Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Kendall Norman won his second consecutive round of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series after leading most of the way at the Rabbit Creek 100 by Dirt Inc., round four of the series, in Murphy, Idaho, on March 21.
Conditions in the high desert sage country were far different than round three, with plenty of single-track and sand washes that were dry and dusty. That, however, didn’t seem to matter for the new series points leader on his Lucas Oil/Dunlop CRF450X as he edged local favorite David Kamo on the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Race Team 450 XC-F by about 10 seconds with privateer Gary Sutherlin another 30-plus seconds back on a KX450F he borrowed from Destry Abbott.
With no pre-riding allowed on the long, slightly downhill bomb run that dropped into a narrow sand wash, the start favored those who did a lot of hiking to search out the best line, and FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Race Team’s David Pearson proved to have done his homework, coming in from the right side to clearly lead the early going on his Muscle Milk/Motorex/KTM PowerParts-backed 450 XC-F over Norman, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Abbott, Kamo, Sutherlin and the rest of the field.
Unfortunately for the former series champ, his rear tire came apart before the alternate gas stop due to a suspected broken bead attributed to incorrect installation. After failing to convince a spectator to loan him a tire, Pearson tried to continue, but he had to eventually cut the tire off completely. The rear rim couldn’t take much more and it broke before he could reach the main pit, giving him a DNF.
Norman took full advantage and led the remainder of the event with Kamo trying valiantly to push the pace after a crash left him without a working clutch. He closed several times on the second and final loop, but he found it impossible to punch through the silty dust cloud that Norman left in his wake. Sutherlin finished a relatively close third, with a good margin over fellow Kawasaki privateers Jacob Argubright and Robert Underwood.
Unofficially, Norman now leads the points chase for the first time with Kamo second, 94-87. Abbott holds third at 86 after soldiering through to sixth, a feat more remarkable considering he’d dislocated his shoulder while practicing at home in the middle of the week and riding in considerable pain simply to salvage points.
Justin Imhof took first 250cc A and seventh overall aboard his KTM 250 XC with Canadian Bobby Prochnau eighth in only his second desert race, Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Nick Burson and local racer Josh Mott rounding out the top 10.
Afterwards, Norman said, “I never thought the first [win] would come, then two in a row? Wow, icing on top of the cake!”
He added, “My good friend Rick Gill just died yesterday. It was a big bummer to me, and he was the kind of guy that would never give up. I really want to dedicate this to him.”