2019 Prairie City West Hare Scrambles Race Report
The 2019 AMA Kenda/SRT West Hare Scrambles Championship presented by Mojo Motosport kicked off at Prairie City SVRA in the hills of Rancho Cordova, California, this past weekend. The first round of the series provided challenging and muddy conditions for the racers with lots of rainfall leading up to the race.
The race day and season began with the debut of a new class: Women’s Pro. Sharon Mowell was last to take off of the starting line, but did not let that drag her down for the remainder of the race. Beta USA’s Morgan Tanke came around the first lap in the lead in her first-ever West Hare Scramble. Seconds behind Tanke was Mowell, who began pressuring her for the lead. Mowell made the pass on Tanke, who crashed shortly after relinquishing the lead due to goggle visibility. When the checkered flag flew, Mowell took home her first Women’s Pro victory while Tanke finished in the runner-up spot.
In the Pro race, Mojo Motosport-backed Brandon Magann grabbed the holeshot as the racers charged through the muddy first turn, but it was not long before Australian motocross racer Callum Norton made his way to the front. Norton did not struggle with goggle visibility as many of his competitors did, despite the use of tear offs. Being from Australia, Norton was not too familiar or keen on the deep mud and rock sections, but hoped to use this as preparation for the upcoming National Hare & Hound race in Lucerne Valley, California.
Following closely behind Norton was Northern California local Justin Bonita, who moved into the lead after Norton made a few slip-ups midway through the race. Norton was also passed by Beta USA’s Joe Wasson, which pushed him back to third. Beta USA’s Max Gerston was inches away from stealing the lead from Bonita when his bike stalled, which had him handing the lead battle back to Wasson and Bonita.
It was not long before Bonita fell back, pushing Norton up to third and Wasson into the lead. The leaders were running an average of 22-minute lap times, and spectators were eager to see who would come out on top. The checkered flag was thrown and Wasson took home his first WHS Pro class win.
“I felt really good with my equipment and preparation before the race,” Wasson said. “I ended up second off the start and then got settled in for the first couple laps. I had some really good battles with my teammates and other riders. I ended up getting the lead about four laps in and rode a smart race. There were a lot of obstacles that could make or break your day, so I made sure to be smart. My Beta 430 RR-S ended up taking me to the top step. It was a great start to my season, and I’m looking forward to round 2!”
After waiting eagerly for what seemed like forever, Wasson’s teammate Gerston raced through the scoring shoot to take home a hard-earned second place, while Norton rounded out the podium in third.
“Prairie City was a little rough for me,” Gerston said. “After a couple big setbacks, it was tough to get back up to the leaders. I continued to push back and was able to card a second. It was a frustrating race, but a good start to the season.”