“Keeping it in the family” David Pearson wins round 1 of the 2007 series.
By Dave Earll
Photos by Tony Lamping
RED MOUNTAIN, CA. JAN. 21
Taking over where his cousin (Russ Pearson) left off in December, KTM’s David Pearson took the overall win and a $1000.00 payday at the opening round of the 2007 U.S.D.R./Moose Racing California Desert Championship in Red Mountain ca.
Kicking off their first full season of racing, U.S.D.R. laid out a more varied course with a real “desert” feel. From the start, the course headed through some fast multi-line sections followed by some rocky technical trails, sandy up hills, some cool down hills, and twisty virgin terrain back to the pits. In contrast to the wet conditions of the last race, dust would surely play a roll in Sunday’s action and starting position would be a key factor in the timed start system of the Pro class. Being the ninth bike off the line, Pearson would have some of the top desert racers in the country to contend with if he was to work his way to the front. First to head out on the 10.5 mile course was the Precision Concepts/Maxxis/GPR/Yoshimura/Maxima/MSR sponsored Honda rider Dylan Murdock, followed by the Kawasaki of Ryan Kudla. After going neck to neck at the last event, everyone knew this could turn out to be the battle of the day, and the two young riders did not disappoint. By putting in a great first lap, Murdock was able to maintain the physical lead, and open up an additional 15 seconds on Kudla who was holding on to second, but things were about to get a lot closer.
By riding strong, Murdock was able to hold on to the physical lead for over an hour, but as the Pros came around to complete their fifth lap, it was Kudla who had pushed his FMF/BRP/IMS/Thousand Oaks Kawasaki into first on the track. “I was riding so good for the first half of the race, but the arm pump started to get to me, I think that hurt my pace” said Murdock, about the battle. Now that Kudla was leading the pack, he knew he would have to put in some stellar laps to hold off the advancing KTM’s of Pearson, and Kellon Walch. “Once I got into the clear air, I really started to get into the groove” said the Kawasaki racer.
Out on the course, the racers were fighting for track position, but in the pits, all eyes were on the stop watch, and it showed that Pearson was flying! By posting an awesome 15:48 sec. time on the first lap, the Red Bull/KTM sponsored rider was able to take the lead (on adjusted time) from the very beginning, a lead he would hold until the finish. “I had a great race, with no problems at all, it was a lot of fun” said Pearson. Keeping Pearson honest on that first lap were Murdock, Walch, and Kawasaki’s Nick Burson, who, after suffering a broken wrist in December, was able to post the second fastest lap time of the day at a 16:01 but couldn’t maintain that pace and was forced to retire early.
By the third lap it was looking like this might be a one, two sweep for team KTM, as Walch moved His Red Bull/Fox/Michelin/GPR/Smith/Champion Nutrition backed KTM into second, But with the timed start system, racers have to keep pushing right until the end, and that’s just what Kudla did. While not able to catch Pearson, the Kawasaki rider was able to put together a great final lap and take over the second spot from Walch, leaving the KTM rider with a hard fought third for the day. Less than a minute behind, Murdock was able to bring his Honda home in forth, and rounding out the top five was the MJS Racing/3 Bros/Utopia/TFR sponsored KTM of Jeff Trulove. Coming from the second starting row to finish 6th overall, and putting in a great ride was Lites class winner Dylan Lane, followed by the Open Expert class winning Honda CRF450 of Colby Begin.
With only 2 minutes separating the top four finishers, the competition in the Pro class is really heating up! U.S.D.R. will return to Red Mountain on February 17th and 18th for round 2 of the 2007 series.