Justin Bonita came from behind to win the AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship round at Anza, California. Photography by Grumpy
Justin Bonita, on the KLIM/FMF KTM, took top honors at the fourth round of the AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship that was held on the Cahuilla Tribal Lands of Anza, California, March 16. Husqvarna’s Jacob Argubright finished second, followed by 3 Bro’s KTM rider Ryan Kudla. The race was also a part of the Get-Xtr-Eme Motorcycle Endurance Series (GXE).
Argubright took control of the race right off the bat, while Bonita and Kudla trailed the group as they headed into the wooded section of the course.
Bonita would make a quick pass on Kudla.
By the time the course got onto the Carlsbad Replica track Bonita had already made his way into second overall. Argubright had what seemed to be a comfortable buffer between him and the advancing Bonita with over 30 seconds of space through the scoring chicane after lap one.
Bonita would continue to push Argubright hoping to force a mistake, as Argubright was obviously not as comfortable racing through the barely bar-width Manzanita bushes.
“I was really hoping for something gnarlier – as in rocks!” said Argubright “The GXE in Reno was right up my alley, but chasing the Hare Scramble Series, I really have to get a hang of these trees.”
As the leaders would come in on their third lap, they would enter the pits only three seconds apart and leave the same way into the tree section. Now they would start to get deep into the lappers and Argubright would run into the back of one falling over. He would get up quickly but the front end would wash out again.
“I saw Jake [Argubright] on the ground and thought this was my chance!” said Bonita. “So i got around him and just ‘goosed’ it!”
Now that Bonita was in the lead he would be able to set the pace and stretch out a little bit of a lead, so he would be safer in the rock sections. Coming in for the white-flag lap, he would already have a minute gap, posting the fastest lap time of the day at 28:13 to Argubright’s 29:28.
While Kudla would hold onto a solid third overall he wouldn’t be alone. His 3 Bro’s KTM teammate Nick Stover would catch up to he rear wheel from the A 250 line and, on adjusted time, he would overtake him coming through on lap three in third overall. With the added pressure, Kudla would start to bump up his lap times and get a gap again regaining the position.
At the finish it was Bonita taking the overall victory, his second on the weekend (after taking the win at his local D36 Hollister Hare Scramble). Argubright would retain second overall and extend his points lead in the overall championship to 56 points over Morgan Crawford, who would finish fifth overall on the day. Kudla would post one of his fastest times of the day and secure third and the GXE Pro Two-Stroke victory followed by Stover in fourth and first A 250.