Desert Racing – 69th Annual Checker Chase
The silence of sitting on the line of a dead engine start is only broken by the sound of your heart beating through your chest. 100 motorcycles and racers, shoulder to shoulder, staring down the start flag. Situated 100 yards down the start, two course workers holding the start banner for the 69th annual Check chase, National Hare and Hound. One of the oldest forms of desert racing. The flag drops, engines start and throttles held to the stop for the 2 mile long bomb run, where the course goes from 100 racers wide to single file down the track. Each racer battling the dust, chasing pink ribbon. No one has ridden the course, most of it virgin, ridden on for the first time. Its an all out sprint for the next 80 miles through some of the toughest, roughest and out right sketchy terrain, following only the pink ribbon in the bush and the occasional danger marking sign. Its a true test of man and machine, knowing when to go fast and when to hold back is a key to success and simply finishing in one piece.
A race so demanding of man and machine must be met with the proper preparation. The motorcycle must be built very specifically to tackle the challenge. Custom is a word that seldom is used to explain purpose built race machines. Generally, a chopper or cafe racer comes to mind for most. The reality is the subtleties are about as custom as you can imagine. It takes a keen eye to truly see the modifications and a keen rider to appreciate the difference. Everything from modified handlebars, custom suspension, nitro mousse foam inserts in the tires, steering stabilizer under the bar, engine and chassis modifications from Champion adventures, thrill seekers seat with special foam, and a Motocutz MX graphics kit to tie it all together. Those are just a few of the things that makes this Honda CRF450x built for battle. Our own Forrest Minchinton, would put the machine in the top 5 for the first 40 miles and settle in to a first place finish in the Open Expert division.
Text by Forrest Minchinton
Images by Harry Mark