LUCERNE VALLEY, Calif. – It was a great start to the season for the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team with a double podium finish at the opening round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Series in Lucerne Valley, California. In a wheel-to-wheel battle all the way to the finish, Taylor Robert put forth an impressive performance to earn 2ndoverall at Round 1, while teammate Kacy Martinez dominated the Women’s class to earn a big victory in her first-ever Hare & Hound race.
With cool temperatures and rainfall leading up to the event, the season opener presented ideal track conditions despite additional rainfall during the race. Off the start, Robert didn’t get the best jump as he got off the line in the last place position. However, Robert climbed up to the 12th place position by the end of the bomb where he set his sights on the lead pack.
By the end of the first loop, Robert had made his way up to 5th with the lead group within sight as he continued to charge ahead. Robert eventually made his way into the lead on the second loop but dropped back to 2nd after going wide in a corner, which allowed Ricky Brabec to sneak by for the lead position. From there, Robert and Brabec battled wheel-to-wheel into the final moments of the race where it was a photo-finish at the end, leaving Robert just short for 2nd place. In only his second appearance in the Hare & Hound Series, Robert is off to a great start to the 10-race championship.
Robert: “I was the last person off the starting line but luckily the dirt was wet so there wasn’t any dust but I still had to pass 200 riders. I finally caught up to the leaders and rode with them most of the second loop where Ricky and I battled for the lead all the way to the finish. He got me by about six inches which was a bummer but I’m happy to get the season started with a 2nd place finish.”
In the same race, Martinez got off to a slow start but quickly made her way through the pack of riders. By the end of the first bomb Martinez held a five-minute lead over the Women’s class competition as she continued to extend it as the race wore on. After the second and final loop, Martinez ultimately finished 10 minutes ahead of the 2nd place rider of Britney Gallegos to capture her first-career victory in the series. KTM-mounted rider Rachel Gutish rounded out the Women’s class podium.
Martinez: “With it being my first race at a Hare & Hound (or in the desert) I was a bit nervous but excited at the same time to tackle a new series! The conditions couldn’t have been better and the layout was really fun! Loop two was my favorite with it being a bit slower trail and good technical spots throughout."
FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Ivan Ramirez was forced to sit out of the opening round due to an unknown illness that drains his energy levels.
Pro Class Results
- Ricky Brabec
- Taylor Robert – KTM
- Gary Sutherlin
- Jacob Argubright
- Joseph Wasson
Women’s Class Results
- Kacy Martinez – KTM
- Britney Gallegos – KTM
- Rachel Gutish – KTM
- Sharon Mowell – KTM
- Stephanie Jones
*Press release Credit from www.press.ktm.com.