Lucerne West Hare Scrambles Race Report 2016

Nick Burson builds on his points lead at Lucerne WHS Round 6

Nick Burson, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Nick Burson, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders

Round six of the AMA/NHHA West Hare Scrambles Championship took place September 3rd in Lucerne Valley, California and Pruvines/Beta’s desert ace Nick Burson couldn’t have been happier to be home. “I have raced so many times out here that it was just great to know it was on the schedule again. It’s like a safety net to know that I will have this round to hopefully make up some points to help with the championship chase.” And make up points he did, taking the win by over two minutes and gapping the next two contenders for the 2016 championship by over 30 points at the end of the day.

Ryan Smith, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Ryan Smith, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders

The race victory wasn’t easy, however, as Rick’s Custom Shutters and Blinds backed Ryan Smith piloted his YZ450F to a second overall, nearly catching Burson at the two lap mark. “I rode just out of his dust for the first lap, and knew that if I could stay close that I would eventually find a place to try a pass,” Smith explained. “It feels so good to know that I can run at the front, and following Nick showed me the pace I need to keep if I want to win one of these NHHA events.” Smith would ultimately drop back by a minute-thirty come the finishline, but gap third overall by over 2 minutes.

The 17-mile loop proved to be tough for many of the fastest desert racers, claiming FMF/KTM’s Gary Sutherlin and Precision Concept’s Justin Morgan who both withdrew from the event early. Sutherlin suffered a broken rear break and opted not to fix it in the pits, while Morgan pulled out after running in the top 5 for two loops with signs of heat exhaustion. Purvine’s second podium threat, Axel Pearson looked to be a strong contender for third overall until a 3rd loop crash knocked him well back of the field. Barely holding on at the finish, and visually frustrated, Pearson finished ninth on the day after running as far back as 12th.

Nic Garvin, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Nic Garvin, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders

Not to be overshadowed by the early withdrawals of Sutherlin and Morgan, Ox Motorsports backed Nic Garvin put in the ride of his life to claim his first professional podium and third overall on the day. Collapsing at the finishline, Garvin was aided by course officials before gaining the strength to climb on to the podium. A highlight of the day occurred when Garvin was joined on the podium by his Grandmother of whom he explained, “I am just so happy to get this podium with my grandma by my side. She has been chasing me all around the desert for years, and It just means so much to me to finish up here at an event that she was here to see!”

2016 AMA WHS Round 6 Podium (left to right): Ryan Smith, Nick Burson, Nic Garvin
2016 AMA WHS Round 6 Podium (left to right): Ryan Smith, Nick Burson, Nic GarvinPhoto by Ryan Sanders

Taking an impressive win in the FMF 250 pro class, RPM/KTM racer Dante Oliveira bounced back from a second place start to gap the field by over 10 minutes come the finishline. Following the KTM up front was SRT Offroad’s JT Baker who physically crossed the line at 11th overall and narrowly held onto the number two spot by just 25 seconds. Third to cross the line in the FMF 250 pro class, and first 250F on the day, was JCR Honda’s Jarett Megla who recorded his first AMA Pro Podium of his career. “It felt good on the 250F,” Megla explained. “I only felt underpowered on a couple of the valley crossings, but in the tight stuff the bike worked great.”

250 Pro Start, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
250 Pro Start, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders

In the early race, the woman and 60-year-old classes raced on a shortened course and Northern California racer Sophia Oliveira followed in her brother’s footsteps. Physically finishing second to C class racer Jacob Dechellis, Oliveira finished a full three minutes ahead of second in her class Sharon Mowell. Finishing third in the woman’s A division was Stephanie Giroux who finished the three lap race a 12th overall. Equally dominating his class was long time desert racer Cordis Brooks who bested second place Larry Engwall by over 6 minutes while Scott Anderson rounded out the 60 plus podium.

Sophia Oliveria, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Sophia Oliveria, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders
Cordis Brooks, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Cordis Brooks, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders
Mason Mathies, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6
Mason Mathies, 2016 AMA WHS Round 6Photo by Ryan Sanders

The NHHA Youth program is alive and well at the West Hare Scrambles Championship and one rider who has enjoyed the benefits of the program is Southern California local Mason Mathies. Mason took the overall victory at round six, his second overall win of the season riding in the newly reclassified “Big Wheel” class on his YZ85. Mathies was one of only three riders to complete the full 7 laps on the abbreviated 7-mile loop. Rounding out the podium in the Big Wheel class was Clayton Roberts and Bradley East. Wyatt Kulikov took home the win in the mini class at sixth overall in the same race and Laci Olivas won the girls class completing five laps in the hour and thirty-minute event.

The AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship continues its run in the Southern California desert as the next round takes riders south to Plaster City as the Roadrunners Off-Road club host the penultimate round of the 2016 championship.

Overall Results:

1.Nick Burson (Beta)
2.Ryan Smith (Yam)
3.Nic Garvin (Hon)
4.Steven Goodman (KTM)
5.Austin Sherpa (KTM)
6.Dante Oliveira (KTM)
7.Grant Statley (Yam)
8.Sage Vincent (Suz)
9.Axel Pearson (Beta)
10.Troy Vanscourt (Kaw)