Knowing dust would be a problem unless you were in front, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Destry Abbott avoided vision impairment by leading from start to finish at the Virgin Voyage near Lucerne Valley, California, round five of the AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series. In doing so, he strengthened his hold on the series points lead, especially when rival David Pearson DNFed with reported engine problems in his Red Bull KTM after running third for most of the race.
Fellow Kawasaki racer Josh Morros hung right with Abbott the entire way but never got an opening he could take advantage of through the two separate 40-mile loops off Camp Rock Road laid out by the Vikings M.C. Those two finished comfortably ahead of Pearson's Red Bull KTM teammate David Kamo aboard his Michelin/Motorex/KTM Hard Equipment 450 XC-F, who likewise held a gap of several minutes over privateer KTM racer Brent Harden. Red Bull KTM's Quinn Cody rounded out the top five.
"It was the first time this year that I don't think I had a problem," Abbott noted. "It was just nice. I didn't go down; the bike was perfect all day," he said of his Pro Circuit/Dunlop KLX450R.
As for his 16-year-old protégé on a Renthal/N-Style KX450F, Abbott said, "He kept me honest the whole day. Every time I looked back, he was right there. I'd try to push it, but he would push it, too."
He added, "I'm finally getting healthy again; I think that's the biggest thing. It's not that I slowed down, I just was injured for a while, dealing with the wrist [I originally hurt at Laughlin on March 1] and a few other things, but I'm getting healthy again and I like this place. It's rocky, and as long as the club does a good job, I feel like I can win here."
Abbott's win may mark the pivotal turning point in the series. Three rounds remain, so for Pearson to retain his number one plate, he must win the remaining races and hope Abbott encounters some problems