The 50th anniversary of the Cherry Creek National, hosted by the Sugarloafers Motorcycle Club, in Jericho, Utah, on May 15, was essentially over a couple miles into the bomb run. That’s when Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Kendall Norman realized it was going to be his day – again.
“Really, the start for me was over when I hit the dirt road,” he explained. “I got a really good jump and looked over both directions and saw that I had an edge. When I got to the dirt road right where the banner was, I was on it and I set sail.”
From there, he and his Eric Siraton-prepared CRF450X remained in front in a flawless performance to notch his fourth series triumph, putting five more points between himself and runner-up David Kamo of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Race Team.
Kamo kept his 450 XC-F a close second over the fast 30-mile first loop near the Little Sahara Recreation Area but ran into a problem getting the aluminum filler-hole cover off his fuel tank at the pit. That allowed Norman to put a gap on him, one he wouldn’t be able to completely erase over the remaining two laps and 84 miles, though he did get close enough to sniff dust.
“I was pushing pretty hard just so I could see him. I got into his dust, but he rode good all day,” Kamo acknowledged. “He didn’t make any mistakes–I was sitting there waiting for a mistake. I think I was [between] 20 and 10 seconds behind him to the finish so it was good.”
Kawasaki of Simi Valley’s Jacob Argubright likewise held third practically the entire day aboard his KX450F, while Kawasaki privateer T.J. Hannifin claimed fourth overall and first Utah resident after capitalizing on an excellent start and showing competitive speed for his best-to-date National finish.
Blais Racing’s Morgan Crawford turned a good start aboard his KTM 530 XC-W into a career-best National finish of fifth overall. He was followed by 250cc winner Justin Imhof, Kamo’s teammate David Pearson (who lost the clutch on the last loop), Utah racers Jordan Peterson and Shawn Strong, and Thousand Oaks Kawasaki’s Ryan Kudla.
Norman’s win added five more points to his lead over Kamo, the two running 1-2 in the series, 179-158. The Nationals now take the traditional summer break before returning to action with the final two rounds in October, both in Lucerne Valley, California.