Unlike the first two rounds which were in California, Idaho was a bit chilly, though not as bitterly cold as last year. Pearson got a great start on his Bob Bell of** Precision Concepts**-prepped machine, settling in right behind Caselli. But he wasn't alone up there.
"We kind of hopped into a rocky wash and I was a little bit timid," Pearson confessed. "I blew a little corner and was right there."
After that, Pearson held a steady third until the alternate pit at mile 40 of the 68-mile-long first loop. There, he opted to take on perhaps a little more fuel than absolutely necessary and ceded third place to JCR Honda's David Kamo.
"Kamo was riding good today and so was Justin and so was Kurt; they were all riding really good," Pearson noted. "I mean, when you go out there, you've got to be on top of your game as much as you can or you're not going to be battling for the lead, that's for sure!"
But Nationals tend to be long and tough, meaning more chances to make mistakes--and more chances to make up for mistakes. (Pearson had to serve a one-minute penalty at the end of the first loop, punishment for walking past the bomb during bomb run practice.) When Morrow crashed on the more technical 40-mile second loop that skirted the snowline in the surrounding mountains, Pearson stopped to make sure his fellow racer wasn't seriously injured.
"I stopped and shut off my bike and said, 'Hey man, are you all right?' He was with his bike, but you could tell he was pretty hurt, so I was like, 'Are you sure you're all right?'
"I looked back and Colton had caught me while talking to Justin. So then Colton and I battled for the last . He was behind me a little bit, he never passed me so I ended up getting third today. I got good, valuable points and look forward to the next round."
That one will take place back in Southern California on April 22 with the Vikings Motorcycle Club's Virgin Voyage.