Beta: Purvines Racing rider Nick Burson finished a solid third place at Round 2 of the AMA National Hare and Hound series held this past weekend in Ridgecrest, California. Burson piloted his Beta 498 RR to what is Beta’s first ever overall podium finish in the popular series.
Burson describes the race in his own words, “I was really looking forward to this round because it is only about 10-15 minutes from my house. I am comfortable with the terrain and sleeping at home makes for a well-rested night. I got up early Sunday morning and headed out to the desert to start practicing the start. I was struggling to find a good line but eventually I found one I was confident in and felt it would put me near the front. The banner went up and I was ready but when the banner dropped my bike didn’t fire. I had done about 15 practice starts the past week and it fired every time. Well now I was playing catch up. It was the worst start I have had in a really long time. All that was going through my mind was there goes you’re shot at the podium. Its over before it started. After I got that out of my head I put my head down and just started to pick people off and charge as hard as I could. By the time we got to the first check I believe I was around 14th or 15th overall. It finally started to settle down and I could see people in front of me now. I just started picking people off one by one the entire 40-mile loop. I had made my way to the back wheel of Jake Agubright. I wasn’t sure what position that put me in but when I came in for gas and goggles they told me I was 4th overall. I was pretty excited with how I rode the 1st loop and how much time I was able to make up. Heading out on loop 2 I was just trying to pace Agubright and not make any mistakes. I ended up making the pass on him about 10 miles into the 2nd loop. After I made the pass I just tried to ride smooth and fast and not make any mistakes. The rest of the loop went about perfect for me, I don’t’ think I made even one mistake. The Beta 498 ran flawless all day and my TBT suspension was working extremely well. When I approached the finish I realized I was going to finish 3rd overall and I did it by coming thru the pack and passing everyone except the 2 leaders. It ended up being a really good day for myself, Purvines racing, and American Beta. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!!”
Burson’s teammate TJ Hannifin also put in a strong performance with a solid 5th overall in the Pro class. The Utah racer has been developing the Beta for the abusive desert conditions each week.
“Well after the long drive down I was really excited to get on the bike to loosen up a little. I found a good line on the bomb run and was feeling that I would be right up there if everything went well. When the banner dropped my Beta fired right up and I was the first one to the line, so I pinned it to the bomb. I made it to the end of the bomb in third, and rode there for a while before I got passed by Argubright, off to my left while I was in Caselli, an Kendall’s dust. I was able to ride behind Argubright for most of the first loop, but Caselli, and Kendall had checked out. Just before the pits Nick Burson blew by me some nasty whoops, it was awesome he was on the gas!! So I tried to key off him into the pits. I headed out on the second loop feeling good. I was able to catch Argubright in some rocks and make the pass. Then about 10 miles from the finish I got passed by Kamo. I charged hard after he got by but was never able to get back around him. I ended up finishing 5th once again. The bike worked great, and I am looking forward too a little break and for the series to come up north! Also thanks to Purvines Racing, and all of my friends and family for all there support.” TJ explains.
Justin Morrow rounded out the top 10 overall with a 7th place finish putting three Betas in the top ten in the first two rounds of the championship.
Blais Racings Skyler Howes, Open Pro
Early Sunday morning, I headed out to hopefully reserve the line that I packed in most of Saturday afternoon. To my disappointment, I see Anthony (Caselli’s mechanic) parked right in the exact line with Kurt pre-running it. No worries though, I’ll start right next to him, hopefully get the jump and take the line back! HA! Easier said than done. The banner dropped and I got a great jumped but pulled a fat wheelie like a goon and lost a ton of momentum, allowing Kurt and Jacob (Argubright) to pull the line that we were all hoping for. My only other alternate route, TJ Hannifin had jumped in on and checked out. Left in the dust and bush whacking hoping to salvage something out of the start, I came to the end of the bomb in thick dust and nailed a couple huge rocks that sent me down. Picking myself up, the throttle was stuck and levers were bent down, I straightened everything out and got it working well as rider after rider went by me. I got going again somewhere around 30th overall.
The entire first loop was spent playing catch up. I made some sweet passes in the dust, valleys and technical sections, feeling really strong. I came into the pits around 9th or 10th overall and with a great pit from Bundy Inc, I was back on my way feeling fresh. I hit my second wind not to far into the second loop and really turned my pace up. Blais Racing Services has that KTM 300XC running like corn through a goose! I came up to a couple riders which turned out to be Ross Neely and Brady Elton. I paced Brady for quite some time on the trails and was able to make a good pass through a valley and take the position. I had my sights set on Ross next, came over a hill and found him stopped with apparent problems to his bike.
Shortly after I made a huge directional error and lost the ribbon, riding around in circles, I saw Brady come down and he was right on course. I booked it back over, hopped back on the trail just in front of Brady and felt like I checked out from there. I was feeling so great, pinning it through the washes and valleys and felt really comfortable in the rocks. I started catching more dust and found it to be Tuffy Pearson. I gained on him and was able to make a pass stick in a rocky section; this put me up to 7th overall. I set my sights back on a Purvines rider which turned out to be Justin Morrow. As I was pinning it, gaining time and closing in on his rear wheel, I came to the bottom of this rocky down hill going way faster than I should have been. I guess I was feeling so strong and comfortable I mis-judged the size of these enormous whoops at the bottom of the hill. I hit the first couple of whoops that kicked me sideways and ended up pitching me right over the front of the bars. I full on lawn-darted directly onto my head. Tuffy Pearson was the first person to me and told me that I was knocked out cold for almost 20 seconds. As I came to, I remember telling Tuffy over and over to keep going that I’ll be alright. He refused to leave my side telling me “I’m not leaving you buddy.” As I tried to get up, I stumbled around, falling back down a few times. I was still able to pick my bike back up, start it and continue on.
My wrist was in a lot of pain and being all loopy it made it really hard to ride smooth. I’m not really sure what drives us as racers to continue on after hard hits like that. I’m still not really sure how or why I got back up and followed ribbon all the way until the finish, but I did. Losing a huge amount of time, I went from 7th overall to 24th just behind my teammate, Ben Meza, who won the 200A class. I got my finisher pin and headed over to Rescue 3 to get checked out.
I can’t express the amount of appreciation for Tuffy and all those that might have helped. He was willing to give up his race to make sure that I’ll be ok; that means the world to me. Thank you so much to Chris and Patty Blais, for all of the support that they show every one of us on our team and their hard work that they put in for our team and making sure my bike is 110% for the next round. I love the team that I am on; we are one big family and make me feel at home every time I go to a race. Thank you to the Bangerts for housing me the past two races, and all others that cheer me on.