After 70 plus miles of racing, it came down to a muddy sprint to the finish at round 1 of the AMA East National Hare Scrambles series, in Perry, Georgia, with Am Pro/Obermeyer Yamaha's Thad Duvall taking the win by second to beat out KTM riders Steward Baylor Jr. and Russell Bobbitt.
"I didn't get the greatest start," DuVall said after the race. "I think I was fourth and I just tried to run my own race and save myself for the last hour. I put my head down on that last lap and tried to stay ahead of Baylor and Bobbitt."
The pro class was packed with riders prepping for the upcoming start of both the National enduro series and the GNCC's, with former GNCC champ Paul Whibley and 8-time National Enduro Champ Michael Lafferty joining DuVall, Baylor and Bobbitt.
The course was a good mixture of fields, fire roads and tight woods, probably tighter than GNCC standards. There were also quite a few mud bogs in the woods and in the later laps stuck bikes became an obstacle.
Baylor grabbed the holeshot to start the race and led to the 12 mile mark.
"That was a great race," Baylor said. "Me, Russell and Thad stayed together the whole race; I'll bet we swapped the lead 10 times a lap. In the last laps we just settled into our running order and held it to the finish."
The final podium position was filled by three-time National Enduro Champ, KTM's Russell Bobbitt, who was in the hunt all day but came up just short at the finish.
"I'm trying to ride as much as I can to get my speed up for the nationals this year," said Bobbitt. "I had fun today and look forward to the new season.
Whibley was fourth on a Obermyer/Am Pro Yamaha, while defending AMA East Hare scrambles champ Mike Laffery rounded out the top five on his Husaberg.
Current National Enduro champ Charles Mullins had his hopes of a win end early with a damaged rear brake line.
1. Thad Duvall (Yam)
2. Steward Baylor Jr (KTM)
3. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
4. Paul Whibley (Yam)
5. Mike Lafferty (Hsb)