Dakar Rally competitor Ian Blythe makes an appearance at round two of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship Series and scores the overall win.
Story and Photos by Mark Kariya
Ian Blythe hasn’t been a regular in the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship Series, but he seems to make quite an impact when he does show up.
Last year, he rode only the opening round—which he won. Yesterday, he jumped into round two—the Picacho Creek Challenge north of Coalinga, California, hosted by the Salinas Ramblers Motorcycle Club—and came away with another victory.
Well, maybe. Results won’t be official until the AMA makes a decision on a protest against the Dakar finisher for pitting outside the designated pit area. But pending that outcome, Rally Pan Am KTM’s Blythe is the unofficial winner after a good battle with Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson that went down to Burson making an unplanned pit stop for fresh goggles in the last half of the race.
“I pitted a lap before he did,” Blythe said, “Then, when he went into the pits I caught up to him, and I didn’t have to pit that lap, so then I was able to get a gap on him.”
Burson said, “We were high-fiving at the end of the race. It was fun battling. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t pit where everyone else pitted.”
Last year’s race and series winner, Cory Graffunder, somewhat made up for his DNF at round one by taking third after a race-long duel with Rockstar Energy Husvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Jacob Argubright.
“I keep reminding myself that last year I wrapped up the championship a round early so this year, maybe it’s just the first round I don’t [count] instead of the last round,” Graffunder said.
Argubright settled for fourth, making him the first four-stroke finisher. He was followed by Maxxis/FMF/RPM Racing KTM’s Travis Coy. Dillon Sheppard topped the FMF Pro 250 category over Max Parker and Dante Oliveira.
Unlike last year, Blythe plans to stay in Colorado and fly to the races he’s contracted to do in Brazil, which means he’ll likely vie for the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship. If the Picacho Creek Challenge results are any indication, he’ll be right in the thick of the battle.
2016 Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship
Picacho Creek Challenge
Results: February 14, 2016
1. Ian Blythe-KTM
2. Nick Burson-Bet
3. Cory Graffunder-KTM
4. Jacob Argubright-Hus
5. Travis Coy-KTM
1. Dillon Sheppard-Yam
2. Max Parker-KTM
3. Dante Oliveira-KTM