Privateer Russell Pearson proved that you don’t absolutely need a factory team behind you to win a championship.
He carried a relatively comfortable points lead going into the eighth and final round of the AMA National Hare & Hound Championship Series — the 100s Motorcycle Club’s 42nd Annual Johnson Valley Championship at Anderson Dry Lake outside of Lucerne Valley, California. Pearson needed “only” a fourth-place finish if defending series champ and second-in-points Destry Abbott won.
But Pearson didn’t get the start he’d hoped for on his Pearson Brothers Construction/Chaparral Motorsports KTM 450 XC-F and was buried in dust while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Abbott enjoyed clean air after nailing the holeshot on his Pro Circuit KX450F followed closely by Pearson’s cousin, Shock Doctor KTM’s David Pearson on his Muscle Milk 530 XC-W.
This would not be the fairy tale ending to the season for Abbott, however. Still feeling the effects of last week’s ISDE, he admitted, “I’m not making excuses. I just was not riding good today. The next thing I know, Russ went by me and he was a gear higher than I was.”
And just like that, Russell Pearson went to the front and was gone. Abbott held on for second while Shock Doctor KTM’s David Kamo claimed third after his teammate crashed and broke a radiator, ending his day prematurely. JCR Honda’s Quinn Cody rebounded from a mediocre start for fourth place over Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Nick Burson.
Ty Davis, Justin Morrow, Morgan Crawford, Ryan Kudla and Brett Saunders rounded out the top 10 finishers for the 95-mile, four-loop course. Unofficially, the top three in final series points reads: Russell Pearson, Destry Abbott and David Kamo.
Afterwards, Russell Pearson reflected on his third series championship: “This one was special just because we kind of did it as a family — the Pearsons did it,” he said. “We didn’t have all the support [you’d think]. My parts, I had to pay for them out of my pocketbook and my wife wasn’t too happy about it so I tried not to tell her how much things were.”
1. Russ Pearson (KTM); 2. Destry Abbott (Kaw); 3. David Kamo (KTM); 4. Quinn Cody (Hon); 5. Nick Burson (Hus); 6. Ty Davis (Hus); 7. Justin Morrow (Kaw); 8. Morgan Crawford (KTM); 9. Ryan Kudla (Kaw); 10. Brett Saunders (Kaw).