2019 Gorman West Hare Scrambles Race Report
The record will show that 3 Bros./SRT Husqvarna’s Dalton Shirey gave himself a late 21st birthday present by dominating the Prospectors Motorcycle Club’s Gorman Hare Scramble, round 3 of the Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series, presented by MojoMotorsport.com. Leading practically the entire way, he set a pace matched by no one and cruised to victory in a series he rarely rides.
However, equally notable was how well the Beta crew performed, packing four of its riders in the top six for the day and leaving the Quail Canyon MX Track in Gorman, California, holding the top three spots in series points.
Shirey admitted he had to dial back on the aggression in order to cope with the 14.5 miles of mostly dry, slippery, faster trails common at the facility.
“Just being smooth [is key here] because this track’s so slick and there are a lot of corners that you can mess up easily, so you want to be smooth and not aggressive and take your time more than anything,” he explained. “Like [at] Primm, you have to be really aggressive; here, it’s the complete opposite—you have to be smooth.”
Beta USA’s Max Gerston—the 2017 series champ and winner at round 2 in his home state of Arizona—didn’t enjoy as good a start as Shirey, but he fought the draining effects of flu he’d come down with earlier in the week to hold a lonely second nearly the entire afternoon.
“It was almost like a déjà vu of this race last year, but—I don’t know—I just stayed positive, really,” he noted. “At the beginning, I kind of went hard because I had to get by some guys, then I was kind of in no-man’s-land, so I settled in a little bit, which almost got me in trouble—they closed in on me that last lap; I pitted and they didn’t. I had to lay it down on that last lap to kind of re-gap them, but I did so I’m happy about that.”
“They” were the trio of fellow Beta USA teammates Joe Wasson and Chance Fullerton plus Honda-mounted Kendall Norman, visiting the series for the first time and coming off his Mint 400 win last weekend. They formed a tight group with several passes throughout the two and a half hours or so, their battle carrying them closer to Gerston as the race went on.
In fact, Wasson was just 11 seconds behind Gerston as he took the white flag with Fullerton four seconds behind him followed four seconds later by Norman.
Being that close and with only a lap to go, all three chose to bypass their final and optional pit stops—unlike both Shirey and Gerston. That decision paid off best for Fullerton, who shared, “I was pretty concerned just because of the fact that I was out there with a standard tank [plus] I wasn’t on a quick-fill tank, so that’s why I was in the pits so long [at my first and only pit]—I was in there for a minute, a minute and a half. When my dad was filling it, I told him to just top it [off].”
He continued, “We gambled and made it. I was pretty impressed. Joe on the last lap was right in front of me. His bike shut off for a second; I think it burbled and ran out of gas for a second would be my guess because I came in on basically fumes.”
So Fullerton’s gamble paid off with his first big bike/overall podium, Norman five seconds behind at the finish for fourth and Wasson a frustrated fifth after getting his bike going again.
Beta USA-supported Zane Roberts picked up his second Pro 250 triumph in a row and finished sixth overall ahead of Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Axel Pearson, 3 Bros. KTM rider Nick Stover (the second Pro 250), Click Yamaha-mounted Justin Bonita, and Gray Area KTM’s Devan Bolin.
So Gerston will have 80 points heading into round 4 next month and lead the series he’s not contracted to compete in this year with Wasson second at 67 and Roberts third with 40.
“You can’t complain about that!” Gerston smiled. “It’s hard not to show up for races, especially when you’re in the points lead, right?”