Cousins Russell and David Pearson prevailed at the opening round of the AMA/FMF Racing National Hare & Hound Series, going 1-2 at the 40th running of the Desert Motorcycle Club’s Winter Classic at the Johnson Valley OHV Area near Lucerne Valley, California. Honda’s Kendall Norman got the holeshot and led for the fast first loop but relinquished his position at the front when he lost the course momentarily at the beginning of the very technical second loop, with both Pearsons sneaking past.
After that, the race belonged to the young men from Nevada, with former series champ Russell Pearson proving to be the fastest and longest lasting on his Pro Circuit/GPR/Moose YZ450F. Red Bull KTM’s David Pearson ran out of fuel near the end of the second loop on his Michelin/FMF/Arai 540 XC, but a helpful spectator gave him enough to make it back to the pits. He wouldn’t be able to make up that time lost and settled for second behind his cousin.
Norman ended up satisfied with third on his Precision Concepts/Pro Honda Oils/O’Neal CRF450X at the end of three loops and about 120 miles. Yamaha-mounted Carl Maasberg and former series champ Brian Brown on a Kawasaki rounded out the top five.
Defending series champion Destry Abbott started off well, running a close fourth at the end of the first loop. Unfortunately for the Team Green star, his luck took a turn for the worse, and he found himself on the ground more than half a dozen times without explanation. He thus opted to call it a day and came away with no points in the opening round. Luckily for Abbott (and for Honda's Steve Hengeveld, who was sidelined with a broken arm), riders in the Hare & Hound series can drop one round, he still has a fair chance to defend his championship and add a fifth title.