Team Green's Destry Abbott kept his title hopes alive with a win at the AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series in Lucerne Valley, California, April 29.
Although Abbott got a good start and led at the bomb on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Thor-backed Kawasaki KX450F, a few miles later, KTM’s David Pearson came from about a fifth-place start and swooped into the lead, which he'd hold the rest of the 45-mile first loop on his Michelin/Motorex/KTM Hard Equipment 540 XC. When Pearson hit the pits at the end of the loop, he had about 30 seconds on Abbott, with Russell Pearson third on his Montclair Yamaha/Pro Circuit/Moose YZ450F, Quinn Cody fourth on his Precision Concepts/Pro Honda Oils/O'Neal CRF450X, and David Kamo fifth on his RPM Racing/Maxxis/Fly KTM 525 XC.
Abbott gradually worked his way into passing position on the rockier, more technical 41-mile second loop, with temperatures reaching the low 90s, but he couldn't find a way around at first, Pearson successfully fending off each attack. Finally, Abbott rolled up, saw an opening on an off-camber section, downshifted and powered past for the lead.
Pearson tried to retaliate but couldn't get him back. He would later run out of fuel a few miles from the finish, lay the bike over to get the remaining fuel to the petcock, then run out again while dicing with cousin Russell Pearson to end up third for the day followed by Kamo and Cody.
"I'm glad to get a win, because this year has gone really bad for me in the hare & hounds," Abbott said. "It's the first win [this year]. I had two other shots, but that's racing. I feel like I'm riding really well."
Abbott's victory keeps his championship hopes alive, but if he is to retain his crown, he'll have to win the final two rounds, starting with round six in Utah in two weeks. Should David Pearson, who has yet to taste victory at Lucerne, simply beat Abbott at one of those rounds, he'll take his first National championship.