BITD Off-Road Racing Series, Round 4: Epic Racing Blue Water Gran Prix
David Pearson continued to dominate Best in the Desert’s American Off-Roda Racing Series by nabbing his third victory in four rounds, this time topping the Epic Racing Blue Water Gran Prix in Parker, Arizona.
After securing a ride with the newly formed Purvines Racing Honda team for this year he’s been on a tear, winning the season-opening THR Motorsports Parker 250 and the Bilek Racing Silver State 300 two weeks ago in Nevada. A mechanical DNF at the GPR Stabilizer Laughlin U.S. Hare Scrambles has been the only blemish on his BITD season to date, leaving him in the driver’s seat for the championship with two rounds remaining.
Though the Blue Water GP was in Parker, it was a completely different race than the Parker 250--or any other event on the BITD calendar, for that matter--representing all that West Coast gran prix races encompass: pavement, sand, hard-pack, rocks, whoops, silt and even a water hole. To top it off, the pit was on the banks of the Colorado River so if you wanted to cool off, a dip in the chilly water was only a few steps away.
Pearson didn’t dominate the entire race; Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Nick Burson pulled the holeshot in a flat area next to the Blue Water Casino’s parking lot, despite having little experience with dead-engine, straddle-the-front-fender starts. “I wanted to get out front and I knew that it was important,” he said. “I nailed it for once.”
Last year’s winner led for a mile or two before Pearson sailed by in a sweeping turn. “I knew he was going to be tough to beat today so I just tried to hang onto him,” Burson said. “I didn’t push too hard; I wanted to get a finish.” And finish he did, about a minute and a half behind Pearson at the end after spending practically the entire race securely in second.
THR Motorsports’ Shane Esposito, on the other hand, had to play catch-up after a dead-last start. “I got into third [place pretty quickly], and I was actually only about 15 seconds, if that, behind Nick, but I just pumped up and couldn’t hold on,” Esposito explained. “For the next two laps I couldn’t hold on and I actually pitted to relax, but he already had the gap so I just cruised around so nothing would happen [to jeopardize third].” He would hang on to finish third, some three minutes behind Burson, with the first three finishers all opting to solo.
“It’s only an hour-and-a-half race,” Pearson pointed out.
A pair of Open Expert teams provided much of the action as they battled up from their second-row start, but it was Purvines Racing Honda’s Justin Morrow and Trevor Ricci staying ahead of THR Motorsports’ Garrett Osteen and Tyler Renshaw for the class win and fourth overall by a scant 14 seconds.
Over 30 Pros racers David Fry and Jason Trubey gave Purvines Racing Honda yet another class win at sixth overall, keeping their win streak intact through all four rounds to date.
Defending series champs Jerry Parsons and Robert Marshall put their RPP Racing KTM fourth Open Pro. As the class points leaders going into the event, they might drop a spot after the official points are tallied later in the week.
After seizing the RPP Racing YZ250 they rode to the 250cc Pro victory at Silver State two weeks ago, cousins Matt and Jesse Canepa broke out Matt’s RM-Z250 and sped to their second win in a row at eighth overall. Whether it’s enough to give them the class points lead over Purvines Racing Honda’s Tuffy Pearson and Jeremy Purvines – who were slowed by a crash and finished 11th overall, second in class – the Canepas will have to wait for the official points to come out, though it’s likely they’ll remain behind the Honda duo.
Brothers Matt and Max Eddy, Jr. of Northland Motorsports finished third Open Expert, while 250cc Experts John Harbauer and Ryan McManus rounded out the top 10 overall on their RPP Racing KTM after a crash and running out of fuel.
It’ll be a couple months before the next round – the TSCO Vegas to Reno – though there are plenty of other races between now and then for most of these competitors. Pearson and a number of others, for example, will race the AMA National Hare & Hound in Utah next weekend. As Pearson pointed out, “We’re doing both series so a couple races are back to back. Hopefully we can do good next weekend and keep this winning streak going.”
1. David Pearson (Honda CRF450R)
2. Nick Burson (Husqvarna TXC 449)
3. Shane Espotito (Kawasaki KX450F)
4. Justin Morrow/Trevor Ricci (Honda CRF450X)
5. Garrett Osteen/Tyler Renshaw (Kawasaki KLX450R)
6. David Fry/Jason Trubey (Honda CRF450X)
7. Jerry Parsons/Robert Marshall (KTM 530 XC-W)
8. Jesse Canepa/Matt Canepa (Suzuki RM-Z250)
9. Matt Eddy/Max Eddy, Jr. (Honda CRF450R)
10. John Harbauer/Ryan McManus (KTM 250 XC)