AMA Hare & Hound, Round 6: Pearson Takes Win
It’s been a long dry spell for THR Motorsports Kawasaki’s David Pearson. The last time the 2007 series champ won a round of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series was the series kickoff last year.
Other Hare & Hound Races:
Round 5: Caselli Crashes, Argubright Wins
Round 3: Caselli Wins Again
But the cagey Nevadan took advantage of Kurt Caselli’s injury-forced absence to the fullest, sneaking into the lead shortly after the start of the 52nd Annual Cherry Creek National--hosted by the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club near the Little Sahara Sand Dunes Recreation Area near Jericho, Utah—and staying out front the rest of the way.
The 30 points he earned in his latest triumph vaulted him into the series points lead, and he now owns 12 points more than the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Caselli, 132-120. With the next round in Reno next month up in the air due to landowner concerns, Caselli would possibly have only three rounds to make up the deficit. In that case, if he won those three and Pearson was second all three times, Caselli would successfully defend his championship by three points, 210-207.
A short, uphill bomb run with a hard right at the end found round-five winner Jacob Argubright out front in his attempt to make it two victories in a row. But Pearson saw an inside line through the sagebrush as the course made a bend to the left after the bomb and seized the lead with that move.
From there, it was simply a matter of managing the gap over his pursuers. “I kind of just set my own pace,” he said. “I kind of wanted to pull away, but I kind of wanted to pace myself at the same time.
“It went good. I rode a good pace and led it from there to the finish.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green/Purvines Racing’s Argubright stayed in the mix, completing the first loop in second, just 22 seconds behind Pearson with 27 seconds on Pro Cycle Racing Kawasaki’s T.J. Hannifin—the local favorite who finished third overall two weeks ago at the Sageriders National. That seemed to be about the distance you wanted to stay behind whoever was in front of you to stay just out of his dust cloud.
But round five’s winner had more to deal with than just his fellow racers. He’d spent the beginning of the week dealing with the flu, though he insisted, “I was more nervous winning the last race and coming off of that [result], but I’ve only got to go through that once—now my nerves are [calm]. At the start, I was super-nervous, but I think it helped me get a super-awesome holeshot. That felt so cool!”
However, being sick earlier in the week ended up catching up with him and he surrendered second to T.J. Hannifin on the faster, flatter second loop.
“Today I had an excellent start,” Hannifin recalled. “I was fourth or fifth through the banners, then when we crossed the road over here, I was in third. It was a heck of a lot better than a couple weeks ago! I was stoked to be in third that early in the race.
“I just stayed there and just tried to catch Dave and Jake, [but] I couldn’t really make up much time in the dust the first, oh, 20 miles. I made up a little bit of time in the trees and we were all pretty close coming into the pits. Then on the second loop, I got by Jake coming in from Desert Mountain. I just stayed right there--I couldn’t get close enough to Dave.” Still, he was happy about his career-best runner-up overall.
Nick Thompson ended up improving several spots from round five to claim fourth overall (and second Open A to Hannifin) aboard his Cafe Rio KTM just 15 seconds ahead of Purvines Racing Kawasaki’s Nick Burson. KTM-mounted Brady Elton was another Utah resident who enjoyed a better finish than two weeks ago, placing sixth overall and third in Open A.
Purvines Racing Kawasaki’s Justin Morrow, Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s David Kamo, 250cc A winner Shawn Strong and Cody Shafer rounded out the top 10.
Though Pearson now has the series points lead, he realizes that he could lose it just as easily as Caselli did. “I have a pretty good cushion now, but when Kurt gets healthy, it’s going to be hard to beat him at Lucerne; he’ll be riding good,” Pearson conceded. “I don’t know—we’ll see. All we can do is keep working hard and go down and try to win the [Tecate/SCORE Baja] 500—just keep riding and doing what we do.”
Round 6 Results
1. David Pearson (Kawasaki KX450F)
2. T.J. Hannifin (Kawasaki KX450F)
3. Jacob Argubright (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Nick Thompson (KTM 350 XC-F)
5. Nicholas Burson (Kawasaki KX450F)
6. Brady Elton (KTM 300 XC)
7. Justin Morrow (Kawasaki KX450F)
8. David Kamo (Honda CRF450X)
9. Shawn Strong (KTM 250 XC)
10. Cody Schafer (Kawasaki KX450F)