Red Bull KTM's David Pearson kicked off the defense of his AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Championship by taking his first win ever in Lucerne Valley, California.
"Finally!" he exclaimed after finishing less than a minute ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Destry Abbott and new Red Bull KTM racer David Kamo at the Desert Motorcycle Club's 41st Winter Classic. "It's been a long time coming. I've been coming out to this place for the last six years and finally I won one in Lucerne."
Overnight rain allayed fears on Saturday of the usual dust bowl. Instead, competitors were treated to a rare and beautiful morning of near-perfect dirt with a slightly chilly breeze quick to sweep away any hint of dust in the Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area.
Pearson got a good jump off the start at the north end of Soggy Dry Lake and quickly made his way to the front of the pack on his John Turner-prepped Michelin/Motorex/KTM Hard Equipment-sponsored 530 XC-W-R with Kamo and Abbott close behind. Abbott would quickly take over second place on his Pro Circuit/Dunlop/THOR-backed KLX450R, and the front two slowly inched away from the rest of the field.
However, Abbott would not be able to pull a trick from his arsenal and pass Pearson, who was intent on finally breaking his Lucerne jinx. Pearson wheelied past the checkered flag first, with Abbott less than a minute behind, while Kamo rolled through a solitary third - his first podium as a factory rider and his second podium in a row if you count last year's season final, also at Lucerne.
District 37 ace Nicholas Burson put his BRP/FMF/AXO KX450F into fourth, while former series champ Ty Davis rounded out the top five on his Zip-Ty Racing/Malcolm Smith Motorsports/Accelerade RM250.