With the championship and most of the major places in it already locked in, some may have expected the ninth and final round of the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series to be a snooze, but that was far from the case. Hosted by the 100's Motorcycle Club at the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area outside of Lucerne Valley, California, on October 24, it probably produced some of the closest racing of the series.
After grabbing the lead off the bomb--something that he wasn't expecting--Johnny Campbell Racing Honda's Kendall Norman appeared to be on his way to his sixth victory of the season aboard his Affliction/Lucas Oils/Red Bull-backed CRF450X, chased by Destry Abbott, David Pearson, David Kamo and the rest of the field.
Norman, of course, had locked up the championship at the previous round, but when he found himself in front, he wasn't about to take it easy on a diverse four-loop course measuring some 90 miles.
As it turns out, he wouldn't be able to take it easy.
Pearson proved to be highly motivated after a year of frustration with freak problems, and the FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team star quickly worked his way up to challenge Norman. By the second loop, he'd worked his way up to challenge Norman, and the two began a back-and-forth tussle for the lead that lasted the rest of the race.
"[Starting] the third lap, we went back and forth," Pearson said. "The fourth lap, he left the pits right ahead of me. I was on a mission; I was trying to catch him and pass him. I would pass him and he would pin it and pass me back. I would pin it past him. [We] just bounced off rocks. It was pretty cool."
Pearson finally put a final pass with the finish almost within sight and kept his Dunlop/Motorex/KTM PowerWear-sponsored 450 XC-F in front for his second win of the season, claiming third in final series points. Norman finished a few seconds behind with Monster Energy Kawasaki's Abbott a distant third aboard his Traxxas/Maxima/THOR KX450F.
Pearson's teammate Kamo sped to fourth, still feeling the painful effects of his crash two weeks ago while Norman's teammate Quinn Cody ended up fifth after coming out on top of a long duel with John Burr Racing KX450F-mounted Justin Morrow. Blais Racing KTM's Morgan Crawford, Thousand Oaks Powersports KX450F racer Ryan Kudla, Threat Racing Beta-mounted Cameron Corfman and Brett Saunders on his FMF KX450F rounded out the top 10.