Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soulé doesn’t do much desert racing due to his WORCS and EnduroCross commitments, but when he does, he brings that sort of speed to the game.
So, it wasn’t a huge surprise when he and teammate Taylor Robert joined forces to win the GPR Stabilizers Laughlin U.S. Hare Scrambles outside of Laughlin, Nevada, on March 5, the second year in a row for Soulé to triumph at the race that serves as round two of Best in the Desert’s American Off-road Racing Series.
“It’s a fun race,” Soulé said. “I’m not a huge go-fast-down-a-fire-road kind of guy. I like more bike skill, technique-style racing.”
Don’t think it was a runaway, though, as three teams vied for the lead. Round-one winner David Pearson and partner Carl Maassberg led early on their Purvines Racing CRF450X with the THR Motorsports KX450F of Shane Esposito and Bobby Garrison then Robert/Soulé in the mix.
As they wound their way around the tricky, twisty course, no one seemed to have a clear advantage over the first of three laps around the two-loop course, but everyone charged during the second lap. A broken engine put the Maassberg/Pearson duo out of the race on the final lap as Robert/Soulé sailed out front, leaving them comfortably ahead of Esposito/Garrison, who’d had problems with their bike stalling until they realized they were turning the idle screw the wrong way (the opposite direction from a carbureted bike).
The finish order mimicked last year with Soulé pulling off the win, Garrison claiming second and Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Nick Burson/David Kamo taking third. Brothers Nick (a former overall winner) and 16-year-old Tuffy Pearson teamed up on a YZ250F for the 250cc Pro win and fourth overall less than a minute ahead of another brother combo, fourth-place Open Pros Matt and Zachary Gosnell aboard their Purvines Racing Beta 450 RR.