2019 Gorman West Hare Scrambles Race Report

Dalton Shirey dominates, but it’s a big day for Beta

Dalton Shirey
His closest competitor was almost four minutes behind when Dalton Shirey took the checkered flag after changing his normal aggressive style to a more measured, but still speedy attack on the slick trails.Mark Kariya

The record will show that 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna's Dalton Shirey gave himself a late 21st birthday present by dominating the Prospectors Motorcycle Club's Gorman Hare Scramble, round 3 of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series, presented by MojoMotorsport.com. Leading practically the entire way, he set a pace matched by no one and cruised to victory in a series he rarely rides.

However, equally notable was how well the Beta crew performed, packing four of its riders in the top six for the day and leaving the Quail Canyon MX Track in Gorman, California, holding the top three spots in series points.

Shirey admitted he had to dial back on the aggression in order to cope with the 14.5 miles of mostly dry, slippery, faster trails common at the facility.

“Just being smooth [is key here] because this track’s so slick and there are a lot of corners that you can mess up easily, so you want to be smooth and not aggressive and take your time more than anything,” he explained. “Like [at] Primm, you have to be really aggressive; here, it’s the complete opposite—you have to be smooth.”

Max Gerston
Sick all week with the flu, Max Gerston charged early and spent most of the race a lonely second, though he picked it up on the final lap when he pitted and three pursuers got uncomfortably close. He extended his point lead over teammate Joe Wasson whose bike quit momentarily on the final lap while in third and had to settle for fifth.Mark Kariya

Beta USA’s Max Gerston—the 2017 series champ and winner at round 2 in his home state of Arizona—didn’t enjoy as good a start as Shirey, but he fought the draining effects of flu he’d come down with earlier in the week to hold a lonely second nearly the entire afternoon.

“It was almost like a déjà vu of this race last year, but—I don’t know—I just stayed positive, really,” he noted. “At the beginning, I kind of went hard because I had to get by some guys, then I was kind of in no-man’s-land, so I settled in a little bit, which almost got me in trouble—they closed in on me that last lap; I pitted and they didn’t. I had to lay it down on that last lap to kind of re-gap them, but I did so I’m happy about that.”

“They” were the trio of fellow Beta USA teammates Joe Wasson and Chance Fullerton plus Honda-mounted Kendall Norman, visiting the series for the first time and coming off his Mint 400 win last weekend. They formed a tight group with several passes throughout the two and a half hours or so, their battle carrying them closer to Gerston as the race went on.

Chance Fullerton
Chance Fullerton is getting more and more comfortable riding his 430 RR-S and was in podium contention all afternoon, finally taking third on the last lap.Mark Kariya

In fact, Wasson was just 11 seconds behind Gerston as he took the white flag with Fullerton four seconds behind him followed four seconds later by Norman.

Zane Roberts
For the first time this season, Zane Roberts got a good start. Although a bit tight the first couple of laps due to the unfamiliar feeling of leading Pro 250 so early, he shook it off and earned his second consecutive class victory, finishing sixth overall and now holds third in overall points behind Beta teammates Gerston and Wasson.Mark Kariya
Nick Stover
Besides being dehydrated, Pro 250 runner-up Nick Stover’s biggest problem seemed to be running into butterflies, which covered his goggles.Mark Kariya

Being that close and with only a lap to go, all three chose to bypass their final and optional pit stops—unlike both Shirey and Gerston. That decision paid off best for Fullerton, who shared, “I was pretty concerned just because of the fact that I was out there with a standard tank [plus] I wasn’t on a quick-fill tank, so that’s why I was in the pits so long [at my first and only pit]—I was in there for a minute, a minute and a half. When my dad was filling it, I told him to just top it [off].”

He continued, “We gambled and made it. I was pretty impressed. Joe on the last lap was right in front of me. His bike shut off for a second; I think it burbled and ran out of gas for a second would be my guess because I came in on basically fumes.”

Dillon Sheppard
Northern California’s Dillon Sheppard isn’t a huge fan of Gorman’s faster, hard-packed, slick trails, but he coped well enough to take third Pro 250 and sit second in points to Roberts, 85-58.Mark Kariya
Kaitlyn Jacobs
Kaitlyn Jacobs made her first start of the season a winning one, topping Pro Women for the first time and taking the overall in the morning race on Sunday.Mark Kariya
Waylon Honnold
Lowe Lord had to chase down early leader Waylon Honnold, but once he passed him, he rode off for his second Micro Mini win of the season and finished the race second overall to Girls winner Allison Hall, who’d started on the first row a minute earlier.Mark Kariya

So Fullerton’s gamble paid off with his first big bike/overall podium, Norman five seconds behind at the finish for fourth and Wasson a frustrated fifth after getting his bike going again.

Beta USA-supported Zane Roberts picked up his second Pro 250 triumph in a row and finished sixth overall ahead of Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Axel Pearson, 3 Bros. KTM rider Nick Stover (the second Pro 250), Click Yamaha-mounted Justin Bonita, and Gray Area KTM’s Devan Bolin.

Lane Forbes
The Big Wheel race was often this close, but Lane Forbes stayed ahead of Italo Ruggiero the whole way for his first win of the season, though Ruggiero leads in class points, 50-48.Mark Kariya
Harley Jeffries
Harley Jeffries had a little trouble getting this sand turn down in the Big Wheel race, though he got back up to finish fourth Mini and 15th overall.Mark Kariya

So Gerston will have 80 points heading into round 4 next month and lead the series he’s not contracted to compete in this year with Wasson second at 67 and Roberts third with 40.

“You can’t complain about that!” Gerston smiled. “It’s hard not to show up for races, especially when you’re in the points lead, right?”

2019 Gorman West Hare Scrambles Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Dalton Shirey Husqvarna
2 Max Gerston Beta
3 Chance Fullerton Beta
4 Kendall Norman Honda
5 Joe Wasson Beta
6 Zane Roberts Beta
7 Axel Pearson Yamaha
8 Nick Stover KTM
9 Justin Bonita Yamaha
10 Devan Bolin KTM

2019 Overall AA Class Championship Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Max Gerston Beta 80
2 Joe Wasson Beta 67
3 Zane Roberts Beta 40
4 Devan Bolin KTM 39
5 Clayton Gerstner GasGas 31
6 Dalton Shirey Husqvarna 30
   Justin Bonita Yamaha 30
8 Ricky Dietrich Honda 25
9 Jeff Brownlee KTM 23
10 Chance Fullerton Beta 21