2016 Stumpjumper Desert 100 Countdown 17 Days to Go

2016 Stumpjumper Desert 100 Countdown 17 Days to Go
It is that time of year again, the Stumpjumper Desert 100 race weekend is closing fast.  I plan to race my mighty KTM 950 Adventure for a third year in a row.  My first attempt saw a 2nd place finish in the Adventure Bike class, and last year I ended up a respectable 8th place.  I know I am better prepared than last year, physically that is.  I have had a few weekends recently aboard my Husqvarna TE450 in the desert.  I feel pretty good, lots of kinks were worked out on the Husky.  The KTM on the other hand is undoubtable in worse shape than last year.

Literally a second before chain failure

My KTM 950 hasn’t moved under it’s own power since Halloween.  I was racing the 24 Hours of Starvation Ridge with the Black River ADV crew, three miles into my first lap my rear sprocket bent.  This caused my chain to snap and crack my engine case, busting off the clutch slave cylinder.  It was a rough day of racing that didn’t get any better when I a borrowed a KTM 950 Super Enduro from a teammate to go back out.  In the then muddy conditions I ended up crashing my brains out enough that my neck stopped working correctly, and may have caught some slight hypothermia.  That is another story for another day.  Anyways my KTM has sat since then until last week.  With all of these months to prepare, to repair the damage, I just have excuses for my normal last minute thrash back together.  My truck needed a new clutch, which ended up including an engine swap.  Really the months that I relegated the KTM to a corner in the garage are my few slow months at work that I get to relax on the weekends.  I probably enjoyed my couch time more than I should have.  Now it is game on, and if all goes well I can get the big KTM ready to once again race in the eastern Washington desert.

IMG_1695Where do I sit today?  Last week was the first big push.  Months ago I assessed the damage and made a list of required parts and service required.  Finally the engine was ripped out of the KTM and taken to the welder.  This week I called Wenatchee Powersports and ordered all of the little OEM bits I needed.  I will be ordering my Leatt neck brace in the next few days, something that I have promised myself and others I will now wear after my neck related scare late time racing.  These final few things will be on the way later this week.  I hope to have the engine back next week, as well as the required parts, and Easter weekend the magic will happen.  I wanted to make a zombie Jesus reference about rising from the dead, but no one saw him leave his tomb.  I guess this will be just another epic fiery phoenix rising from the ashes type tale.

Final Thoughts
The situation as I leave this post is as follows.  Today is 17 days until race day, 14 days until I leave Seattle and drive over the mountains to the race site.  Currently I have a racebike in my garage without an engine, but with fresh Konflict Motorsports tuned “R” height (265mm) suspension and new Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires.  To be honest I’m taking every little win I can with the last two points.  The engine is at the welder, and most of the parts have been ordered and are on the way.  Tonight I did remove the last of the 24 Hours at Starvation Ridge race numbers that had been obscuring the proud 603 numbers that are permanently affixed.  I will try to keep updating the status of the KTM as the days count down.  Good luck out there, have fun, and godspeed.

-Eric Archambault

Eric Archambault