Gary Sutherlin was the last rider on our team to get a
look at the course. Sutherlin has been on a roll this year,
racking up a couple wins in the West Coast Hare
Scrambles series, a couple podiums in WORCS, and even
a podium in the Big Six West Coast GP series. He had lost
a couple positions during our bike exchange, so he would
be coming from behind against riders who were familiar
with the course. Abbott and I had made a pact before the
race that no matter how fast Sutherlin’s lap times were, he
would be told they were at least 10 seconds slower than
our times. Not nice, but he was more than 15 years
younger than Abbott. It was way more fun to mess with
him than to admit that “The Kid” was faster than we were.
Sutherlin’s first lap was a little erratic, partly because he
was excited and bouncing off the rev limiter all the time.
He calmed down on the second lap, caught up to the
Abbott runs a Rekluse Core manual clutch on his KX450 and
a full-auto version on his KX250 for EnduroCross.
Destry Abbott pulled the holeshot and tried to check out.
leaders, passed them, and started to open up a lead.
Gary had built up a two-minute lead by the end of his first
time on the bike—not bad for the slow guy on the team.
At about the 2.5-hour mark, you can tell which teams
are going to be competing for the win. This is also about
the time mechanical gremlins start to rear their ugly
heads. With a bit of a cushion, we concentrated on trying
to dial the bike to better suit the riders. When racing a
team event, it’s all about compromise. Being a test rider
for the last 15 years has taught me to adapt to just about
any style of bike setup, but sometimes a setup does take
some getting used to. Abbott’s KX450 was set up pretty
neutral—much to my surprise. He runs his Flexx bars
rolled back a bit farther than I am used to and runs his
levers pretty much straight out, but there was nothing I
couldn’t deal with. The TBT-tuned suspension was a bit
fast in the rear, but a half turn on the high-speed compression and a few clicks on the rebound before we started our second rotation on the bike made the ride much
more enjoyable. With the bike dialed, there wasn’t much
left to do other than lubing the chain and filling the bike
with gas, so we focused on our last remaining challenge:
getting Sutherlin to believe what we were telling him
about his lap times. We decided to make him do a couple
extra laps to punish him for this.
When the checkered flag flew, our team took the win,
followed by the Husqvarna team of Graffunder, Jamie
Lanza and Brent Eastman. After some mechanical issues
early on, the Purvines Racing Beta team of Talon Taylor
and Justin Morrow worked its way back to third to round
out the podium. I still can’t figure out how I was able to
talk Destry Abbott into building a bike, driving from
Arizona to the race, getting our entry figured out, putting
up with Gary Sutherlin all day, and basically letting me
show up like a rockstar with my gear bag to race a facto-ry-prepped KX450. A great time was had by all, and I look
forward to the opportunity to do it again. Thanks for the
fun times, Destry and Gary. Hey, Abbott, the 10-Hour is
right around the corner; are you game?