Wild Hares

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2005

Maplesville – Think of all that can be accomplished over a 24-hour period. For a group of mountain-bikers, they choose to see how many times they can navigate through an 11-mile offroad course during the KTM/ Perry Mountain 24 Hour Challenge held in Maplesville. The event kicked off at 10 a.m., Saturday morning with teams competing in 12 different classes with goal of seeing who can make it the farthest over a 24-hour period.

In last year’s Hare Scramble, as it’s known, the field was comprised of 51 teams competing for the championship and 27 Ironmen.

This year’s race provides several different styles of racing. There are seven teams of six registered for the Elite team class. The Expert class has 21 teams of six. The Sportsman class this year has 34 teams of up-to six competitors. In the Ironman and Ironwoman class, there are 20 participants. These numbers were when the media guide was printed. The Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club held registration right up to the 10 a.m., starting flag. It cost $15 to enter as an Ironman and $350 to ride as a team.

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The racers were divided into class and then required to get off their bikes. A flagman lowered a green flag and the racers sprinted to their bikes, mounted and cranked speeding out of the 25-yard area and into the first turn. In that first turn, it didn’t take long for a logjam to develop between the racers.

Once they navigated the first turn, they embarked on an 11-mile trek through the course that was developed on the land of one of the PMMC’s founding fathers – Millard Reynolds.

With a track that is predominately natural, slight weather changes can affect it.

Hutchinson is in his second 24-hour race at the Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club.

For those competing in the Ironman/Ironwoman class, there is supposed to be no break. But after a handful of laps, Gina Beckham of Atlanta had to take a break because of all the gear.

Last year’s racetrack in the team competition, the Hattiesburg Cycle /A team took the lead away from Dustin Gibson and the Graham KTM team during the tenth lap. With first and second becoming a battleground, Team Hedgehog moved into third and eventually second place after a rock got trapped in the rear sprocket. Hedgehog’s slot in second position was quickly taken away by Team Knight Cycle. Knight Cycle’s second place finish marked the third year in a row that the squad has finished as the first runner-up.

Dirt Tech won the 2004 Expert class. Mike Phillips earned the Ironman title at the end of last year’s event.

Racers will continue their routines, teams will rotate drivers every lap or every two laps and Ironmen and women will continue their revolutions around the track to see who can complete the most.

The race will officially end at 10 a.m., today with trophies and prizes being awarded to the winners and runners up of the event.