Slow and steady

I remember the time when I couldn’t keep anything together during a race, when I took a DNF from a burned clutch or a seized motor; once, I even ran out of gas. The challenge became staying consistent; this champion soon learned how to slow down to go fast (thanks, dad.)

The Ithaca Dirt Riders harescramble in Berkshire, NY on Sunday, July 20, marked the eleven-mile lap with the most heavily wooded terrain, and the rain just held off for the start of the bike race. I counted 18 bikes in the AA class – more than 250 bikes started total – including this one guy Scottie Rich, who I’d see later in the quad race that followed the bikes. (How about that FTR?)

Another AA guy – one of my childhood champions – Steve Hatch lined up on his #4 KTM; he won the race over Andrew Millier and Ben Bouwens – local guys usually unstoppable. Scottie Rich ended up fifth overall, six minutes behind Hatch; interestingly, Millier had the fastest lap time overall on the last lap with a 30:47, three seconds faster than Hatch’s 30:50 – the only two times under 31 minutes.

The thing that’s weird about the WNYOA harescrambles, to me, is the number plates. Instead of color coordinating the backgrounds, they numbered according to class – the AA class gets single digits and the A class is doubles down to the 250 C class in the 600s. Then they split 250C into two classes, because everyone knows that’s always the biggest class. So, 250 C+ is ages 24 and up, and 250 C is 16-24. Then,  there’s day riders with random numbers mixed in with the series riders, and once it gets muddy, you can forget that.

At 2 o’clock, it was time for the quads and 120 four-wheelers lined up – including Scottie Rich again in the AA class; yes, he rode both the bike and the quad race on a Kawasaki. Ten AA quads showed up and Rich took second overall behind the local Honda ride of Nathan Thomas; Thomas turned the fastest time on the second lap with a 26 flat, but Rich was right behind Thomas with a 26:05 – they were the only two under 27 minutes.

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