There were over 255 teams at this years Perry Mountain 24 Hour Race. Our team consisted of Alex McRee, Sam Evans, Kenny Gilbert, Dillion Inggs, Grant Baylor, and myself (Nathan Thornhill). Our Goal was to win our class and have a solid top 10 performance. It was extremely hot and dusty, but the course seemed to be in decent shape.
At 10 o'clock on Saturday June 4th, the race was on! Grant Baylor immediately stormed into the lead and put us around 4th overall; however, team NAP (Dustin Gibson, Zac Nash, etc.) was 2nd in our class and nipping at our heals. As each rider on our team went out, our lead grew. Eventually we moved into 3rd overall and was challenging the second place KTM team of (John Dowd, Homero Diaz, etc.). We were pretty much flawless the whole first half of the race.
Heading into darkness, many teams had light problems including us as well. We were currently 1st in class and second overall with a chance of 1,500 grand but, after 3 unnecessary pitstops, we fell back to third. Like many teams, we couldn't get our headlight to stay on. After we finally got this problem fixed, we have fallen back to 4th overall. Still, Dillion Inggs hopped on and was bringing us back into the game. On his third lap is when our bad luck had hid. The metal ring that holds on the air-filter boot had broken and sucked in all kinds of dust. The bike locked up and Dillion had to sit with it until he could be towed in.
This is the point where we could use our impound bike but, our 1st bike had to be back in the impound before we could get our 2nd bike out. After an hour or so, here they come towing Dillion in. We hurry to get the broken bike in the impound and the new one out. We strap the light on it double check it and then Im gone.
We were down a lap to second in our class but it was still possible to make it up. At around 3 in the morning on my second lap, the new bike sputtered and quit. This was our only chance to make a come back and now the bike wouldn't run. I tried everything in my power to get it to start back but the bike ignored me. I kicked it until I threw up. I could not figure out what was wrong with it, so I waited until 4 or 5 in the morning to get towed back in. At this point we were pretty much out of the race and out of luck. We put a new stator on the bike and sent Grant back out to finish off the race. The bike still sputtered but never fully quit on him.
Eventually Grant was able to finish the race for us. We ended up 4th in our class and 31st overall. It was a ton of fun and we all had a blast. We are already looking forward to doing it next year. Thanks to all our pit-crew, Team KTM, sponsors, and fans. This Perry Mountain 24 Hour Race was one to remember.
- Nathan Thornhill