KTM-mounted Brenden Ritzman took on all challengers, including a late-race charge from Kyle Summers, to win the opening round of the AMA Western Hare Scrambles Series at Rynoland in Anza, California, on March 8.
Defending champion Brian Garahan got the holeshot and took the lead for a short time, but he was quickly displaced by Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ricky Dietrich. The Rynoland regular established himself as the front runner and quickly gapped the pack that included quite a stacked field of riders including KTM's Justin Soule, JCR Honda's Tim Weigand, Nick Brozovich, and Kendall Norman, Robby Bell, Ryan Orr, and Valli Motorsports' Kyle Summers.
Dietrich, as usual, looked unstoppable and pulled a lead of more then a minute before the first hour was up. Bell charged through to second and Ritzman was putting in a great ride, moving into third just in front of Weigand. The order would remain the same until the pit stops began, where Dietrich continued to lead but Ritzman moved into second and Bell dropped back.
At the two-hour mark Dietrich's motor started making ominous noises and he visibly slowed his pace. Ritzman quickly closed the gap and began to put pressure on the popping Kawasaki and soon motored by Dietrich to take the lead. Meanwhile Summers put on a charge that moved him into third ahead of Weigand. At two hours and thirty minutes into the race, Dietrich pulled off the course and retired his sputtering 450, deeply disappointed to see another National win evade him due to a mechanical problem.
In the final stretch of the race, the battle was on between Ritzman and Summers. Ritzman held less than a two-second gap over Summers for most of the last two laps. Though Summers tried desperately to close and pass, it was Riztman's day and he would not be denied.
Ritzman took the win with Summers close in second and Weigand rounding out the podium in third. JCR Honda's Nick Brozovich finished fourth while ZipTy Husqvarna's Kevin Urquhart rounded out the top-five.
3/8/09: AMA Western Hare Scrambles Round 1 Results
1. 1. Brenden Ritzman – KTM
2. 2. Kyle Summers – Honda
3. 3. Tim Weigand – Honda
4. 4. Nick Brozovich – Honda
5. 5. Kevin Urquhart - HSQ
6. 6. Justin Soule – KTM
7. 7. Brain Garahan – Yamaha
8. 8. Robby Bell – Kawasaki
9. 9. Ryan Orr – Honda
10. 10. Kendall Norman - Honda