Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2005
Casey Campbell served as an example of what 17 laps over a rugged, 11-mile mountain course during a 24-hour period can do to a body. The teenager from Vero Beach, Fla raced around the forest curve and then up the hill, finally slowing to come through the porch of the Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club’s clubhouse that served as the checkpoint during the two-day event.
After getting her time recorded, she popped the clutch and proceeded to join the logjam of riders waiting to have their mountain bikes checked by PMMC officials at the bottom of the hill. When she stopped her bike, that’s when the adventure began. Stumbling off the bike and then into the arms of her dad before finally collapsing in a heap against the wall of the clubhouse as members of her team, Team Green, and PMMC officials came to check on her.
Campbell was one of seven women competing in the Ironwoman challenge at this year’s PMMC 24-Hour Challenge, also known as the Hare Scramble. Despite her collapse before reaching the bottom of the hill, Campbell was able to notch a third place finish. Her 17 laps put her two behind the group’s winner, Suzy Moody, and 22 minutes behind Eva Kuhn of Duluth, GA.
Kuhn also ran 17 laps, but had a quicker time. Ginny Harrison of Villa Rica, GA rounded out the top four of the group with 14 laps under her belt.
"It was rough, very rough but you have to put yourself on a pace and I think I fell off of it at some point,&uot; said Harrison. "Instead of getting enough sleep, I tried to race and ended up taking an hour to finish a lap. To start out the course was great and I liked it a lot, but over the course of the day you have that many bikes going over that many times it got worse and worse and by the end of the day it was terrible. One of the roughest one’s I’ve ridden.&uot;
The course caused just as much problem for people racing in the team class as well. Members of the PMMC were dispatched multiple times during Saturday night to get riders who thought they could make one extra lap, but the loss of light and rough terrain proved them wrong.
The course did get mixed reviews. While some racers grew to hate it, others enjoyed the ride.
Yerke completed five laps of the 11-mile course. "This is my third year doing it, it’s my first year doing it as an Ironman. It was pretty rough out there, but it was still pretty much a tough course. The roughest part of the course was along the backstretch where the people could sit back and watch you.&uot;
Shawn Jerrell agreed with Yerke, as the two shared a tent after coming off the track.
Overall, the members of the Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club were pleased with their event. President Glenn Hollingshead was pleased to see that the event has grown from last year to this year.
Despite the bugs, the PMMC plans to have another Hare Scramble next year.
As for the racers, they are already making plans to be a part of the PMMC 24-Hour Challenge’s 2006 edition.
In the standings, AmPro Yamaha proved to be the overall winners, carrying with them a check $2,500. In the individual races, Michael Phillips won the Ironman class for the second year in a row and this year got an additional prize. A spokesperson from Red Bull gave Phillips an invitation to compete in the Red Bull Last Man Standing Endurance Race held in November.
Suzy Moore won the Ironwoman division.