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Blais Racing Sponsored Harry Lyles takes 4th 250A at Round 1 of the West Chec Series!

BLAIS RACING SERVICES / FASST CO RACE REPORT!
The Lost Coyotes: Lost in the Woods Qualifier

1/21/14


By: Harry Lyles, AA

Coming into the 2014 race season I was feeling confident from winning the 250A title in the AMA WestChec Enduro series, but at the same time, I was really nervous because winning the championship meant that I have to ride in the stacked AA class, which was filled with gnarly guys who have some pretty impressive racing backgrounds.

Although I knew the new competition was going to be really tough, I was still really excited to get back into the groove of racing and having fun. But in the back of my mind I knew it was going to be tough due to the lack of support from sponsors. That all changed when Chris Blais gave me a call and asked if I want to race the AMA WestChec Enduro Series for his Blais Racing Services KTM Team. I was Dungey pumped, because the opportunity was going to help me tremendously and it gave me tons of confidence for 2014 cause I knew I had the best support from Chris, Patty, all my new teammates, and sponsors!

For the race, The Lost Coyotes hosted the first round of the WestChec Enduro Series at Rower Flats OHV, in Santa Clarita, Ca. I was stoked to get on the bike and race, because I had a blast at this event two years ago and I was hearing that there was going to have a lot more single track than the previous event. I came into the round with a conservative approach because I was coming off a broken collarbone I suffered 7 weeks ago at Day in the Dirt, and I was still feeling slightly run down from the flu that plagued me earlier in the week.

I was on minute 3 and I was very thankful of this, because I knew the guys on the later minutes would be fighting hard for clean air due to the extremely dusty conditions. Knowing this, I came into the first special test with zero pressure and threw down a mistake free, fiery test time. I wish I could say the same about the second test, but it was extremely fast on rolling ridge tops, which definitely did not suit my style. I felt myself backing off a bit because in the back of my mind, I had flashing thoughts about re-injuring my collar bone, so I kept it at a fast and safe pace.

After the second test we had an hour and a half break at a check, which was cool because it gave me time to catch up with my racing friends that I have not seen in a while. During this time it also gave me a chance to compare my times with the fast guys and I was stoked to find out I wasn’t too far off some of the top guys pace.  

After the last check on the first loop, we rode a long fire road back to the staging around for the lunch and gas break. I drank a Vitamin water, put down a sandwich, and rode off to the second loop. I always look forward to the last loops clubs put on, because generally they are a lot tougher and I tend to throw down faster test times. The next two tests were extremely fun and suited my riding style, but I was struggling for grip because the lack of moisture in the dirt made it seem that we were riding on marbles on top of glass! In one of the tests, I came into one corner way too hot and flew off the side into a little ravine almost ending my day, but lucky some bushes grabbed me a slowed me down. I hit the estart on my Blais Racing/ FASSTCO backed Ktm and pinned it up the other side of the ravine only losing a few seconds. After I got back on the trail, I had a few choice words for myself, and backed it down, reminding myself that I cannot afford to get hurt at the first round.

After those two tests I was starting to feel the effects of flu I had earlier in the week and was feeling really fatigued. Lucky my Flexxbars that were doing a superb good of soaking up the course because my shoulders were smoked! I got to the last test, and I knew it was going to be a short one since I could see the staging area from the mountain we were on. The final test was a downhill spirit all the way down the mountain and it was filled with gnarly rain ruts and rocks that could catapult you off your bike at any given time. I felt like a downhill skier, bobbing and weaving down the mountain missing all the dangers that could end my day on a bad note. I came into the special out feeling relieved that I finished the sketchy special without going over the bars.

Although I felt I rode well, I ended up finishing a slightly disappointing 13th overall and 4th 250A. I was a little bummed because 1st only beat me by 23 seconds, but that’s what makes enduro racing fun, because every second your not on the gas or hard on the brakes it makes a difference in your times. All in all, it was a fun and I was glad to come out of the race safe. My Blais Racing/FASST CO Ktm 250xc ran flawlessly thanks to the prep work from Chris Blais and my teammates, Ben Meza, and Brendan Crow. The next WestChec Enduro round is Feb 15 in Wickenberg, AZ and I cannot wait to get out there, because last year it was hands down my favorite race of the year.

I am really excited for my racing program this year because I have so many  great people that have my back. A Special thanks goes to my family, friends, Chris and Patty Blais, my teammates, and all of our amazing sponsors Blais Racing, Fasst Company, Race Tech, ESR, Troy Lee Designs, MuscleMilk, Cytomax, Vonzipper, Dirt Tricks, Notoil, Kenda, and FMF.

See you at the races!

-Harry Lyles

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