Jacob Argubright is no stranger to the Kenda/SRT AMA National Championship Hare and Hound Series, and for the past few seasons he has seemingly been on verge of bringing Husqvarna its first AMA National Hare and Hound title since inaugural champion Dan Smith reeled off four in a row for the brand when the series got its start in 1986.
Argubright’s bid to win what is arguably the United States’ most prestigious desert racing motorcycle title has hit some serious speed bumps along the way. But, like any great racer, Argubright understands that adversity is part of the game.
The 24-year-old Canyon Lake, California-based Argubright has grown up on two wheels, and he first made a name for himself by competing in the notoriously tough District 37 AMA Desert Series. After winning multiple titles as a Mini Expert and taking his first overall win at the age of 18, he went on to claim four more District 37 class number one plates, which ultimately led to a factory ride with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team in 2014. Argubright proved that Husqvarna’s faith in him was well-placed when he won the 2014 AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship.
With the Kenda/SRT AMA National Championship Hare and Hound season set to come out of its summer break and begin its second half with the Mulley Run National Hare & Hound in Panaca, Nevada, August 27, Argubright has collected one event win, and he currently sits second in the series points standings with 77 points, 33 behind former series champion Ricky Brabec. As the 911 number that adorns the front of his motorcycle suggests, Argubright may need a little help to pull off the title even if he can reel of a string of wins. But, anything can happen in desert racing, and it usually does. With four rounds remaining, the title race is far from over.
But regardless of how this season’s National Hare & Hound battle turns out, Argubright has more ambitious plans for his future as an off-road motorcycle, and he was happy to share them with DirtBikes.com
Nic Garvin: What’s up dude? You seem a little busy, shuffling papers and typing. Sounds like you’re at school!
Jacob Argubright: Ha! I’m currently making pit directions for the pit crews for Vegas to Reno which is coming up here in the next few days.
Nic Garvin: Oh yeah. We hear you’re soloing Vegas to Reno.
Jacob Argubright: Yes, I am soloing it.
Nic Garvin: What were you thinking when you decided, “I’m going to solo this race?” Most people use more than one partner let alone solo Vegas to Reno.
Jacob Argubright: Honestly, I was thinking that I really want to get into rally racing, and I want to do long desert races. This is going to help me get there.
Nic Garvin: So, your plan is to get into rally racing?
Jacob Argubright: That is the ultimate goal, to do rally racing, but I also want to go and race the Finke in Australia and expand my horizons in desert racing, meaning not just race local races but also to race unique desert races throughout the world.
Nic Garvin: So, you want to go Down Under and race Toby Price. Is that what you’re telling us?
Jacob Argubright: I really do, and I really want to go to the Finke and race him in 2016.
Nic Garvin: Oh yeah? Do you have a time machine you’re not telling us about?
Jacob Argubright: Oh, haha! I mean 2017. Geez…
Nic Garvin: What got you involved with racing in the first place?
Jacob Argubright: I grew up riding with my dad taking me out to the desert, and we started off doing normal, easy rides. After he knew I was ready, he put me in kids races in the district 37 Desert Series. Eventually I became too old [Editor: After turning age of 12, District 37 allows you to compete in the one-loop race at its events] and started to race the Mini 85 class. I came out with Enduro, GP, and Best of The West championships.
Nic Garvin: But you didn’t win the District 37 Desert title, and yet you’re a desert racer.
Jacob Arguright: No, I didn’t win the desert plate, and don’t call me a desert racer! I hate when people say that I’m just a desert racer. That’s not true at all.
Nic Garvin: Safer to say that you’re an off-racer who specializes in desert?
Jacob Argubright: Yeah, you could say that for sure.
Nic Garvin: In 2012 you had a Kawasaki contract?
Jacob Argubright: We had a parts account with Kawasaki, kind of. They helped us out with discounted bikes and replaced my motors when they went bad. If I blew up one, they would help me with a new motor. They were a good stepping stone in my career.
Nic Garvin: When was it that you decided that you wanted to do this as a job?
Jacob Argubright: I would say 2013 was the year that I knew I could do this as career. I beat Kurt Caselli at a National Hare and Hound in Reno.
Nic Garvin: What about your win in 2012? For sure thought that would be a game changer.
Jacob Argubright: Damn, dude do you know all my stats? I totally forgot about that. I guess you’re right, it would have been then that I knew I could do this. I never took it seriously growing up, to the extent that doing this as a job was in my future. We would just go out to the desert every weekend, and I would go and race with my club on the weekends. Never did I think I would be sitting here now saying I do this for a living.
Nic Garvin: You grew up with the late, great Kurt Caselli. Give us a memory of you racing against Kurt.
Jacob Argubright: Well, I can name about four, but I am going to stick with two that stick out the most to me. In 2009, when Kurt was racing GNC, he came out to a dual euro scrambles put on by the Ruts. He brought out a KTM 250F with a 280 kit in it and no steering stabilizer. I was racing my Kawasaki 450 with all the desert equipment. I actually pulled the holeshot and pulled the win off. I either was going to crash or win.
Nic Gavin: So you just held it pinned?
Jacob Argubright: I swear, I just held it pinned across the desert.
Nic Garvin: Awesome. So let’s hear this next one?
Jacob Argubright: So the next one was the Reno Extreme Hare and Hound, where we battled the first half of the race but I pulled away. I put it on the top of the box with a win.
Nic Garvin: In 2014, you signed with the team you’re with now, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, and you got off to a rough start. Tell us about your first year there.
Jacob Argubright: Oh man, it was the roughest year I’ve had. I DNF’d the first two National Hare and Hounds, but I also was doing the National Hare Scrambles series where I came out on top in the opening rounds. In fact, I DNF’d five rounds of the National Hare and Hound series that year. One round my gas line broke before the race started, and I went to go get my other bike but was disqualified because the bike never was tech’d. Another round I blew the motor. I mean, it was just not going well for me in the National Hare and Hounds!
Nic Garvin: But you did bring Husky its first win in 20 years at a National Hare and Hound, and you brought home the AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship that same year.
Jacob Argubright: Ah yes, you’re correct. I did bring home one race win that year in the Hare and Hounds. That was a very cool day, to say the least. I was also the first to win on the new brand of Husqvarnas in America. Also, bringing home their first major championship in a long time, I guess it’s something to be proud of.
Nic Garvin: Tell us about 2015.
Jacob Argubright: Well at the last National of the year in Johnson Valley I decided that it was a great time to break my wrist. [Editor: Argubright broke the same bone that ended Ricky Johnson’s career, has haunted James Stewart and ended Charlie Mullins’ career]. So I didn’t race until July of 2015, but I was still very optimistic about my career and where I was going. I didn’t know that it [the wrist injury] was so detrimental, as we have seen with Charlie [Mullins] and him stepping away from the sport because he can’t bear the pain anymore. For me, my wrist hurts everyday, but I jumped right back into it at Yerington [Round 8 of the National Hare and Hound series] and had no problems leading the race. I just knew that I needed to go out and ride more.
Nic Garvin: But enough about you! [laughs] Let’s take a step back. Your wife [Megan Argubright, formerly known as Megan Blackburn], won her first National A title. Tell us what it was like going from racer to mechanic?
Jacob Argubright: Actually, to be 100-percent honest, it was stressful. You think you worry about things when you’re racing, but when your spouse is out there and you’re doing all the prep work, it’s demanding and tough on you. I wanted her to win, and I wanted to give her the best bike out there, and just waiting in anticipation for her to come in was hard to handle. Don’t get me wrong, I loved hanging out with everyone out at the races, but it was tough sitting on the sidelines, watching guys I race come in through out the pits.
Nic Garvin: It must be nice spending time with your wife, doing something you both love to do. That has to feel pretty rewarding for both of you, knowing you got to help her reach a dream of hers.
Jacob Argubright: It’s really nice, to be honest, but it was nice to have the focus fully on her and getting to commit to her was awesome. It wasn’t all about me, and giving her everything she needed to succeed was awesome.
Nic Garvin: You guys got married after she won the championship?
Jacob Argubright: Yes. I knew she was the one. Her looks drew me in, but her personality and her positivity about life is what sold me. Getting to ride and race with her is just an added bonus to our relationship. I love Meg, and she’s helped me overcome a lot in my career. I know with her I can do anything.
Nic Garvin: I mean there has to be tension now that she has a national title. You have to feel a little emasculated… [laughs]
Jacob Argubright: Uh, yeah! [laughs] I have to introduce my wife as a National Champion while I sit there and have nothing to back myself up with.
Nic Garvin: With 2016 in full swing, how is your program going? What are you doing to try to get a step ahead?
Jacob Argubright: I am working with my current trainer, Ryan Rowell at the Torq fit gym in Murrieta with other racers such as Zach Osbourne, and Ox Motorsports’ Justin Jones and some guy named Nic Garvin. [laughs] We have a great, consistent program working with Rowell. My year has been that much better, getting to work with him and everyone at Torq fit. It also helps that my boss is multi-time Big 6 and Baja Champion Timmy Weigand.
Nic Garvin: Tell us about the boss!
Jacob Argubright: Timmy Weigand? He’s a f!@#@&* legend. I love Timmy. He used to lap me at races. I mean, he can still hold it pinned.
Nic Garvin: Speaking of fast guys, Ricky Brabec: He has really come out of his shell. You guys grew up racing against each other. Did you always see the potential with him?
Jacob Argubright: Well, yes and no. We used to race together, and we would go back and forth, and then I didn’t see Ricky for a while actually. Didn’t he take a hiatus? Anyways, whatever he did, he came back to racing and is f@#$%^& quick.
Nic Garvin: He dropped off the planet in a sense, then he got himself in shape and was suddenly this new and improved kid that kind of came out of nowhere. What puts Ricky and you a step ahead of the other NHHA racers these days?
Jacob Argubright: To be honest, I really think it comes down to how well we can read the terrain. I mean… I don’t know. We are just going fast. I guess if you look at it this way, experience plays a huge roll when going that fast, and I believe that we just have adapted to it, and it is something that now comes normal to both of us.
Nic Garvin: Well, good luck for the rest of the season. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Jacob Argubright: Abosulutely! Rockstar Energy Husqrvarna, Torq Fit, FMF, Bel Ray, Fly Racing, Dunlop, Pro Taper, Supersprox, Sidi, Cycra, Motion Pro, VP Racing Fuels, IMS, Matrix Concepts, ARC, WP Suspension, P3Carbon, Superb Batteries, Corona Rv Rental, Braking, GUTS, TM Design, DT1 Filter, KC66 Foundation, Wings For Life, 6D Helmets, 100% Goggles, all my friends that help me, and of course all of my family.
Nic Garvin: We appreciate you taking time out of your busy week to do this!
Jacob Argubright: Oh, no problem there, Mr. Nicolas Garvin, you little journalist. Now, are you coming over to ride or what? This paperwork sucks!