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Autopsy: Desert Hare Scramble

by spike.com   July 23, 2009 at 3:03PM  |  Views: 3,595

It’s called the toughest race on two wheels and the most technical motocross race in the world.

Annually, in Laughlin, Nevada (about 90 miles south and slightly east of Las Vegas), hundreds of racers gather to complete a 100 mile course that would be difficult to hike, let alone try to go it on a motorcycle. In fact, the terrain is so tough, the average speed is only about 25 mph. Some parts of the course are so treacherous, you wonder who and why anyone would do this. Once again, Jesse James would be the who. And the why? To prove to himself he can man-up against the most inhospitable and formidable territory on earth...the desert.

The first official dirt bike appeared in the 1940s as a modification to existing motorcycles. However, road racing has been reported as early as 1897 when the original “Motorcycle Scramble” came to be from British origin. Scrambles aren’t new -- they've been around for a hundred years. And riding a dirt bike is nothing new for Jesse -- but riding through thick dirt, loose rock, and erratic terrain is. And that would be normal for extreme riders. But the Laughlin Desert Hare Scramble is not your ordinary off-road race. Even experienced riders know how tough this is. Although performance motocross drivers make regular racing look easy, even they have their hands full when it comes to the Desert Hare Scramble. Many of them will not complete the grueling course, so the odds are stacked against Jesse doing it. He is up for the challenge but needs to ready himself for it.

How does one prepare for the most difficult race in all of motor sports? You go to the best in the world and take Desert Dirt Bike Racing 101. So Jesse went to see Jeremy McGrath, winner of 12 championship titles, 74 Supercross races and 103 total race titles -- a true sport champion and arguably one of the greatest off-road riders of all time. Seems reasonable Jesse will get adequate schooling, right? The problem is the course is something even Jeremy thinks is crazy. With every possible element of difficulty, and the need for strength, stamina, focus, the will to push death’s limit, and of course, skill, does Jesse have what it takes? Well four of the five he has for sure, but the skill he lacks may be his downfall and it is unlikely that a single lesson will give him what he needs.

THE DAILY FOUR

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