Tharon Cesselli was excited to be racing in his own back yard on May 29th on trails he knows and loves in the Okanagan Hare Scramble Series (OHSS), The Dirty Dragon Hare Scramble held southwest of Kamloops near Inks Lake. In exchange for an Enduro section, a challenging mud hole took its place. The mud hole was difficult for the morning racers and by Tharon’s afternoon race it was worse, however, it was sure to provide some interesting action for both the racers and the spectators.
Tharon was quick off the start and managed to capture second place through the hole shot. Everything was going well as Tharon made his way through the first length of forest trails that led up to the mud. He made it through the mud unscathed and scrambled up a taxing steep hill, popped over the top, and landed on a scattering of rocks. His front tire landed hard on the rocks and in an instant his race was over, he had a “pinch flat”. Two of Tharon’s friends who were also racing stopped to assist their comrade, but he quickly waved them on as he indicated his race was already over.
While he sat and watched riders pass by several others joined him as they too became victims of pinch flats at this same section of trail. Slowly Tharon worked his way off the hillside and gently rode down the trails to the check point where he was recorded to have completed one lap just under 56 minutes.
What Tharon had hoped would be the race that would see him on the podium, instead resulted in a DNF (did not finish). Thereafter, he sat back and made the best of a bad situation, visited with his family and friends, and enjoyed the race from the sidelines as a spectator. His commented, “That’s racing. Stuff like this is bound to happen eventually.”
On June 11 and 12, Tharon competed in back-to-back night and day races in another portion of the Okanagan Hare Scrambles Series (OHSS), this time near Vernon.
The Night Throttle race started around 8 p.m. and ran until the last rider returned to the check point. The night races, though not as popular with competitors, did have 51 registrants, four of which were in Tharon’s Intermediate class.
It was a relatively uneventful ride for Tharon as he coasted through the short three lap route effortlessly. His first lap was completed during the late evening light, whereas the final two laps progressively became darker until eventually trail navigation relied on the illumination from the powerful riding light and from his memory of the route taken on his first lap. Tharon held his lead position for the first two laps, however, was overtaken on the third lap. He was unable to reclaim first position during the final lap, but came away pleased with his second place trophy.
The next morning Tharon prepared for the Full Throttle (day) race. He quickly snapped up the lead at the start of the race, but lost it when he failed to navigate the first sharp turn into the hole shot.
He pulled his bike out of the wide turn, slid into an opening somewhere in the middle of the pack and sped off towards the forest trails.
He challenged the Enduro for each of his three laps and managed to manoeuvre through with very little difficulty. Tharon was able to secure fourth position on his first lap, running 36 seconds behind the third position rider and 2:20 behind the first place leader. The top four riders on the first lap remained the top four during the entire race. By the end of the second lap, four of the 12 riders that started the race, had pulled out.
On Tharon’s third and final lap he knew he was in a comfortable fourth position with a good time buffer between him and the fifth place rider. He rapidly assessed the times and concluded that unless the third place rider ahead of him encountered some difficulty it was unlikely he would capture third place.
Tharon rode the remainder of the race more easily, and was satisfied to come in fourth place with a time of 2:36, over five minutes behind the first place rider, and nearly 15 minutes ahead of the fifth place rider. By the end of the race only half of the twelve starting riders completed the three lap race.