The second round of the AMA FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series in Ocotillo, California, March 13, came down to the wire with Montclair Yamaha’s Russ Pearson taking the win by only a few seconds over defending champ Destry Abbott.
Team Green Kawasaki’s Abbott, Pearson and team Honda’s Steve Hengeveld all led at one point during the race. Abbott, however, led the most but struggled with the course markings and, more than once, saw his lead disappear after getting lost. Still, Abbott looked to have things under wraps as he headed towards the finish line with a small lead over Pearson, but the two riders lost the course again, and it was a frantic race to find the markings first. When they finally did, it was Pearson coming out on top, taking the checkered flag just a few feet ahead of Abbott.
“I could see the pits and just like the whole day [had] been going, I lost the markings again with a half of mile to go,” Abbott said. “Both Russ and I were looking all around, and then we saw some markings on this little hill in front of the finish. As soon as I went over it, we both realized we needed to make a sharp right-hand corner and go into the finish shoot. He was able to get to the inside of me, and take the win with a second or two.”
“We could practically see the finish, and we both spotted ribbon about the same time and pinned it to it,” Pearson said, “but realized then the course was headed right and quickly cranked it right, and I snuck on the inside of him and pinned it to the finish. I crossed the finish line first and looked back and Destry was probably 10 feet behind me.”
Hengeveld ended up finishing third, while KTM rider Gary Klopp and Honda-mounted Norman Kendall rounded out the top five overall.