Nick Burson/Axel Pearson Win 2016 THR Motorsports BITD Parker 250

Team Purvines Beta Break Their Parker Blues

Axel Pearson racing the 2016 BITD Parker 250 race on 2015 Beta 480 RR
In a change from the usual division of duties at Parker, Axel Pearson (shown) and Nick Burson decided to split ride time unequally with Burson taking lap, Pearson lap two and Burson the final lap. That way they’d cut down on rider changes and let the lead rider stay on the bike and keep his flow going instead of swapping seats just 27 miles in.Photo by Mark Kariya

Coming into the season, Nick Burson was somewhat reluctant to even show up for the THR Motorsports Parker 250, Presented by Polaris, the first of four rounds in Best in the Desert’s American Off-road Racing Series. Dogged by a seemingly unending streak of bad luck at this mostly fast race in Parker, Arizona, he wasn’t sure this year would be any different.

“We talked about not even coming,” he confessed, though skipping it would’ve denied him and Purvines Racing Beta teammate Axel Pearson a chance at the championship they finished second in last year.

Ultimately, they did take part and were pleasantly surprised to finally shake the black cloud of doom that followed Burson to Parker every previous trip.

But even while leading comfortably, Burson didn’t dare think about winning—at least not until they actually crossed the finish line. He simply wanted to avoid a repeat of years past.

“We had a decent gap and [team owner] Ron [Purvines] was trying to say [we were on our way to winning], but I’m like, ‘I want to be at the finish line before I even think about winning,” Burson said after completing the three-lap, 237-mile race in four hours, eight minutes and 50 seconds, unofficially. That put the pair (who rode their 2015 480 RR since their 2016 race bikes aren’t done) almost 11 minutes ahead of runners-up Jeremy Newton and Troy Vanscourt.

Troy Vanscourt and Jeremy Newton being interviewed by George Anthill on stage at 2016 BITD Parker 250 race
Running out of fuel as well as disintegrating tire inserts slowed the Troy Vanscourt (left)/Jeremy Newton team in the latter stages, though they held on to second place.Photo by Mark Kariya

The Newton/Vanscourt duo and their THR Motorsports-backed YZ450F had been much closer earlier in the race, but disintegrating tire inserts forced them to throttle back; running out of fuel didn’t help, and the new Pros recorded a 4:19:56 unofficial time.

“We had to prove ourselves at this race,” Newton noted, referring to last year’s last race where they led in their Pro-class debut, only for Vanscourt to hit a rock and crash.

David Lahn ironmanning the 2016 BITD Parker 250 race.
Ironman (solo) riders were required to do only two laps, and David Lahn led the way in nabbing Ironman Expert in an unofficial 2:39:36, two minutes ahead of runner-up Derek Ausserbauer.Photo by Mark Kariya

Over 30 Pro winners Chris Brown and Shane Esposito ended up third overall motorcycle (the winning Quad Pro team besting them by 22 seconds) in 4:34:35, unofficially, with a broken silencer preventing them from getting all the power out of their Reno Racing KX450F.

Shane Esposito racing at the 2016 BITD Parker 250 race
Shane Esposito (shown) and Chris Brown had a good race going until the silencer blew apart, killing top speed. They still won Over 30 Pro and were third motorcycle to the finish.Photo by Mark Kariya

That still gave them a substantial lead over the next motorcycle team of Open Expert winners Curtis Bradley and Jeremy Purvines, the Purvines Racing Beta pair switching classes after dominating 250cc Pro the past few years. Riding their first BITD race aboard the big 480 RR, they finished in an unofficial 4:47:59 followed a couple minutes later by Open Pros Jesse Canepa and Danny Cooper’s Monarch Honda CRF450X.

Open Expert runners-up Chris Gerchman/Dakota Steffen, 300cc Expert winners Grady LaCamp/Kyle Patridge/Patrick Pico, Over 40 Pro winners Alan Cameron/Chad Thornton/Tony Zastrow, Open Pros Ricky Dahlbert/Kyle Townsend and Open Experts Eric Kirby/Zachary Myers rounded out the top 10 bikes.