Red Bull KTM's David Pearson paid a heavy price for getting lost early at the King of the Desert National, round three of the AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series. He managed to find the course again and maintained the lead he'd held most of the way, but he missed the first check. So, despite being first to the finish ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Destry Abbott, Pearson would end up being disqualified after an otherwise excellent run on a very windy day at the Superstition Mountains Off-Highway Vehicle Area near El Centro, California, March 29.
"I hate to win this way," Abbott said. It would mark the first triumph of the season for the four-time champ and his Pro Circuit/Dunlop/THOR-backed KLX450F. Abbott battled most of the way with Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green racer Josh Morros after taking a short turn leading when Pearson got lost.
Abbott was third to the bomb behind Pearson and Morros but lost sight of their dust about 12 miles out and slowed, though he believed he was still on the course due to the markings he saw. When Red Bull KTM's David Kamo came up and motioned for him to go ahead, confirming that he was still on course, Abbott resumed racing and got to the first check in first place, according to the personnel there. But when he reached the alternate gas pit about 30 miles out, he was five minutes behind Pearson.
"From that point on, I wasn't too worried about it; I just rode my own race," Abbott said. "I know David and he's a great guy; there's no way he'd [cut the course] on purpose. It was definitely not intentional at all. It's definitely a bummer deal."
Morros stayed right with Abbott until the last part of the second and final loop in the rocks, where Abbott finally got some breathing room. "Destry is so fast in the rocks - my God," Morros said. The teen from Sparks, Nevada, would end up just a few seconds behind to lock in his second career trip to the podium on his Maxima/Braking/Moose KX450F, while Kamo rounded out the top three on his Michelin/Motorex/KTM Hard Equipment 450 XC despite trying to race while sick.
Honda's Steve Hengeveld came back from a bad start to finish in fourth on his Red Bull/MSR CRF450X while Matt Henderson claimed fifth on his Victorville Motorcycle Center/FMF/Fly KX450F after also coming back from a bad start.