Axel Pearson Prevails At Panaca Hare & Hound
Axel Pearson grew up in the Panaca, Nevada, area and still has lots of family and friends in the rural town. In fact, he was just one of five Pearson brothers racing the Seventh Annual Muley Run hosted by the Silver State Trail Blazers, round six of seven in the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series, presented by FMF.
Kendal Norman, on the other hand, had never raced in the area, but he came into the race leading in series points while Pearson had basically missed most of the year due to injury.
But on this day, there was no stopping Purvines Racing Yamaha’s Pearson, who edged Norman for holeshot honors on the sagebrush-covered bomb run and ran away to an uncontested victory, despite one huge get-off near the end of the 37-mile first loop.
“I tried to go fast in the sections where it wasn’t too dusty and cruised in the real dusty stuff,” he admitted, though he was surprised how easily the win came aboard his YZ450FX.
He added, “I feel like at this level, we’re all good riders and halfway decent everywhere. Last year when I led, Taylor [Robert] straight up passed me [for the win while I finished second]. If you’re good, you’re good.”
Despite one big crash and getting onto the wrong course at the beginning of 36-mile loop two (the markers hadn’t been changed from the morning’s minibike races, the misdirection affecting several of the front-runners until the club got it fixed), Pearson enjoyed a great day.
And so did Norman, the 2010 champ and his Chocolate Mountain Ranch-backed CRF450X sliding out on one fire road corner but otherwise moving well yet unable to match Pearson’s pace.
“I was giving it my all out there and Axel was killing it,” Norman said.
However, he picked up another 25 points for his runner-up finish and now he goes into the final race of the series leading Pearson’s teammate Nick Burson by 24 points, 152–128. Therefore, the Pro championship is still mathematically up for grabs. Given Norman’s consistency (he hasn’t finished off the podium to date this season), it’s his championship to lose.
Tuffy Pearson made his debut for the Chidester Transport Racing Yamaha squad a good one with a fourth-place finish after a mediocre start, SRT Husqvarna’s Ryan Smith rounding out the top five.
For much of the first loop, Beta’s Chance Fullerton held fourth aboard his 250 RR Race Edition, but he was one of those affected by the course mixup and finished seventh overall. He still won the class over Matt Canepa and Tayson Weeks, though, and locked up the class championship early.
“I just tried to ride as conservatively yet on pace as I could because knowing that I needed to win was a big thing, but at the same time I knew that even if I was to pull top fives in the last two rounds, I could still win [the title],” Fullerton explained. “I was just trying to ride as smart as possible; everything was just about riding smart.”