2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results

Mark Kariya | June 26, 2017

2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results – Beta’s Max Gerston became the sixth different winner in seven rounds of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championships Series in its first recent visit to the Pacific Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, June 24-25. Gas Gas rider Joey Fiasconaro enjoyed his best result since winning round one in finishing second while Joel Tonsgard upheld local pride by earning a solid third place.

2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results

2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results
Beta’s Max Gerston won the West Hare Scrambles at Mt. Baker. Photography by Mark Kariya

Gerston’s first-ever and much-anticipated victory allowed him to regain the series points lead from reigning champion Nick Burson, the Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha rider having a few issues in one of the tightest, most technical events so far this season. Gerston went from seven points down to 10 points ahead, 155-145.

While not as muddy as expected after storms a week ago, the seven-mile-long course at the Hannegan Speedway/Mt. Baker Motorcycle Club grounds incorporated plenty of rutted, root-infested trails winding through thick stands of trees. In addition, the entire weekend saw temperatures soar into the 90s, which combined with fairly high humidity to make for a strength-sapping two-and-a-half-hour race.

Burson got a great start on his John Burr Cycles/FMF/THOR-sponsored YZ450FX followed closely by Tonsgard, Purvines DA8 Racing teammate Axel Pearson, Vaughn Wilk, local Danny Brocker and the rest of strong Pro/AA class.

But this wasn’t Burson’s day; he reported, “I blew a corner on the first lap, and then Max and I almost got in a head-on because I was [going] backwards [to get back on course] and they all blew it [too] so I lost three or four spots.”

Running into a tree later (resulting in a broken radiator and shifter as well as a hurting midsection) didn’t help and he put it into survival mode to finish eighth overall, sixth Pro/AA.

Even without those issues, Burson admitted, “I don’t think I had anything for the win today.”

Indeed, no one matched the pace Gerston set on his Motul/Kenda/Klim 390 RR as he led every lap—which surprised the Arizona native after a hard week working in the sun. “Waking up this morning, I felt blah,” he revealed; “I just wasn’t able to get things going. All the way up to the race and kind of even through the race, I [felt that way].

“Maybe that’s what did the trick because you couldn’t get greedy out here. You had to take your time and be patient so maybe my patient riding style, I guess, maybe the track suited it a little bit.

“I guess I was better at riding this stuff than I thought I was!”

Fiasconaro experienced a horrible dead-last start when his Six Five O Racing/FMF/Klim EC 300 balked at the dead-engine start. “I kind of knew I had to pick through some people on the motocross track before we got into the single-track because I knew there wasn’t going to be another opportunity to pass,” he said. That got him up to 10th at the end of the first lap, and he continued to make up ground: sixth after two laps, third after three and finally up to second after four. “I just kept it smooth and steady the whole race and kept the mistakes minimal and just kept picking people off.”

He added, “It was a different race. You couldn’t really ride fast or push or you would make a lot of mistakes. You just had to stay steady and consistent.”

2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results

Hesitant to even enter since he’d never ridden a National-caliber race, Tonsgard ended up glad he did aboard his Frank’s Motorbikes/Golden Tyre/Fly Racing Beta 250 RR. “It was a lot of fun; it was gnarly, though” he observed. “I got a pretty good start so I just tried to maintain. I dropped back a little bit then caught back up to Axel and Nick. I was like, ‘I’ll just keep pace with them,’ and eventually I got around them and put my head down and charged.”

The course apparently suited 250s. Early on, SRT Husqvarna’s J.T. Baker appeared to be on his way to his fifth FMF Pro 250 triumph, as he got up to third overall from the class’s second-row start.

However, a bent chain guide and sprocket put him into the pits for a long, unplanned stop allowing Clayton Gerstner to quickly take over aboard his Tri-City Cycles/Kenda/Moose Racing YZ250F. He ended up taking his first class win and fourth overall ahead of Brocker, FMF Pro 250 runner-up Ryan Turner, Pearson, Burson, third FMF Pro 250 Cole Conatser and Open A winner Devin Shueler.

2017 West Hare Scrambles Mt. Baker Results

  1. Max Gerston (Bet)
  2. Joey Fiasconaro (GG)
  3. Joel Tonsgard (Bet)
  4. Clayton Gerstner (Yam)
  5. Danny Brocker (Hon)
  6. Ryan Turner (Yam)
  7. Axel Pearson (Yam)
  8. Nick Burson (Yam)
  9. Cole Conatser (KTM)
  10. Devin Schueler (Yam)

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Mark Kariya | Contributor Kariya spends way too much time in the desert, but we’re glad he does as he’s the man who gets us our coverage of all things sandy.