The Honey Lake Motocross Park in Milford, California, isn’t that well known as its closest major population center (Reno, Nevada) is about an hour south. It sits on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is considered high-desert territory, but when conditions are right, it’s a great venue for off-road racing—and conditions were certainly right for the Honey Lake Hare Scrambles by Cross Country Promotions, LLC, round five of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles (WHS) Regional Championship Series.

A little rain and snow the week before as well as lots of runs by the water truck during race weekend ensured minimal dust over the various courses laid out through the sagebrush, hills, creeks and parts of the motocross track.

However, the comparatively short five-mile loop for the Pro/AA/A race guaranteed that everyone would face very rough conditions, and you needed to be on top of your game if you wanted to do well.

Honey Lake WHS 2017
Ty Tremaine owned the Honey Lake Hare Scrambles, leading almost the entire way to become the fifth different winner in the five rounds to date.Photo by Mark Kariya

Unlike many venues this year, though, Honey Lake was a relatively unfamiliar site since it’s been closed for a while until new owners came in and reportedly got permission to run a maximum of 12 events a year.

No one welcomed that more than FMF/Maxxis/RPM Racing KTM’s Ty Tremaine who lives outside of Reno.

“I’ve been racing here since the early WORCS races so it’s been a long time [that I’ve been riding here],” he noted. “Whenever they have a race out here, I make sure to come.”

Known more for his EnduroCross success, Tremaine started the year back east racing the first three GNCCs in order to maintain race-fitness before heading home and jumping into the WHS two weeks ago, finishing fifth at Shasta Lake, California.

But being protested for going backwards into the pit after missing the white flag left him slightly unfulfilled, though he insisted, “I guess the only person I ever want to prove anything to is myself. I want to win; I want to be That Guy.”

And at Honey Lake, Tremaine certainly was That Guy. He grabbed the holeshot, relinquished the lead for a few moments, then rode off to a dominant victory on his 350 XC-F, inspired by what he’d seen on television the night before from the Salt Lake City Supercross.

“Watching Eli Tomac come from 15th to a dominant win, it was incredible!” Tremaine declared. “He’s got the mindset of a champion and that’s where I want to be so I just gave it my all, start to finish.”

Beta’s Max Gerston slotted into second early in the race on his 390 RR, but he admitted, “Ty was riding really good today—he was on fire!”

Honey Lake WHS 2017
Though he has yet to notch a win, Max Gerston’s consistency is starting to pay off. His runner-up finish at Honey Lake moved him ahead of defending series champ Nick Burson (who finished third) in series points after five of 10 scheduled rounds.Photo by Mark Kariya

Still, that runner-up finish (his third podium in a row) bumped him into the series points lead for the first time this season, and he said, “I really want to win one of these. Consistency is great, though. If there’s any quality you want in the West Hare Scrambles, it’s consistency. Balls to the wall isn’t necessarily the way to go. I’ll take another second; it’s all good.”

As for defending series champ Nick Burson, the Purvines DA8 Racing Yamaha rider may have lost the points lead, but he was almost surprised to have led briefly and ended up third on his YZ450FX. After all, it’s been a trying two weeks since the last round, dealing not only with his grandfather’s funeral but also a cold or something that kept him from training.

“It felt like I didn’t train a day in my life!” he exclaimed. “It’s the roughest [course] I’ve ever ridden, probably.

“I don’t think I had very much fun today.”

But third place keeps him just two points behind Gerston now, 104-102, with five rounds left and two of those desert rounds where he should have an advantage.

Burson’s teammate Axel Pearson also had a rough day, having to pick himself up from several crashes en route to fourth place with Bell Helmets YZ450F-mounted Justin Bonita fifth.

SRT KTM’s Steven Godman finished a strong sixth ahead of SRT Husqvarna rider J.T. Baker, who was the FMF Pro 250 winner for the fourth time this season. Round-one winner Joey Fiasconaro took eighth aboard his IRC Tires Gas Gas EN 300 followed by FMF Pro 250 riders Cole Conatser and Morgan Crawford.

Honey Lake WHS 2017
J.T. Baker proved the fastest in the FMF Pro 250s for the fourth time this season, placing seventh overall in the process. Round-three winner Cole Conatser (white helmet) claimed second in class and ninth overall.Photo by Mark Kariya
Honey Lake WHS 2017
It’s been years since Honey Lake has been so full of water, but Mason Sanchez probably didn’t have much time to admire the view en route to his 11th in Open C.Photo by Mark Kariya
Honey Lake WHS 2017
Rain and snow from this winter meant flowing creeks at Honey Lake. Here, Shane Heywood stays dry en route to winning Junior Mini 85cc Two-stroke/125cc Four-stroke (7-11 years old) for the third time this season and second round in a row.Photo by Mark Kariya