2012 AMA Hare & Hound Round 1: Caselli Wins

Jan. 23, 2012 By Mark Kariya
Kurt Caselli drops into the sand wash after the bomb with such a lead already that he’s got time to see who’s closest while riding one-handed in fourth gear. He stayed in front to the finish.

Factory FMF/KTM Off-Road Racing Team’s Kurt Caselli opened up the defense of his Hare & Hound championship by dominating the Desert Motorcycle Club’s 45th Winter Classic, the kickoff to the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series.
 
After winning five of the nine rounds last year, Caselli is even more familiar with both the series and his bike. “It was a nice off-season because I didn’t have to change anything with the bike,” he said. “We have pretty much exactly the same set-up, the same bike as last year.
 
After a little battling, David Pearson started the season with a strong second-place finish on a bike he’d had very little time with since switching to the THR Motorsports team recently.

“FMF KTM’s doing the same thing as we were last year and I think it’s showing. We kind of picked up where we left off. It seems like the transition from last year to this year has been very minor.
 
“It should be a good year.”
 
Though five-time series champ Destry Abbott isn’t concentrating on any single series this year, he’s by no means retired and still competitively quick, as he proved by running second for a while at this first Hare & Hound race of the year. But when the Monster Energy Kawasaki star’s rear brake faded, he was helpless to hold off THR Motorsports racer David Pearson, last year’s Winter Classic winner, and Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s David Kamo, and that set the finishing order.

In his first National for the JCR Honda team, David Kamo claimed third.

Purvines Racing Kawasaki’s Justin Morrow adapted quickly to his new machine and claimed fifth, followed by Gary Sutherlin (a former series regular who now concentrates on WORCS). Newcomer Ricky Russell from the Pacific Northwest sped to seventh in his first Southern California desert race while 250cc winner Skyler Howes, Max Eddy, Jr., and Axel Pearson rounded out the top 10, respectively.
 
Though he no longer plans to chase championships, Destry Abbott isn’t retired. After running second, a faded rear brake left him unable to keep that pace and he settled for fourth.

The two-loop 80-mile course off Bessemer Mine Road in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside of Lucerne Valley seemed faster than last year’s, and with the dusty conditions several suffered injuries.

Sadly, Lance Black of the So Cal Motorcycle Club died of injuries sustained in a crash early on loop two. It appeared to be a single-rider accident and he was pronounced dead at the scene despite the quick arrival of Rescue 3 personnel. Black is survived by his wife and two children. His funeral will take place on Saturday, January 28, at North Hills Church, 3100 E. Birch St., Brea, California 92821. A viewing will be held from 10:00 to noon with the service starting at noon. While flowers will be accepted, donations to Riders Helping Riders are also encouraged; contact Sheri Kibbe at ridershelpingriders@gmail.com.

With Purvines Racing now on Kawasakis, Justin Morrow had little time to dial it in, but he nonetheless sped to fifth overall. Dust was a problem in some areas.

Results
1. Kurt Caselli (KTM 450 SX-F)
2. David Pearson (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. David Kamo (Honda CRF450X)
4. Destry Abbott (Kawasaki KX450F)
5. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Gary Sutherlin (Kawasaki KX450F)
7. Ricky Russell (KTM 450 SX-F)
8. Skyler Howes (Yamaha YZ250)
9. Max Eddy, Jr. (Honda CRF450X)
10. Axel Pearson (Kawasaki KX250F)

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