The season is young, but the AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, Presented by FMF, saw a big shift in momentum with Beta’s Joe Wasson leading teammate Zane Roberts in a Beta 1-2 at the popular Lubbock Trail Riders’ Lone Star National, round two of the series. Five-time AMA National Enduro Champion Russell Bobbitt made his hare and hound debut memorable with a stellar third-place ride.
Round-one winner Dalton Shirey, on the other hand, saw his season take a turn for the worse after reportedly getting taken out in the dusty first turn. The 3 Bros./Hatch Racing Husqvarna star and defending series champ had to visit the ambulance crew moments later.
Aside from that, the fourth running of the Lone Star National seemed to treat competitors well with some of the twistiest trail of the series linked by quick two-track, much of it through thick mesquite, sand washes and narrow canyons. That and the club’s hospitality led to more entries than ever, much of that appearing to be non-Texas residents.
But it was Texas native Cole Kirkpatrick who got the holeshot on his Gnarly Routes/Motorex/Moose Racing KTM 300 XC ahead of teammate Bobbitt who was not only trying a hare & hound for the first time but also racing a 450 for the first time and showing aptitude for dead-engine starts.
However, Kirkpatrick graciously ceded the point to Champion Adventures Honda’s Nic Garvin who apparently led for much of the quicker 32-mile first loop on his AHM Factory Services/STI Tires/Fast House-backed CRF450L.
Before the end of the loop, though, Kenda/FMF/Fly Racing 480 RR-mounted Wasson took over and kept it the rest of the way despite still being less than 100-percent after off-season shoulder surgery. The runner-up at round one, Wasson said, “Honestly, I told myself I was going to win. I have a lot of confidence riding this [tighter] stuff—it reminds of my backyard [riding areas in Arizona].
“Coming off round one, everything felt good, so I was really happy with how my shoulder felt. I knew what I needed to do [today] and I was able to put it together and make it happen.”
Wasson took the checkered flag after two hours, 26 minutes and 44 seconds with his main challenger on the much tighter 43-mile second loop being Roberts on a similar Motul/FMF/Klim 480 RR. A sub-par start left Roberts playing catchup and wondering who it was on that unfamiliar KTM ahead of him.
“I’ve got to apologize to Russell a little bit,” Roberts said. “I didn’t know who he was, and I may have been revving and screaming a little thinking he was some random local. He was putting it to me in the slow stuff! We had an awesome battle there at the end—pretty crazy battle. It was a lot of fun.”
Roberts ended up just 15 seconds behind Wasson with Bobbitt another 20 seconds back.
Hare & hound desert races obviously have a reputation for being fast and when asked about it, Bobbitt replied, “Any faster and I need to just stay in the truck! I’m used to squeezing in 28-, 30-inch-wide [trails between] trees, but it’s really fun hanging it out, shooting lines and blowing cactus up. I thought it was an awesome time.”
Kirkpatrick rolled in fourth overall, fourth Open Pro, followed by Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Preston Campbell, who now holds third in points with 34, unofficially.
New Mexico’s Ryan Grantom took fifth aboard his Cycle Shack KTM ahead of Slam Life Racing (SLR) Honda’s Justin Morgan, Garvin (slowed by a suspected electrical issue that caused his bike to quit intermittently) and Beta’s Cole Conatser, the Pro 250 winner. Buchanan Trucking/Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha’s Chance Fullerton rounded out the top 10.
KTM of Aspen’s Clayton Gerstner took 11th overall and second Pro 250 with TMRacing’s Robby Schott claiming 12th overall and third Pro 250 despite running out of fuel just before the finish.
In Pro Women, reigning champ Britney Gallegos took top honors aboard her Elite Off-road Husqvarna though she had to fend off Full Factory Offroad KTM’s Rachel Stout for most of the race. Just three seconds separated them at the finish while Beta’s Morgan Tanke-Colon—the round-one winner—was third in class.
Wasson leads in series points after two rounds with 55, Roberts second at 46. Round three will be on March 27-28 in Murphy, Idaho, another favorite.
2021 AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series
Lone Star National
RESULTS (February 7, 2021)