2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results

Mark Kariya | February 26, 2018

2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results – Don’t write off Kendall Norman as a contender in the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Presented by FMF.

2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results

2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results
Back in action. Kendall Norman captured the overall win at the King of the Desert Hare & Hound in El Centro, California. Photo: Mark Kariya

Five years after his last series victory, he proved he still has what it takes to win as he led almost from start to finish in dominating the King of the Desert National, hosted by the Roadrunner Off-road Club, round two of the series, in El Centro, California, February 25-26. The Chocolate Mountain Ranch Honda rider completed the 93-mile, diverse two-loop course in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, a healthy 3:38 ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team’s Dalton Shirey with Chocolate Mountain Ranch Honda’s Justin Morgan earning his first National podium with a third place, 55 seconds back of Shirey after being close enough to tap his rear wheel at one point on the second loop. (Round-one winner Taylor Robert is expected to miss several rounds after a head-on crash with a wrong-way minibike rider on Tuesday left him with a broken left arm and right wrist.)

“I knew that if I could get a good start, I’d be able to hold my own, especially out here in this open desert, because it’s so fast and it’s so much like Baja and I have a lot of experience there, so I was just really fortunate to get a solid start and get out and get some clean air,” Pro Circuit/Renthal/Alpinestars CRF450X-mounted Norman said.

Combined with his third-place finish at round one, Norman now finds himself the points leader after two rounds with 51, Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha’s Jacob Argubright sitting second at 41 after placing fifth on the day and Shirey a close third at 40 points.

“I would’ve never expected that coming in,” Norman said. “I was hoping that about midseason I would peak and be on my ‘A’ game so I’ll just keep chugging away.”

Shirey hadn’t raced at the Superstition Off-Highway Vehicle Area before and the Motorex/Braking/Fly Racing FX 450 rider admitted, “Once my eyes adapted to going that fast, I was able to charge.”

2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results

On the 33-mile second loop, Shirey also found himself in his first foray into Superstition’s famous sand dunes as well as the super-technical rocky canyons north of the dunes that the club sent riders through. “I didn’t expect that at all because I went riding around here [on Friday] and I was like, ‘There can’t be that much technical around here,” he said. “It completely surprised me.”

Third-place finisher Morgan agreed. Though he lives fairly close and rides the area frequently, he said, “They do such a good job running all the hard stuff [on the second loop]; it’s awesome how they link it together. Some stuff I’ve never seen before and I ride here all the time!”

The San Diego Powerhouse/ Precision Concepts/Thor CRF450X-mounted rider added, “I got off to a pretty bad start—it was one of those five-kick starts—and I ended up coming in [to the pits] fourth after that first loop. [Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Nick] Burson was ahead of me and I could see him leaving the pit and I was able to get him around mile six or so [on the second loop].

“I caught Dalton [later] and got all the way up to his rear wheel. I could tell I scared him because he turned around; it was a quiet section coming down a big hill and I was on a mission.” (Interestingly, Morgan said his bike was the same one he’d used at the ISDE in France last year, but even more random, its VIN was just one number off of Norman’s.)

Early leader Burson ended up fourth aboard his Maxima/GPR Stabilizers/O’Neal Racing-backed YZ450FX, saying, “Kendall and those SCORE-[type] roads, that’s not my cup of tea. I ran second almost that whole first loop; Dalton got me right near the end. I just started not being able to see real good and just hit a few things. I didn’t want to take the big chances today on that loop.”

Losing the course later on caused Burson to lose touch with Morgan, though, so he settled for fourth ahead of Argubright, who contemplated not lining up after crashing heavily while practicing the bomb run that morning.

FMF/Maxxis/RPM Racing KTM’s Eric Yorba put in a solid ride to sixth followed by Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha’s Tyler Lynn, SRT Husqvarna’s Ryan Smith and Beta’s Chance Fullerton, the FMF Pro 250 winner. A good start earned him a spot well up in the pack and he found himself fifth overall and not far back from Shirey as they completed the first loop.

“And then I went out on my [second] loop and had a couple mistakes here and there and just lost the markings a lot so I fell back, but I still had a great ride and had fun,” FMF/Kenda/Fasthouse 250 RR-mounted Fullerton shared.

Beta teammate Joe Wasson rounded out the top 10 overall.

2018 King Of The Desert Hare & Hound Results

El Centro, California

February 24, 201


  1. Kendall Norman (Hon)
  2. Dalton Shirey (Hus)
  3. Justin Morgan (Hon)
  4. Nick Burson (Yam)
  5. Jacob Argubright (Yam)
  6. Eric Yorba (KTM)
  7. Tyler Lynn (Yam)
  8. Ryan Smith (Hus)
  9. Chance Fullerton (Bet)
  10. Joseph Wasson (Bet)

Click here for complete results.

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Mark Kariya | Contributor Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.