Nick Burson wins round three of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series, the Prospectors M.C. Hungry Valley Hare Scramble.
Story and Photos By Mark Kariya
After two rounds in Northern California, the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series made its first visit to SoCal for round three, the Hungry Valley Hare Scramble put on by the Prospectors Motorcycle Club at the Quail Canyon MX track and Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area in Gorman.
It’s a place where Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson has ridden a lot over the years, and that experience was on display again at this race as he led almost from start to finish for his first series victory of the year, which moved him into the series points lead. Defending series champ Cory Graffunder and last year’s number two, Travis Coy, both came from subpar starts to claim second and third respectively.
“I knew I needed to get out front and just try to get away so no one could key off me, and use the dust to my advantage,” Burson said. “I rode the first two laps pretty much all-out and then just backed it down and just tried to manage my lead.”
The Prospectors laid out a 12-mile loop with trails that hadn’t been raced on in years. The course included lots of sand washes on the south side of the park, and these sections got extremely rough.
“Lines were very key, like cutting across and staying on the high side of the whoops because they were really big,” Burson revealed. “I like it here. It’s not all-out; you’ve got to really hit your lines and flow, and I like that. I like being creative and cutting across, not just railing berms the whole time—cutting down and missing bumps. I’ve raced out here a lot, I’ve ridden out here a lot so that’s why the first lap I tried to get away. Some of the hills, I know I can jump, I can carry speed off.”
That proved to be the difference. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jacob Argubright slotted into second in the early going with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Yamaha-mounted Justin Morgan a strong third, but both ended up struck by crash and/or bike issues that dropped them from contention.
In their place, SRT’s Graffunder and Maxxis/FMF/RPM Racing KTM’s Coy eagerly stepped in with Coy enjoying his best ride of the season so far and holding second briefly before Graffunder repassed him. Interestingly, instead of his usual KTM 300 XC, Graffunder chose to ride the Husky FC 450 that he’d used last month while pre-running the San Felipe 250.
“When I came home after that race, I was like, ‘Man, Gorman’s kind of a little bit like Baja, you know? It’s fast, sand whoops, slick, hardpack,’” Graffunder said. “I remember last year on the two-stroke having a lot of wheelspin just because it revs so quickly on this slick stuff, so I’m like, ‘I think [the four-stroke] will be a better option for here.’”
Indeed it was. Even though he didn’t enjoy the start he normally gets, Graffunder employed the four-stroke’s inherent tractability to the fullest in his ride to second, though Coy lurked not far back, finish 15 seconds behind at the checkers. Both were best results to date for the season.
Burson’s teammate Axel Pearson claimed a solitary fourth place almost a minute behind Coy while Alex Dorsey shook off his gremlins to earn a best-to-date fifth. Holeshot winner Ryan Kudla, Justin Bonita, Ryan Smith, Justin Sanders and Vet A winner Quinn Cody completed the top 10.
2016 Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series
Quail Canyon MX/Hungry Valley SVRA
Results: March 21, 2016 (Round 3 of 8)
1. Nick Burson-Bet
2. Cory Graffunder-KTM
3. Travis Coy-KTM
4. Axel Pearson-Bet
5. Alex Dorsey-KTM
6. Ryan Kudla-KTM
7. Justin Bonita-Yam
8. Ryan Smith-Yam
9. Justin Sanders-Yam
10. Quinn Cody
2016 Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series Points Standings (after 3 of 8 rounds)
1. Nick Burson-66/1 win
2. Travis Coy-53
3. Justin Bonita-47
4. Cory Graffunder-46
5. Kevin Rookstool-38
6. Jacob Argubright-36
7. Ivan Ramirez-30/1 win
Ian Blythe-30/1 win
9. Axel Pearson-30
10. Steven Godman-28