA
With Matlock Racing and American Honda's continuous goal of being #1 in Baja, the team has been training hard for the up-coming Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Part of this training has been to enter local AMA district races to help the team prepare for race conditions. Just a week before, teammates Wayne Matlock, Dofo Arellano and Josh Caster entered a local District 38 race and finished in the top three spots. Josh Caster figured Round 9 of the AMA National Hare & Hound series would be a great chance to get some more seat time on the team's Honda TRX450ER.
As is standard with the Hare & Hound format, the bikes would leave the bomb run first in multiple lines. Caster was able to get some early morning practice in on the bomb run and found what appeared to be the only good line to the marked course at the end of the bomb run. Come start time, Caster was able to pick his starting position right in front of this line. When the bomb banner dropped, Caster got a little too excited and stalled his quad off the start, while the rest of the quad group left him in the dust. Once getting his quad re-started, he was able to start working his way thru the dust towards the end of the bomb run. The dust was hanging thick, so Caster wasn't able to find the good line he had found earlier that morning while prerunning the bomb run. He was forced to pick new lines thru the bushes while fighting to make up time in the dust.
Near the end of the bomb run, Caster had moved himself up to the 6th place position. He continued to push thru the heavy dust towards the front of the pack. After a couple more passes, he found himself just behind the #1 plate holder Christy Racing's Andy Lagzdin who was closely following another quad. As they made their way thru a few narrow rocky canyons, the rider leading the group rolled his quad over completely blocking the course. While Lagzdin and Caster waited, the rider tipped his quad back over and the group was off once again. Just a little ways down the canyon, the same rider rolled his quad and once again completely blocked the course. Caster noticed a small rocky line up the hill to the right of his location and decided to take a chance and see if it would lead him around the blocked course. Luckily his quad barely fit between the boulders and he was up two more positions.
As Caster made his way into check 1, he believed he was now in 1st place and knew the #1 plate holder Lagzdin would be in hot pursuit. A few miles after check 1, he noticed he was catching some heavy dust. Soon, he realized the dust was coming from another quad. As he gained on the quad, he could see it was WORCs rider Colt Brinkerhoff who had been leading the race from the start. Caster was able to make the pass for the lead on a rocky uphill before passing some bikes and building the gap between himself and Brinkerhoff.
Now in the lead, he worked hard to put as much time on the other quads as possible. The quad was working great over all the terrain the SO-CAL MC team ran the course over. The course worked its way up and over the hills, down sandy washes , whooped out trails, and through boulder fields.
A few points on the course became very narrow and had 2-3' drop offs the riders had to negotiate down. As Caster was working to pass a bike in one of these narrow sections, he decided to take an alternate line to get by the bike. It turned out the line was no good and he ended up nose down in the boulders with the front wheels locked up. He had to get off the quad and pick the front end up over the rocks until the front end was loose. During this time, he lost about 2 minutes and a couple of positions to some bikes he had recently passed. Once free of the boulders, he knew the #1 quad of Lagzdins would be hot on his tail so he began to push hard once again to stretch the lead as much as possible. With no more issues and the course opening back up to the desert floor, Caster was able to add to his lead and continued to pass bikes before reaching the finish line.
Caster's quad worked flawlessly throughout the race and when he crossed the checkered flag, his official time was just over 4 minutes faster than the #1 plate quad of Lagzdins. The whole Matlock team is excited about the finish as they prepare for the upcoming Baja 1000.
Caster said "The race course was a lot of fun! There were some sections where you were just pinned across the silty desert floor trying to miss as many bushes as possible while your quad skipped around under you and then you would get up in the hills with all the rocks and hope you wouldn't rip an a-arm off the quad. My quad seemed to just float over everything like it was a paved road. Course was marked really well for dangers and it let you be confident to ride wide open in new areas. It's fun to ride somewhere new, just wish it was twice as many miles!"
Matlock Racing would like to thank all the Sponsors who teamed with
Matlock Racing for the 2012 season!
Matlock Racing Sponsors:
American Honda, JCR, Maxxis, Elka, Vey's Powersports,
Scott Goggles, Rich Morel Race Motors, Precision
Concepts, Roll Design, Honda Oil and Chemicals,
KZ Trailers, Fly Racing, Renthal, UNI, DWT, FMF,
OMF, Tire Balls, Quad Tech, DID, Hinson, Precision
Racing Products, Baja Designs, Motion Pro, UPP,
Pro Armor, Go Pro, Alpinestars, Galfer, Lonestar,
Web Cam, Works Connection, IMS, Rocky Mountain
ATV, Kicker, Hammer Nutrition, H-Bomb Media
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