U.S.D.R. / Moose Racing California Desert Championship Round 4
By Dave Earll
Photos by Tony Lamping/off-roadphotos.com
RIDGECREST, CA. 5-25-08
Kawasaki’s Nick Burson kept his win streak alive and proved once again that he is
the man to beat in the Southern California desert. Leading Race #2 wire to wire, the
defending champion claimed his fourth win in a row at Round 4 of the U.S.D.R./Moose
Racing desert race series.
Unseasonably cool weather and blue skies greeted the racers this Memorial Day
weekend, a welcome change from the 108 degree temperatures of a week earlier. With
near perfect racing conditions and a super fast twelve mile course, all out speed would
determine the day’s winners and it’s well known that at that game, Burson is one of the
After sustaining a slight knee injury along with a DNF at the district 37 race two weeks
earlier, the points leading Kawasaki rider was only able to get in one day of riding before
race day. “I feel pretty good now” said Burson, “I should be close to 100 percent.”
One rider who has not recovered so quickly though is Bursons rival Ryan Kudla. After
suffering a high speed crash at a race in April, the number two plate holder has been
out of action due to a fairly serious neck injury, and though he is expected to make
a full recovery, Round 5 would mark his second absence from the series, effectively
eliminating any chance for the championship.
With U.S.D.R. eliminating the “timed start” format, it would now be an all out drag race
off the start for the pro and Expert classes. While some of the competition thought this
might be their chance to get out in front of the champion, those hopes were put to rest
when the green flag dropped. Pulling the holeshot and never looking back was none
other than Burson, followed by first time expert racer Phil Zackrison, Ryans brother Erek
Kudla and 15 year old Colton Sanders. Close racing continued as the competitors headed
for check one. “Burson crossed infront of Phil “Zackrison” and he had to slam on the
brakes letting me fly by on my single track to the right,” Said Kudla, “When the Trails
came together I narrowly missed t-boning Burson and then he was off.”
As the racers continued on their first lap, Kudla and Sanders were able to get around
Zackrison along with Brad Pace, who was now charging hard aboard his Too Trick
sponsored Suzuki and being followed closely by Jason Parsons and Paul Krause, who
was already making up time after starting from the second row.
While Burson and his VMC/AXO sponsored KX 450F may have been long gone, the
battle was just heating up for the remaining top spots. Kudla was able to hold on to
second for two laps but a pit stop by the T.O.Yam/Dirt Digits/Oneal sponsored rider and
a broken fuel valve on Sanders’ KTM would give Pace the chance he was looking for and
allow him to take over the number two spot.
Lap three would again see some great racing. “This is when the fun started!” said Kudla,
“Me and Pace were were criss-crossing lines everywhere!” the battle for second would
continue like this for almost two laps before Pace was finally able to pull out a small
margin and get some lappers between himself and the Yamaha of Kudla who was now
feeling the pressure of Krause and Parsons.
As the race headed into its sixth and final lap, Burson’s lead was a commanding one.
“I felt really good today.” Said the series champion, “I loved the course and put in a
great ride.” Pace was now solidly in second with Parsons moving his Gary Jones Racing
Honda into third after getting around Krause and Kudla.
With the checkers flying, Burson would continue his amazing run by scoring his fourth
straight win of the season and extending his championship lead by another 100 points.
Putting in his best ride to date, 17 year old Pace would bring his Suzuki RM 250 home in
second followed by Parsons and Kudla. After running sixth for most of the day, Vet racer
Anthony Modica was able to push his new Honda past the KTM of Krause and score a
well deserved fifth.
While winning four races in a row is certainly impressive, over 50 class competitor and
number one plate holder Ron Burns is on a hot streak of his own. The KTM racer claimed
his eighth overall win of the series in Race #1, and like his younger counterpart Burson,
Burns would also lead from start to finish as is usually the case. Finishing second with
another unbelievable ride was 14 year old Mini Expert racer Josh Smith, followed by
open class racer Codey Battey, 51 year old Jack Trotter, and Jimmy Timboe.