Nick Burson Breaks Hare & Hound Dry Spell With Muley Run Win

Last year, Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson lost the points lead in the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound Championship Series at the Muley Run in Panaca, Nevada. He’d broken his hand and was just four weeks out of surgery when he lined up, but the odds were stacked against him and he exceeded expectations, finishing fourth for the day (the only time he was off the box all year) and ending the year second in points behind Ricky Brabec.

This year at the Silver State Trailblazers’ 4th Annual Muley Run, Presented by Purvines Racing, Burson fueled his hunger for winning with that memory as well as the runner-up finish he and teammate Axel Pearson got the week before at Vegas to Reno.

“I felt I could’ve won it last year, but I had no strength [in that hand] or anything,” he remembered. “We were so close last week. Just all year, we’ve been getting stronger, the bike’s been getting better. I’ve been there right year; just had problems. I knew I could do it; I just hadn’t put anything together. I’ve had a few good [results in the AMA West] hare scrambles so I know my speed’s there. My speed’s felt good all year. I’ve just had a few bike problems [and] a lot of crashes—my own fault—so it was nice to get a really good start and put a whole race together.”

Burson indeed put a whole race together at the Muley Run, round seven of the eight-race series this year. The only time he followed was off the start where he was basically side by side with Blais Racing Services KTM’s Skyler Howes, but Burson slipped past as they crested the top of the hill that marked the end of the bomb run.

This is basically where Burson won the race, when he dove underneath Skyler Howes going up the hill at the end of the bomb run. Jacob Argubright chose a line farther to the inside and ended up second after passing Howes about 30 miles later, Howes fourth at the finish.

From there, the course dropped into a dry, dusty sand wash with Burson leading the rest of the way.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team’s Jacob Argubright was third off the start and blitzed past Howes before they reached the alternate gas pit about 30 miles into the first loop. He got close to Burson when they finished that loop, both of them getting a little lost in the horse corrals at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds main pit area, but Burson exited the pits ahead of Argubright, leaving the Husky rider to wallow in the dust again. That led to Argubright crashing a few times which, combined with temperatures near 100 degrees, zapped his strength so he backed off a bit and settled for second—an improvement on the third place he posted at round six and a great confidence booster in only his second National back from last year’s broken wrist.

Moments after the leaders crested the bomb run hill, this is what everyone else had to contend with: a pure white-out!

FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team support rider Gary Sutherlin was one of the few to make many passes after a bad start, saying, “I pretty much just went nuts. Right off the bat in the first little wash I passed three or four guys.”

But try as he might, when he got within striking distance of Argubright on the 23-mile third loop, the wall of dust prevented him from seeing and he also found himself tossed into the silt or trees several times so he also had to throttle back a little, settling for third, though that still moved him past reigning series champ Ricky Brabec to second in points, unofficially, 132-131, so both are mathematically still in the running for the championship. (Brabec missed this round as he continues to recover from multiple injuries at round six.)

Howes came through for fourth overall followed by FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Ivan Ramirez, who played it safe after a mediocre start and rode conservatively to fifth, easily enough to preserve his healthy points lead. Now, all he needs to do at the finale in October is finish 17th or better to wrap up his first National crown. (Unofficially, Ramirez now has 160 points.)

Pearson was just five seconds behind Ramirez for sixth followed by Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey, the FMF 250c Pro winner for the sixth time this season. (Joining him on the FMF 250cc Pro podium for the first time were Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Ashton and new Purvines Racing Beta signee Damon Bush.) SRT KTM’s Kevin Murphy was eighth overall, winning Vet A in the process, followed by Pro Ryan Smith and Open A winner Ty Bartholomew.

Among the many stories at the Muley Run, Krista Conway’s stood out as she fulfilled a long-held goal, winning Women A. “I’ve worked SO hard for this!” she exclaimed on the podium where she was joined by her young son. A regular in Nevada’s MRAN series, she doesn’t hit all the Nationals but was able to pass class leader Sharon Mowell on the last loop when Mowell and several others got lost. Mowell got back on course to claim second to easily maintain second in points while points leader Megan Blackburn finished third in class.

Reigning Girls-class champ Caitlyn Kurtz (N1G) leads Bailee Anderson (N702) and Rachel Stout (N706) at the start of the combined Girls and Micro Mini (65cc) race. Stout ended up winning over Kurtz with Anderson third.