2017 Idaho National Hare & Hound: Brabec Wins Rabbit Creek 100

Fatigue, illness and Gary Sutherlin don’t stop Brabec from winning the Rabbit Creek 100 National Hare & Hound in Murphy, Idaho.

Though he’s the two-time and reigning king of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Ricky Brabec probably shouldn’t have won round three, the 42nd Annual Rabbit Creek 100 in Murphy, Idaho, presented by Dirt Inc., Sunday.

2017 Murphy Idaho HH
Two days after winning the Sonora Rally in Mexico aboard his factory Honda CRF450 Rally, Ricky Brabec found himself in a National hare & hound on a JCR Honda CRF450RX for the first time. Though it took a few miles to make the transition and feel comfortable on the much more motocross-oriented bike, he got used to it enough to defeat round-two winner Gary Sutherlin and move farther ahead in points. PHOTO BY MARK KARIYA.

For one thing, he’d spent four of the previous six days aboard his works Monster Energy Honda Team CRF450 Rally bike, winning the Sonora Rally in Mexico with it. Immediately after getting his trophy, he got changed into street clothes, got a helicopter ride back across the border and caught commercial flights to Boise, Idaho. After arriving late on Friday, it gave him Saturday to recover, walk the bomb run and mentally shift gears to hare & hound. And to top it all off, he’d been dealing with a case of the runs since Thursday in Mexico.

“I had one day to recuperate and it wasn’t enough,” Brabec admitted. “My first [loop] out here was hard. I had arm pump. I got a good start [right behind holeshot winner Sutherlin], but it didn’t help me as far as riding good—I was way off pace trying to read the ribbon, the arrows.”

Adding to the adjustment was the fact that he was racing the JCR Honda CRF450RX for the first time in a National instead of his tried-and-true CRF450X. (He’d raced the RX at an AMA District 37 desert race the weekend before in order to get final settings and try the new bike in a race environment before the Sonora Rally and the National.) Eventually, though, he regained his hare & hound rhythm and found himself able to race effectively.

“Once the arm pump went away, confidence started coming back,” Brabec said. ”How fast I can hit G-outs, how fast I can hit things comparing the rally bike and [the ‘RX] obviously is a little bit different.”

After some back-and-forth with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-Road Team’s Jacob Argubright, Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha’s Nick Burson and PCI Race Radios KTM-mounted David Kamo, Brabec got to work concentrating on Burson’s teammate Gary Sutherlin, who’d won round two and was looking to make it two in a row in Idaho in order to take over the series points lead.

2017 Murphy Idaho HH
After getting a great start and leading early, Gary Sutherlin spent most of the race battling Brabec, though he ultimately had to settle for second. After finishing, the Purvines DA8 Racing crew discovered a rock had punctured his ignition cover, though enough of it remained in the hole so oil leakage was minimal. PHOTO BY MARK KARIYA.

Soon, Sutherlin and Brabec latched onto each other in a pitched battle for the lead, both riders taking different lines—some legal and some perhaps questionable—in an effort to gain the upper hand. Brabec managed to make one final pass stick as they worked their way around the second loop of the 125-mile-long race and came out on top this time to extend his points lead over Sutherlin, 85-76, unofficially.

After vying for second, 2014 race winner Burson found himself unable to feel his hands after blasting through Sinker Creek early on the second loop. With control of YZ450FX markedly diminished, Burson decided to back it down a notch and take third—his first podium of the series, though it comes on the heels of his triumph the week at the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series.

But after two years of DNFs at this race, he said, “I haven’t made it very far [here the last two years] so I’m kind of looking for some redemption up here. A third is good; we’ll build on it. I’ve had two kind of crummy Nationals [this year, finishing sixth at the previous two rounds] so third’s a lot better than I’ve been finishing.”

Though he only races select events nowadays, Idaho native David Kamo proved he can still run with the leaders, as he put himself into the lead pack early aboard his PCI Race Radios KTM 450 XC-F. He dropped back a bit but still managed to come up with fourth place while Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright slowed markedly over the last loop due to wrist problems and finished fifth.

Axel Pearson earned sixth for the day, making for a Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha 2-3-6, followed by Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Precision Concepts Honda’s Justin Morgan, who’d been under the weather all week. SRT KTM’s Morgan Crawford claimed eighth overall and first FMF Pro 250 followed by Braasch Motorsports Honda rider Nic Garvin and Stevens Off-road Racing Husqvarna’s Taylor Stevens.

Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha rider Tyler Lynn finished 11th overall and second FMF Pro 250 with Burke Barnes third in class and 16th overall.

In Women A, FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Kacy Martinez-Coy led from the outset to win over Rebecca Stout and round-two winner Britney Gallegos. Martinez-Coy, however, found her greatest competition coming from U.S. Women’s World Trophy ISDE rider Jamie Wells, who snuck past on the second loop and finished just ahead. Martinez-Coy still won Women A, though, because Wells entered 250cc A, where she ended up first as well.