2019 Prescott Valley West Hare Scrambles Race Report

Max Gerston breaks drought with Rough Rider 100 WHS victory

Desert racers Dalton Shirey (46) and Jacob Argubright (911)
Desert racers Dalton Shirey (46) and Jacob Argubright (911) led off the start, though both would encounter problems later that dropped them back. Also seen here are Justin Bonita (451), who’d drop out due to illness, and Jeremy Wilton (47), who had to settle for 20th overall.Mark Kariya

Officially, Beta USA contracted Max Gerston to compete strictly in extreme enduros and the AMA EnduroCross Championship Series this year. But after winning round 2 of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles (WHS) Regional Championship Series, presented by MojoMotorsport.com, and moving into the series point lead, Gerston is considering adding that to his schedule as well, at least for a few rounds. The last time the 2017 series champ won a round was round 1 last year, and after a somewhat unlucky season he finished the 2018 series third in points. “I almost hate to admit that was [my last WHS win], but that might’ve been it,” he admitted.

The Field Craft Survival Rough Rider 100, the Arizona Off-road State Championship, in Prescott Valley, Arizona, proved to be a chilly, windy affair, though storms really only affected the races on Saturday. For the main event on Sunday, the 9-mile course offered practically perfect conditions, encouraging close, on-the-ragged-edge racing due in part to the $5,000 earmarked for the winner.

“What a day it was today!” Gerston declared. “I started off in the lead then got lost major and then dropped way back, but after that I kind of went crazy and put on a massive charge and was able to work my way all the way back to the front. Oh, man, that was a lot of hard work! But I’m super, super stoked; that was a hard-fought win! All my competitors were on point today, so they didn’t make it easy on me. Man, I’ll probably sleep good tonight because I left it all out there. I gave it pretty much 100 percent the whole time.”

Joe Wasson (45) and Max Gerston
Beta teammates Joe Wasson (45) and Max Gerston (15) battled hard for much of the race.Mark Kariya

Although Gerston, eventual runner-up Ricky Dietrich, and third-place Joe Wasson’s battle moved them away from the rest of the pack as the race wore on, several others ran with them at the front in the early going. As Gerston mentioned, getting lost in the early stages (due to a ribbon being ripped down and affecting all of the Pro and Pro II riders) set him back, but in the end, the fastest riders with the fewest problems prevailed.

After his runner-up finish at round 1, Gerston now leads Wasson in points, 55–51, so even though it’s not in his contract, Gerston will ride at least a couple more rounds. “I’ve done both [rounds] so far and now I’m in the point lead, so maybe I will,” he said.

Gerston finally moved into the lead for good in the final hour and went on to win for the first time since round 1 last year, moving him into the point lead. (With Taylor Robert winning last year, Arizona residents have won the Rough Rider both times.)Mark Kariya

Zane Roberts triumphed in Pro II for his first series victory, also moving him to the top of the points chase in that class.

“We’ve podiumed in all three races—two seconds (at round 1 of both hare & hound and WHS) and got the win this time—so I’m really happy so far,” the factory Beta rider said. “I didn’t have these Betas for very long before that first race, but I adjusted really quickly. Now that I’m getting more used to it, I think we’ll be running up front more often.”

Running up front in Pro 250 took him up to 10th overall, making him eligible for an extra $250 in addition to the $500 for the class win.

Ricky Dietrich
Lured at least in part by the $5,000 winner’s check, Ricky Dietrich fought through early arm-pump and flew to a strong second overall, enjoying himself so much he’s also considering adding the series to his contracted events.Mark Kariya
Better known as a desert racer, many forget that Wasson grew up racing in Idaho where snowy, cold, wet conditions weren’t unusual. He remembered those lessons well, though a spill late in the race forced him to settle for third.Mark Kariya
Zane Roberts
Second at round 1, Zane Roberts proved the fastest of the Pro 250s for the first time, besting runner-up Trey Jones by five minutes and third-place Dillon Sheppard by seven.Mark Kariya
Rowdy Rose Women Pro
The $1,250 for the Rowdy Rose Women Pro winner attracted Brandy Richards (NT198) and Britney Gallegos (NT199) who went 1-3, former AMA EnduroCross champ Shelby Turner splitting them as part of her winter training regimen in Phoenix.Mark Kariya
Rik Smits
Former pro basketball star Rik Smits raced both days, winning the Vintage class (and finishing an amazing seventh overall) on his Maico on Saturday and eighth on his modern KTM in Super Senior A on Sunday.Mark Kariya
Preston Boespflug
Preston Boespflug usually races motocross, but found time in his schedule for the WHS and dominated both the Big Wheel race on Saturday and Sunday morning’s Super Mini Challenge exhibition race on Sunday, good for a $500 Rocky Mountain ATV-MC gift card.Mark Kariya
Jorden Brownlee
Rain and hay made the turn onto the paved pit road section tricky and Jorden Brownlee exceeded the limits of traction with predictable results, though he still won Youth C on Saturday. (His father, Jeff, topped 250cc A for the second round in a row and claimed 11th overall in Sunday’s main race, making him the first A rider.)Mark Kariya

2019 Rough Rider 100 Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Max Gerston Beta
2 Ricky Dietrich Honda
3 Joe Wasson Beta
4 Mason Ottersberg Beta
5 Nickolas Brawner Sherco
6 Clayton Gerstner GasGas
7 Ryan Wells KTM
8 Devan Bolin KTM
9 Jacob Argubright Kawasaki
10 Zane Roberts Beta

2019 Overall AA Class Championship Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Max Gerston Beta 55
2 Joe Wasson Beta 51
3 Devan Bolin KTM 28
4 Ricky Dietrich Honda 25
Zane Roberts Beta 25
6 Jeff Brownlee KTM 22
7 Callum Norton KTM 21
Clayton Gerstner GasGas 21
9 Justin Bonita Yamaha 18
10  Mason Ottersberg Beta 18