Kamo Gets West Hare Scrambles Started
The last time the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles (WHS) Regional Championship Series, Presented by MojoMotosports, visited the Little Gem Cycle Park in Emmett, Idaho, was March 2018 and it snowed.
This year, the race at Little Gem kicked off the shortened 2020 series, November 8-9, and it snowed again, though most of it came down on Saturday night after a shower turned the dirt into perfection—the nirvana of any dirt bike rider.
No one enjoyed it more than PCI Race Radios KTM’s David Kamo who led nearly from start to finish aboard his Kamo Realty/Kurt Caselli Foundation/Fly Racing-backed 450 XC-F, completing the race in two hours, 41 minutes and 11 seconds.
“My fitness level’s pretty good from doing the hare and hounds, and I’m starting to find my speed now that I’ve got the bike kind of figured out,” he said. He also noted that having the last few rounds of hare and hounds every few weeks served to get his race pace up and helped in the longer WHS.
KTM of Aspen’s Clayton Gerstner topped the Pro 250 division after thrashing his Frankenbike (his girlfriend’s Husky with key components from his KTM 250 SX-F—a situation dictated after his primary two bikes seized the week before) to a remarkable second overall in 2:41:38 with FactoryOne Sherco’s JT Baker rounding out the overall podium after completing the race in 2:43:01.
Monterey Peninsula Power Sports/Garrahan Off-road Training/Klim YZ450F-mounted Justin Bonita got the jump on the field when series director Jacob Michna waved the green flag, sending the field up a long (more than a mile), fast sand wash before turning into a canyon.
Idaho native Kamo, however, has logged a lot of miles at Little Gem over the years and—coming off a stellar AMA Hare & Hound series where he finished second overall—felt right at home, holding it on in fifth when Bonita checked up for one fast bend in the course.
“This [start] was actually a lot longer than some of the hare and hound [bomb runs] we had, which is actually kind of cool,” Kamo said.
Besides, he’d ridden his bicycle the day before to check out that first portion of the course and discovered that it was the same as two years ago when he finished second. Unlike two years ago, though, once in the lead he didn’t relinquish it, saying, “I knew I needed to push pretty good on the first loop. When I got to the second [lap], I knew what was out there so I could kind of ride my own race. That made it a lot easier.” Except for lappers. “That was one of the toughest parts of the race.”
Though he banged out lap times in the 17-minute range until the last couple laps (he had to make an extra pit stop because his pace was so quick that he got the white flag well before the 2:30 mark and had to do an extra lap), Kamo still had a comfortable edge on the charging Gerstner at the end.
Third Pro 250 going up the sand wash off the start, Gerstner obviously got to grips with his Wrap Colorado/Kenda/Leatt Husky-based KTM fairly quickly and led the class by the end of the first lap. From there, he set about picking off the Open bikes with Kamo his ultimate quarry: “I was trying to catch David really bad—I wanted that number one [overall]—but I knew he was moving along good so congrats to him on the win.”
For Baker, the race was his first WHS in 11 months—just like everyone else who rode the 2019 series finale—and it proved to be a push after the steady (and shorter) diet of WORCS races he’s been doing with his FMF/Motul/FXR 450 SEF Factory.
“I just kind of followed [Bonita] for the first lap, just trying to get a flow,” Baker said. After that, though, “I couldn’t really find a pace, a good one. Like my suspension was super-stiff still from the [last] WORCS [race] so it was kind of beating me up out there.”
Still, second in class keeps him in contention for the overall championship, which wraps up in two weeks at the nearby Owyhee Motorcycle Club facility in Boise.
Bonita ended up third in class and fourth overall in his first race in a while and first on a bike he just got. Open A winner Blayde Jones earned fifth overall on a KTM followed by Beta’s Cole Conatser, the Pro 250 runner-up.
KTM riders Blake Best and Lane Buchert were next in line followed by overall B and 250cc B winner Seth Sadorra (who’d won the Big Wheel race the day before) on his GoPro/Kenda/Leatt KTM 250 XC-F. Beta’s Rodney Smith (yes, the MX/GNCC/ISDE legend) rounded out the top 10 and won Super Senior A.
2020 Idaho AMA West Hare Scrambles Overall
- David Kamo (KTM)
- Clayton Gerstner (KTM)
- JT Baker (She)
- Justin Bonita (Yam)
- Blayde Jones (KTM)
- Cole Conatser (Bet)
- Blake Best (KTM)
- Lane Buchert (KTM)
- Seth Sadorra (KTM)
- Rodney Smith (Bet)