2021 West Hare Scrambles And 1 Results: The AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series, Presented by MojoMotoSport, saw a shift in the majority of its 2021 venues. Most will be centered in the Pacific Northwest’s forests as the series refocuses on terrain it feels most hare scrambles racers enjoy.
But round one—the Lassen Motorcycle Club’s 53rd Annual DiamondBack Hare Scrambles at the Fort Sage Off-Highway Vehicle Area—had a decidedly desert flair with much of the 23-mile loop for Sunday’s two races resembling a hare and hound in Utah.
That played perfectly to the strengths of Beta’s Zane Roberts who blazed his way through thick dust after a poor start to grab the lead early and romped his way to a dominating victory. Teammate Cole Conatser was the second-fastest in his debut race aboard the Motul/FMF/Moose Racing-sponsored 480 RR that he’ll employ for the entire eight-round series instead of the 250 RR two-stroke he’s used to great effect in hare & hound Nationals.
Former MX Pro Ross Neely did the local MRAN crowd proud by running in the lead pack all afternoon to claim third on his Rhyno Built/DDC/Fly Racing-backed KTM 450 XC-F.
The course started on an old dry lakebed full of tough stands of dry grass and silt, making for extremely dusty going for the first few miles. From there, it transitioned to the south side of a mountain with sandy whoops, twisty hard pack through cedars, rocky washes and plenty of elevation changes, culminating with the Widowmaker Downhill that plummeted approximately 1000 feet in total elevation back down to the pits.
Despite his back-of-the-pack start, Roberts wasn’t worried. “I kind of knew the race was going to really start once we got into the mountains, just with how dusty it is down here in the valley, so I waited until we got up there to really start making some moves and charging. I think I got into the lead about halfway through the first lap and tried to put in a good lap and a half and get a gap quick so I could back it down for the rest of the race.”
That turned out to be an excellent strategy because the Kenda/Rekluse/Klim 480 RR-mounted Roberts completed four laps 20 seconds shy of two and a half hours—the time at which the checkered flag would’ve been thrown. Thus, he and the rest of the fastest riders had to go out for a fifth lap, making for a long afternoon on the bike, Roberts completing his stint in three hours and seven minutes even.
“I had no clue!” he said. “I would’ve probably slowed down if I knew because I didn’t really want to go do a fifth lap either.”
For teammate Conatser, racing the 480 for the first time brought some unique issues that he normally doesn’t deal with on his 250. “I expected to get some arm pump which came and that was the first loop and a half of racing. I was excited, though, because I like riding the four-stroke a lot more—they fit my style a lot better.”
Of course, some of that arm pump might be attributed to his start, which was even worse than Roberts fared. “We were probably last and next-to-last off the start,” Conatser said, admitting he was last. Still, he earned second overall in 3:13:23.
An upbeat Neely said, “It was a great race! I didn’t get the holeshot, but I was probably third, fourth. It was definitely dusty at the beginning and whooped out, but it thinned out towards the end. The first couple laps, it was just figuring out the course and then it got brutal towards the end. It started getting real grueling that last lap—just basically surviving that last lap.”
He wasn’t far behind Conatser with his 3:13:34.
A new face in the series caused quite a stir. Still recovering from injuries and surgery last year, 3 Bros./Kilmartin Racing KTM’s Shane Logan is normally a regular in the FMF AMA Grand Prix National Championship (NGPC) Series and World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS).
In fact, when queried about his desert racing experience, he replied that he’d done three hare and hound Nationals.
Yet there he was, putting his NitroMousse/Blud Lubricants/FXR 250 XC up front and not just in Pro 250. The first two laps saw him come through the scoring chute third overall, improving to second on lap three. He was unable to summon the strength to fight the late charge by Conatser and Neely, settling for fourth overall and the Pro 250 win in 3:16:35.
Defending Pro 250 champ Clayton Gerstner found it difficult to match Logan’s pace and accepted second in class, fifth overall aboard his Husqvarna of Aspen/AEO Suspension/SRT TC 250 in 3:17:13.
Holeshot winner Chase Larson claimed sixth overall on his Fun Country KTM followed by Kenda KX450-mounted Nevada champ Brody Honea, Cycle Barn YZ450F rider Justin McGovern from Washington, Blayde Jones aboard his Let’s Ride 450 XC-F and Modesto Kawasaki’s Kyle Kerling, the third-place Pro 250.
An unexpected 420 entries made the Diamond Back a numerical success. Round two will make its second visit to Hagerman, Idaho, on May 15-16.
By Mark Kariya
AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series, Presented by MojoMotoSport
DimondBack Hare Scrambles
RESULTS (April 3-4, 2021)
||(KTM) Pro 250
||(Hus) Pro 250
||(Kaw) Pro 250