Tuesday, November 25

2008 HHORA Hareball Hare Scramble

Hare Ball HS - HHORA 2008
Upper Ranch GP Track, Hollister OHV

Palandrani - 14th out of 24 "A class" riders, 17th out of 105 Overall - A/B


Time released start - I got the 3rd place draw. - No dust until about lap 2 laps in.


The course was one of the better ones laid out at the Upper Ranch GP track at Hollister


It took about 13 mins to get around the 5.5 miles track.

It was one of those races where my bike was almost cleaner when I finished than when I showed up.

Thanks to all the 2008 sponsors:

* DH Cycles (Modesto's KTM dealer)
* Durban Racing
* IMS Racing
* FMF
* RED BULL
* Utopia Optics
* Cycra Racing
* Power Sport Graphix
* Cruz Tools
* Fringe
* Sierra Utility Sales
* Garvey
* and my lovely wive, KELLY

Cheers'
Tony

Sunday, June 29

2008 HHORA - 6 HOURS OF HOLLISTER - Team Race

6 Hours of Hollister


Hollister Hills Off-Road Association (HHORA) held their 2nd annual "6 Hours of Hollister" this past weekend at the Private GP track in Hollister, CA within the OHV grounds. Durban Racing entered a 2 man team in the Junior Class for this years race. The Class was age limited to 35 years old and under with open bike restrictions. Both of us being in our early 30's this is a great advantage when racing against younger class and the only thing we joked about was getting our butted kicked by a couple of 16 year old "rippers".... Funny thing... we did....

Team Durban ended up getting 2nd place out of the 15 teams in the class and 13th out of over 90 total teams entered in the overall race. We both felt a little bad about potentially "sand-bagging" the class and not racing in the "A-open unlimited" class, but now I feel even worse about getting OUT "Sand Bagged" by younger, legitimate-faster sandbaggers. Too Funny.

Very refreshing to see the Water Buffalo doing its thing when its over 95 degrees at 9 o'clock in the Morning...and the day before was 108 degrees at 3pm.

"Tent City" Shade is KEY when its ultra HOT like this weekend. Durban Racing was lucky to have support from DH CYCLES, and able to use one of the Big-EZ-up's

Kelly was shooting photos for Durban Racing at this years race and snapped a real Art'sy one of the track ribbons.


Steve Varni's KTM250xcf Race Bike in the bike impound before the race. 3+ hours later the thing looked pretty clapped out. But thats the fun of it i guess!

I nabbed a great start on the 450 and was able to keep the 1st lap dust down and pull massive gaps between the rest of our class by the first hour.

All and all the Enduro-Cross section was not all that hard, but when the sprinklers just soaked the mud, and logs - it got very tricky


The GP track was watered almost every hour, so the track was tacky and super fun lines developed over the 6 hours.


Lap after lap always trying find that "Key" line through this section which shaved about 20 seconds off the track.

Alan Varni handling the fuel stops for the team. We needed to gas up before dropping the bikes in the impound so at rider switches we'd be able to get out to the track without holdups.


Varni launching the famous "Gravity Cavity"

The after part of the "G-Cavity" - Making the KTM look like a 74' Pinto

The key to 6 hours of racing is time keeping. Alan was able to manage the pits, rider switching and lap-times. (also not to mention dealing with collapsing windblown tents)

Still HOT as hell but for some freak of weather the WIND started to blow @ over 50 mpg and destroyed about 80% of the tents. Pretty classic to watch everyone scramble to deal with things...


Luckily it was a "for-fun" event with zero series points and mostly bragging rights for next years race. Last year - in 2007 Durban Racing took 3rd in the class, so this years 2nd place finish was a step in the right direction!


Thanks to all the 2008 sponsors:

* DH Cycles (Modesto's KTM dealer)
* Durban Racing
* IMS Racing
* FMF
* RED BULL - especially this weekend for the massive amounts of product to keep everyone going!!!
* Utopia Optics
* Cycra Racing
* Power Sport Graphix
* Cruz Tools
* Fringe
* Sierra Utility Sales
* Garvey
* and our lovely wives, KELLY and CARA & "JADA" the race dog!!!

Cheers'
Tony

Monday, March 17

D36 / AMA - 2008 Phantom Hare Scramble

Round 6 of 13 AMA/District 36 Cross Country Series

Perfect early morning conditions at Hollister's Upper Ranch Grand Prix MX track

Hollister's Ghostrider M/C club, who were hosting their 10th annual "Phantom" Hare Scramble couldn't have bought better conditions for a day of Racing. With rain earlier in the week and a strong wind the day of, Sunday's blue-bird morning conditions was what everyone was hoping for. The 9 mile course layout was the classic mix of what Hollister OHV park has to offer - a killer groomed GP MX track, super tight single track that wind through the trees, steep silty hills - both up and down and fast fireroads.

Steve Varni (31a - center photo) had a safe mid-pack start headed into turn 1

The start was pretty simple - no hands on the head or run to the bike... it was listen for the gun, get started and do what you can to get in front. The first 4 turns after the starting row were huge sweeping banked 4th gear corners mixed with long tabletop jumps which made for a fun and safe way to head into the hills. Steve Varni #31A - was lined up on the B-vet line and was able to get into about 7th or 8th before leaving the track section and working on the 22-25 min laps. The White flag "final" lap would come after 2 hours of racing.

The "AA" pro class leader destroying a soft berm on the start

As for me...Unfortunately I have to sit out the rest of the this year Spring schedule due to injury. A few weekends back, I was free riding with friends and had a slight mishap off a awkward tabletop style jump and wrecked better than I have in years - harder than I can ever remember. It ended up causing a hair-line fracture in my L4 (lower back) vertebrae. I was very sore for about a week but things are now getting better because most of the swelling is gone. So a few weeks of down time then back to the gym to get going to where I left off. One of the benefits was being able to see the "AA" Pro race (which I usually race with and never get to watch first hand the speed and style of these great riders).


Varni (31a) charges off the steep drop into the "Gravity Cavity" which exits into a good sized table top

Despite being held up because of a few minor bottle necks, Varni finished very well. Out of 24 B-vet racers he finished 10th and 104 out of 200+ overall racers. His lap times were in the 22-23 min range except for the 1st lap which was 31 mins because of bottle necks... so, getting past that part, he rode a great 2 and a half hour race. Because of the 2 hour+ race format he did have to pit for fuel on lap 3 - we need to convince him to get that little bike a bigger IMS tank!


The C race madness @ starting the line - talk about a growing sport.

Chris Bridgman #183a was out again this weekend and still pushing with all his might to get out of the dreaded C class mayhem. I am proud to announce that because of an awesome "on the box" 3rd place finish he is OUT and into the B-vet class. He was carrying about 25 point before this race so we figured he needed only about a top 10 finish but if you can get 3rd... why not!

Chris Bridgman (183a) in tow as the top 5 from the C-vet line hit turn 2 off the start line

The C-classes are so crowed with people that the starting lines are not even large enough for everyone in the class especially the Vet row. Chris had to line up in a makeshift row behind the "real" row and hope that the guy in front of him got a good jump off the line, because if not...60 other riders would already be rallying while he was trying to get around that guy in front of him. Luckily, the plan worked... his guy got a good jump and Chris was not only able to get by him, but he got by 95% of the 1st row too.

Bridgman heading out of the home checkpoint and back around the track

After his first lap out on the course he came into the check area in 6th place, but the 3rd through 5th place riders were only about 40-60 seconds in front of him. After 1.5 hours of racing on what looked to be a very dusty, afternoon deteriorating track Chris moved from lap to lap from 6th to 5th to 4th to finally 3rd at the checkered flag.

Savoring the feeling that this is the last huge sweeper as a C-class rider

Now its time to hit up RidePG.com and get those UGLY yellow colored plates and do all you can not to get left in the dust! Good Racing!


Thanks to all the 2008 sponsors:
  • DH Cycles (Modesto's KTM dealer)
  • Durban Racing
  • IMS Racing
  • FMF
  • RED BULL
  • Utopia Optics
  • Cycra Racing
  • Power Sport Graphix
  • Cruz Tools
  • Fringe
  • Sierra Utility Sales
  • Garvey
  • and My lovely wife, KELLY!!!
Cheers' and really looking forward to getting back on the course!

TONY PALANDRANI #75v

Monday, February 11

D36 - 2008 Clear Creek AMA NATIONAL Hare-Scramble

Round 1 of the AMA National Western Hare Scramble series & Round 3 of 13 District 36 Cross Country Series



You can see me in the background on the tires (#75v) just coming into this mess of rider's caught up in the Enduro-cross section

After weeks of miserable rainy, flooded and dreary conditions, the sun decided to come out in perfect timing for Round 1 of the "2008 AMA National Western Hare Scramble Series" (in conjunction with Round 3 of our local D36 Nor-cal Cross Country series). The private plot of land next door to famous "Clear Creek Recreational Area" that the Salinas Ramblers M/C club owns was the perfect spot to host the National race. It's known for being very difficult terrain and just overall hard riding so I believe thats why we saw some of the fastest riders in world decide to test there skills against the track... Ty Davis, Justin Soule (Factory KTM WORCS/GNCC)... just to name a few.

"Zip-Ty" Davis rallying the 16" diameter cement pipe Enduro sections - making it look easy

This being a National round of the AMA west series we saw entries from as far east as Texas as well as Utah, Arizona, Oregon, and the other western states. The racing format was simple - Pro/AA/A open/A-Vet race was the main race of the day and we rode for over 3 hours until the checkered flag was thrown.

Charging the rocks and passing about 5 people at once - Clean!!!

The 10 mile course was a mix of super tight, narrow off-camber trail sections appropriately named "Charlotte's Web", a 1 mile Water fall section named "Cry Baby Canyon" which caused a bottle neck in the first lap with even some of the best riders in the country, a few high-speed fire roads with blind rises and an Enduro Cross section where all the Fans hung out and watched as riders either made it through CLEAN, or were gobbled up either in the crisscrossed logs, cement pipes, 6' tires, or 50' stretch of massive boulders.

Steve Varni fully committed to making it over the Tractor tires

As for the start... nothing fancy or tricky. The only issue about the start is that it only had about 50' of straight then 2 narrow back to back hairpin turns to slow and break up the pack. Sounds easy... but add 30 something riders and lots of nerves and you get a sketchy first 30 seconds of the race 3 hour race. I ended up with an OK jump off the line maybe 15th or so, but after setting up the 2 turns I left the starting area in about 5 or 7th place.


One of the few place to relax... off the ground!

The Lap times were in the 30-34 min range but sometimes felt like 50 mins and other times like 15 mins because the layout was not super hard, but it was very mental. Every time you felt like you could sit and re-group, there was another section that needed full attention. I did not wreck bad ever and had a very good race considering the 3+ hours of riding. Pits worked out very well because for 3+ hour race a gas stop is needed and with IMS quick fill, the stop only took about 10 seconds for 2 fresh gallons of Fuel and new Utopia Goggles! I finished at the checkered flag in 8th place, but after all the National classes were scored I was 12th out of 27 and 63 out of 124. The Vet Class was filled with alot of out of state riders I never race against but in the end I was stoked because a majority of the guys I do race with every weekend, finished behind me!

Varni's start (#31A far left)...making it clean around the 2 bends

Another one of Durban Racing's riders made the event too, Steve Varni and it was his maiden B class race, racing in B-vet... The B race was held after the AA race and on the same course, so you can image how BEAT up the track was. They raced the A-senior (40+) along with the B class and after the first lap alot of the track was rerouted because of massive bottle necks at the waterfall and track hold ups because of the amount of people on the course.

Steve enjoying some of the smoother sections...

At the end of the almost 3 hour race, he finished up 6th out of about 20 people which is an awesome accomplishment for a first try in a new class of racing! With a slight mishap of a tree snagging the valve off his water pack, he had to race about 3/4 of the event with ZERO water to drink or just rinse the dust out of his mouth!...BUMMER!

The National Format messed up the race-day timing for another Durban Racing rider. Chris Bridgman - C- VET. He had to race Saturday afternoon with zero support from the rest of our team but luckily his # 1 fan, Jen was there to witness his WIN and celebrate! YES...Chris WON the C-VET class in his 3rd race of his career in D36. Out of over 30 riders he took 1st and top 5 in the OVERALL. Good work and killer ride! Because of the Saturday event, we didn't have any photos of it... but its TRUE! He's got the Plaque to prove it! Great RACE! At this rate, he'll be battling for a B-class spot in no time!

The perfect conditions made this HARD race very manageable and fun - I guess thats where having a great relationship with RED BULL comes in handy too...



Thanks to all the 2008 sponsors:
  • DH Cycles (Modesto's KTM dealer)
  • Durban Racing
  • IMS Racing
  • FMF
  • RED BULL
  • Utopia Optics
  • Cycra Racing
  • Power Sport Graphix
  • Cruz Tools
  • Fringe
  • Sierra Utility Sales
  • Garvey
  • and My lovely wife, KELLY!!!
Cheers'

TONY PALANDRANI #75v

Thursday, January 24

D36 - 2008 Prairie City Grand Prix - Race Report

Round 1 of 13 - Opening Round of 2008


Round 1 of the 2008 AMA District 36 Hare scramble series was this past weekend. The event was hosted by the "Polka Dot's M/C club" at one of Northern CA's OHV parks, Prairie City - located just east of Sacramento in the low foothills and if you've never been there this time of year... its a cold region...VERY COLD...like 30 degrees cold, not including any wind chill. The A/B premier race was the first of the day at 8:30am so the cold conditions were an issue not just for us racers but for the track - slick dirt, frost covered rock sections and even icy puddles for the first lap.

The start was a "Le-Mans" style shotgun start... Line up 10 yards in-front of the bike, the gun sounds and its a mad dash to see who can get to the bike, get it started and off to the races...being so cold...its hard to get the blood pumping!

Decked with a new number for 2008 - 75v, flashy new graphics from ridepg.com and fresh 2008 gear... it did not take long to get back into the groove of things after the 2007 holiday break. I spent most of the winter off season riding with local buddies, lifting weights and cardio' conditioning. This jump to the A class has been a eye opener and the major goals I set for the start of 08 were to finish the races within the top 50 overall riders and to finish in the top 10 of my class. Once the season gets going I hope to settle in on speed and conditioning, allowing me to match pace with the top 5 of the A-VET group and be in the top 30 overall.

This Grand Prix track is always known to be FAST - but also sketchy... due to the ground/weather conditions. The cold seasonal temps make the dirt look deceivingly sticky, but most of the time it turns out to be either slick as oil or frozen solid and very hard to control under power. It didn't take long to figure out where those sections were hiding, because either a few riders were scattered about on the track trying to get restarted after a wreck or it was you that went into a flat slide trying to keep the bike straight.

The 2 falls I had were not hard, and more or less were very slow motion and predicable, but the biggest issues was the slick muddy crap that ended up on the grips and gloves. Trying to twist and hold the throttle open became a super annoying issue. Even with the tightest grip on the throttle, the muddy glove would slip with in a few seconds requiring you to "re-grip" and twist again. When trying to hold off other racers or trying to make a pass, and never knowing if your current grip is going to hold it became very frustrating and caused the pace to slow way down. After lap 2, I ended up making an unplanned pit to swap gloves and get back out on the course. What a HUGE difference!

Durban Racing is lucky to have the continued support through 2008 from DH Cycles (Modesto CA) and plans to keep the relationship strong with them. We will be racing under their black and yellow "DH" PIT tent this season again and also supporting other local DH racers who are entered and part of the network.

A 7.5 mile loops is what the word on the street was for course makeup... that equates to about a 24 min lap. The cool part about a Grand Prix vs. a Hare Scramble is the forced mix of some pavement sections... this year it was laid out so we had about 3 blacktop areas and one being a quarter mile 6th gear pinned section... Fun as heck to hammed down through it, but always a bit scary to start breaking with the leftover muddy residue left on the track from other people.

The checkered flag fell after 2.5 hours of racing and luckily because the course was getting to be in very rough shape. As for my results... I finished 49th out of 170 racers and 11 out of 19 in the A VET CLASS. With 1/2 of the goal achieved I was pretty stoked! and can say it was a totally FUN race! I felt very strong throughout and could have pounded out a few more laps if it required! I think with a better start I would have been right in there!

Always a cool way to start the season... running (and finishing) the PCGP!

Thanks to all the returning and NEW 2008 sponsors:
  • DH Cycles (Modesto KTM dealer)
  • Durban Racing
  • IMS Racing
  • FMF
  • Red-Bull
  • Utopia Optics
  • Cycra Racing
  • Power Sport Graphix
  • Cruz Tools
  • Sierra Utility Sales
  • Garvey
  • and My lovely wife, KELLY!!!
Cheers'

TONY PALANDRANI #75v

A special thanks to Kelly's photo work...she got a very high end Digital SLR camera for xmas... which should make for some awesome action shots when mixed with the right course!

Monday, November 19

D36 Wilseyville Hare Scramble Race Report

AMA District 36 Wilseyville Hare Scramble

Round 17 of 17 - 2007 - Final Round

I've always said...if I could only do one race a year, it would be this one. Schaad Ranch, just outside Jackson, CA (gold country), is a private plot of land that only sees Off Road bikes one time a year and makes for a perfect race venue. At 3500 feet the terrain is a mix of big oak tree, scrub brush and Pine tree, add a few long creeks and several loose rock hill-climbs and you get a very hard 12 mile track. Because of the awesome conditions it use to be on the National Hare Scramble schedule but for the past 8 years its only been local round.


Sunday at noon was the start for the premier race of the weekend. The AA, A open, A VET and B open classes. I lined up on the 3rd row, the A-VET line and at the sound of the gun got a great jump... after the first 2 turns I was headed out to the hills in a solid 4th position. The dust was not too bad, but just enough where it was tough to trust the trails... you had to be very safe about rocks and ruts because many of the trails do not exist this before the race weekend. It was a rather large class...30 people on the A-VET line and the lap times were in the 33 to 35 min time frames. The course was long and packed full of single track so passing was not that easy, but the the loose hills and long creeks is where most positions were lost and gained.


My 4th place jump, turned to about 10th after 2 long creeks then a missed turn and arm pump turned to a 14th spot after the 45 min - 1st lap. 2.5 hours later, 1 short pit for a fresh set of Utopia Goggles and blistered hands, I ended up crossing at 17th place (out of 30) and achieved the goal of racing FAST and not falling ever - which makes for a much nicer Monday AM.

I finished 63rd out of 165 and came to the realization that...being fast is only fun if you have the upper body strength to hang on. New goal - get stronger! Nothing worse than wanting to go faster but no way to hold the bike upright!!! The "A" line is still a mental thing for me and I'm hoping a good winter of training and riding will close the gap in speed and comfort level!


Kelly, my wife, raced this weekend as well on Saturday afternoon. For both of us, it was the first time racing with the LEATT NECK BRACE and after all said and done...we both loved it and did not notice it at all while riding! One more layer of safety is a good thing!!!


She ended up with a fairly decent start maybe top 5 out of the 15 women in her class. She battled with the lead pack for the entire race and after 2 full 25 min laps before the white flag she secure a 5th place spot.

This is her favorite track also as the trails are very narrow, fast and slick...and there is no MX section at all, which means she gets to race what she practices for... TRAILS.

Chris Bridgman made it out as well for the C vet race late Sunday Afternoon. After his first HS race 2 weeks ago and having broke a foot peg midway through that, he wanted another fair shot at this group!


He nailed the start with a clean jump and was top 7 or 8 into the first set of turns... After 2 - 25min laps he was running 2nd in his class out of 43 racers. The next lap he came through with a bent up hand-guard and was running in 6th. (we need to score him some Cycra's) When the checkered flag fell, Chris rode to an awesome 4th place finish in the C vet class and 56th out of 200 people overall in the C Sportsman race. This earns him about 6 advancement points towards the 30 needed for the B class "bump" and by the sounds of it... he'll be ready for the new 2008 series.


Thanks to all the sponsors that help made this happen for 2007 and I look forward to more success in the 2008 series:
  • DH Cycles (Modesto KTM dealer)
  • Durban Racing
  • IMS Racing
  • FMF
  • Renthal
  • Red-Bull
  • Utopia Optics
  • Cycra
  • N-Style
  • No-Toil
  • Cruz Tools
  • Sierra Utility Sales
  • Garvey
  • and My lovely wife, KELLY!!!
~HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND CHEERS TO THE NEW YEAR~

TONY PALANDRANI #85

Monday, November 5

D-36 Lilliputian Hare Scramble 2007

Lilliputian Hare Scramble 2007 - RACE REPORT


Round 3 of the AMA District 36 Fall Cross-Country Hare Scramble Series was hosted this past weekend at the "Hangtown" National MX venue just outside Sacramento, CA. With our "Indian Summer" still in effect producing an 80 degree weekend in November and daylight saving giving everyone an extra hour of sleep, the race conditions were top notch. The race course was roughly 6 miles long with a majority of it held on tight, fast single track...we did get to race between 2 MX tracks (one being the National course groomed perfectly).



Durban Racing had racers in several of the events over the weekend. After achieving a longtime goal of racing in the coveted "A class", I lined up on Sunday morning on the A-VET row, Kelly raced in a Women's Class on Saturday, Varni raced in the C-VET class Sunday afternoon (for the last time ever!!!) With the course being so short and fast they broke up the classes into individual races to keep the crowds down and the racing exciting. A, B and C all rode in their own class races.

After spending 3 competitive years trying to get here...to say that the difference between the B Class and the A Class is a few rows closer to the front on the starting line is a major understatement. The biggest difference I noticed the hard way was... there is zero time to relax. Everyone is in it to win and rides that way the whole event. The course is wide open for the taking...no bottle necks or slow riders because 100% of the group is in shape, ride exceptionally well and all can "race" with very little warm up.


More nervous to start this race than any other... I stood there straddling my front wheel, facing the fender (yet another creative way to start a dead engine race)...waiting....All of a sudden the gun sounded and I found my self sitting on a bike that didn't start. DEAD LAST off the line. I played catch up for the next 2 hours trying to chase down the faster riders in Northern CA.



The course was fun, fast and laid out well, endurance wise i was great...it was my mental game that got the best of me. About 3o mins into it i found what seemed to be a good sustainable pace, then as soon as i let my guard down to relax for a few turns... zoom..zoom, two riders passed me out of the blue! All that work setting them up to get passed in a second. After 2 hours of good racing, 1 massive uphill "yard-sale" that left me seeing "brass gnats" for a minute or so... I finished 12 out of 17 and 50th out of 75 in the A race. Not a bad first race, not a great one, but defiantly hungry to line up in 2 week for the next one.



Kelly, my Wife, #322J raced on Saturday in an all Women's beginner class and after an incredible effort finished on the box with a 3rd place finish and a 6th overall out of 30. She hole-shotted the shotgun start, and took the first lap easy to learn the track but headed into the 2nd lap, she was way back in 7 out of 12 racers. After 2 more hard 20 minute laps, battling for every pass...she was in a solid 3rd place spot at the checkered flag. All those morning riding Stoneyford are starting to pay off... now we just need to practice some "track" style riding and she'll be unstoppable! The 1 hour effort produced a massive stand-up 3' tall trophy! Way to go!


Steve Varni was 1 point shy of advancing to the B class. Almost to the date, 1 year ago he wrecked on an MX track breaking his heel bone requiring massive surgery to install a plate and 6 screws to secure it. This was his first race back after a long 6 months off and the other half year trying to get back into riding shape.

With over 60 people on the C vet line, we figured he needed to finish no worse than 13th to get the points he needed to advance out of the dreaded C class.

The start produced a massive pile up into the 1st turn, which he avoided, the 2nd turn produced another pile up...which he was able to get through but without getting held up alittle...then somewhere on the back side of the track was another massive bottleneck... which left him running in 20th on the first lap. The gap between 8th and 24th was about 2 mins. Slowly getting by the others... he was in 18th then 16th... then after 1.5 hours of super crowed race track... he made it to the finish line at 13th place~! DONE DEAL! Malt Liquor time!!!

Our Friend Chris Bridgman raced as well for his first HS ever... did well considering a mid-race fall that destroyed a footpeg. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of him at the races!


Thanks to all the sponsors that help make this happen:
  • DH Cycles (Modesto KTM dealer)
  • Durban Racing
  • IMS Racing
  • FMF
  • Renthal
  • Red-Bull
  • Utopia Optics
  • RXR Protect
  • Cycra
  • N-Style
  • No-Toil
  • Cruz Tools
  • Sierra Utility Sales
  • Garvey
  • and My lovely wife!!!
~CHEERS~

TONY PALANDRANI #85