Perry Mountain 24-Hour Challenge Maplesville, Alabama June 2-3, 2012
You might have to give me a little bit of leeway on this story due to the fact that this is a 24-Hour race! I have a hard enough time remembering my H&H or EX races, let alone a 24-Hour one. It’s hard for me to remember how it all went down, but I’ll do my best.
This team was put together by Action Kawasaki, down in Florida, and they’ve been putting a team together for the last 9-years. They’d never been able to pull off an overall win, but we were hoping to change that for Jack! Kawasaki Team Green really helped out, and sent parts and whatever else they needed to make sure the bike would be good for all of us. This is a race I’ve heard a lot of great things about and had always wanted to do! Jason at Kawasaki asked if I would be interested in racing and I definitely couldn’t pass it up. I also had two of my west coast buddies (Gary Sutherlin and Jacob Argubright) come out and join our east coast teammates (Garrett Edmisten, Jon McCabe, and Mose Howard). We had a brand new 2012 KX450f that Bob built and we were able to ride it the day before the race to do the final prep.
The race was a little over 11-miles and actually had a lot of great terrain which included tight woods, grass tracks, MX, and jeep roads. We figured it would be best to have Garrett start and put in the first 3-laps. Then when he would stop for gas, we’d switch riders for most of the 24-hours. It was about and hour and twenty minutes and seemed to work out perfect. Garrett wasn’t able to get the hole-shot and was behind the KTM team (that we would battle most of the race) for his three laps. It was pretty dusty and hard to pass when you have guys close to your speed. Then Gary got on the bike and had a great battle with John Dowd, and I believe on his last lap was able to make the pass and get us into the lead for the first time! Jon got on the bike and rode really well, but lost the lead again while still keeping us close. This was our first long pit stop and we had to change a tire and a filter, then I finally got to get on the bike for my three laps. My main goal was to ride smart and just put in good laps and save the bike (it’s a long race). I felt pretty good and right after my first lap I was able to get right back on the KTM team, and in the grass track I made the pass to put us back into the lead. By the time I got off I had about a 3-minute lead and handed the bike to Jacob. Jacob put in great laps and we started to pull away slowly. Our last teammate Mose rode solid and put in more good laps too. This was basically the cycle we went through except for some changes in the order when early AM came around. Before night we built up around a 14-minute lead and then they would bring it back down to 7 at times. They pretty much kept us honest and we were all just putting in good solid laps and everyone was sticking to the game plan. We had some great pits where we would change pads, bleed brakes, filters, tire changes, etc. pretty much your normal stuff. My second time on the bike was around 10:30 at night and I was really looking forward to racing at night (but a little nervous too). I got on with a little over a 13-minute lead and after my 3-laps I was about to get it to around 17-minutes. That was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time and the Baja Designs lights worked awesome! My pace was a little slower then during the day, but the lights were pretty amazing! I went to try and get some sleep (hint word tried) and when I finally felt like I was sleeping good they woke me up to start to get ready (around 4:30am, but 2:30 west coast :). I was happy to hear Gary was able to lap second place and put a couple minutes on them. The lap times were averaging around 26-minutes so we had a nice gap plus they still would have to get back around us to put them on the same lap. Jon was right before me and he would be the last guy out in the dark before the sun came up. He put in more solid laps, but the KTM boys had some fast guys on and were able to get back around and put themselves back on the same lap (they really started to push it). When we pitted we pulled the lights off and did rear brakes. I took off and the course was starting to get beat up, but the moisture came up and the dirt was really good! Definitely the best time I had! I was able to close back on Dowd and get about 20-seconds behind, but he put a little time back on me on my last lap. We then had Gary get back on and he was on it and got back around the KTM guys while they were pitting. After he got off we just had Mose and then had Garrett take it into the finish. The checkered came out at 10:00 am and we came across the finish not much after that to take the overall win!
That was some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time! All of us rode really well and did exactly what we wanted to (WIN). The bike was pretty much flawless the whole time and the course was really good! I know I just talked about the second place KTM team, but there was another KTM team that was right behind them the whole time and really made it a three way battle for the entire 24-hours. We had to keep our focus on and knew it wasn’t over until we crossed the finish line.
Top Three Overall:
1st Destry Abbott/ Gary Sutherlin/ Garrett Edmisten/ Jacob Argubright/ Jon McCabe/ Mose Howard
2nd John Dowd/ Jeff Braico/ Mark Lewis/ Jase Lewis/ Dustin Gibson/ Jeff Cown
3rd Cole Kirkpatrick/ Brian Johnson/ Josh Young/ Brad Krammer/ Steve Leivan/ Cameron Kirkpatrick
One thing about a race like this is that it takes a lot of people to make it run smoothly. Jack O’Neill (Action Kawasaki) made all this happen and Bob did a great job building the KX450. There were so many other people that helped out with times, pitting, food or whatever else we needed! Great people and I’m really happy we were able to pull off the win!
The lights are a huge part of a 24-hour race and we didn’t have one problem with them (Baja Designs). I also ordered the new Double Stryk Kit for my helmet and was blown away by how good it was! Definitely would recommend getting one and I know I’ll be using it on my mountain bike too! Thanks to Alan for helping me out with one. The night racing was some of my favorite stuff!
What a first class race they put on! The Perry Mountain Club really knows what they’re doing and putting on a 24-hour race can’t be easy. They had a ton of spectators that showed up and everything was safe and the course was awesome! Some of the nicest people I’ve met and I can’t thank them enough for a great experience!
Action Kawasaki had another team in the expert class and they were all really good up and coming riders! They had a nice lead and I think they built up a couple laps on their competition, but with only a few laps to go had a fluke mechanical issue and weren’t able to pull off the win. I was bummed for them!
I took some photos I posted on my instagram (destryabbott) or ones I had Gary or Jacob take on my phone. Not the best, but I didn’t have my camera with me.
My story is later then usual, but from this race I flew up to Minnesota (Millville) for the 2013 250f bike launch! Perfect weather, best 250f I’ve ridden, and an awesome track, so this trip was really good! I had a big crash on Tuesday and you can see the YouTube video of it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=en&client=mv-google&v=FQjF3k06V64&nomobile=1. Pretty sore after that one, but it was good to ride the next day. I also attached a picture (courtesy of Adam Campbell) riding the new 2013.
I’m home for a day and then it’s off to Sacramento for the second round of the Endurocross series. Definitely on the sore side, but I’m looking forward to it!
By Destry Abbott
For more information on this race or Destry Abbott go to Destryabbott.com