Montclair KTM's Russ Pearson fought until the last mile, edging out Monster Energy Kawasaki's Destry Abbott for the win at round six of the National Hare & Hound Series in Wendover, Nevada, yesterday.
Off the start, Zip-Ty Husqvarna's Nick Burson and Shock Doctor KTM's David Pearson had great jumps, but Abbott and Russ Pearson came in from the opposite side of the course stealing away the top two positions. Shortly thereafter, Burson and David Pearson came together in a thick blanket of dust, leaving Pearson out of the race with an injured foot. Burson recovered only to crash again a couple of miles later. He too called it an early day at that point.
Up front, Russ Pearson and Abbott did a little bit of tangling of their own.
"I was trying to go outside and when I looked right, Russ was right there!" said Abbott. "It couldn't be avoided, but I think he saw it coming, because we were both able to stay up."
The two riders met again moments later. Pearson said, "After the first [contact] I was thinking, 'whoa that was close,' but later we came together again, maybe a mile down the trail. It's hard out here in Nevada! If you get off the trail you are destined to find a rock."
Because of the heavy dust the two leaders where able to pull away from the rest of the pack. Running virtually side by side, Pearson and Abbott opened up a five-minute gap over third place, Shock Doctor KTM's David Kamo.
Through the second gas stop, around mile 60, the two leaders enjoyed a comfortable cushion. At this point, the course went into the trees and that is where Pearson really began to feel the pressure.
"I had lost my rear brake, the rotor bent early in the race, but I couldn't change it due to the lead I had over Destry," Pearson said. "Into the trees it was almost impossible - it's hard to come into a turn and have no rear braking action. It really slowed me down and allowed him to catch up. All I could do was hope for the open stuff to come again."
With only 30 miles to go, the leaders came out of the hills and charged on towards the casinos of west Wendover.
"We actually got lost!" Abbott said. "I was following Russ out of the hills and I think he missed a turn. The dust was so bad that all I could do was follow. I didn't even see the turn. Out of the corner of my eye I saw some danger markings and knew we were off. I broke right about the same time as Russ, and he beat me to the trail and into the last pit."
One mile out of town, and 110 miles into the day, the Montclair KTM/Pearson Brothers Construction/GPR KTM crossed the finish line in first place. Abbott crossed the line in second, followed by Kamo and Robert Underwood in what was his first National Hare & Hound of the year. Rounding out the top five was Blais Racing KTM's Morgan Crawford.