2008 U.S.D.R. ROUND 5

“Burson turns up the heat!”

U.S.D.R. / Moose Racing California Desert Championship Round 5

By Dave Earll
Photos by Tony Lamping/off-roadphotos.com 
Red Mountain.


It was a long hot summer vacation for the U.S.D.R. competitors as the series took nearly four months off between Round 4 and Round 5, but while the temperatures may be cooling down, the same cannot be said for the hotter than ever Nick Burson. Taking the lead right off the start and never looking back, the 2007 series champion would go on to claim his fifth straight win of the year!

After a windy Saturday practice and kids race, a beautiful Sunday morning greeted the racers as they took the green flag for Race #2. As has been the case for the last few races, Burson would waste no time in setting the early pace by getting out to an early lead. Trying to keep the heat on the Kawasaki rider for as long as possible, Colby Begin was pushing as hard as he put his Ford/Snap-on Tools backed Honda into a secure second place behind the leader. Fighting it out for third, the best racing of the day was brewing between the KTM of Zack Dodson, number one open plate holder Erek Kudla and first time U.S.D.R. racer Billy Smith. These riders would go back and forth throughout the day, providing great racing and also some controversy. 

As the racers came around to complete their first of five laps on what was described as a fun and very fast 11 mile course, it was none other than the Fastway/BRP/AXO/VMC Sponsored Kawasaki of Burson who, by this time, was already pulling out a commanding lead. “I really liked the course today,” said the champ, “I felt comfortable and relaxed out there.” Back in the dust of the Kawasaki rider, Begin was holding on to second place followed by Dodson, Smith, Kudla and newly transferred lites racer Ryan Karell racing in his first event as an expert. Hot on Karell’s tail, vet racers Charlie Garrett and Mark Bowen were busy making their way forward from the second row start and hoping to mix it up with the pros. While Bowen’s day would unfortunately end with a DNF, Garrett would put in an impressive ride eventually finishing sixth overall and taking the vet expert win.

At the top of the field, things would stay pretty much the same on lap two, and although the top two positions would remain unchanged throughout the race, the action was beginning to heat up a bit further back in the pack! After following the Moto Medic sponsored Yamaha of Smith for almost three laps, content with getting a top five finish and thus clinching the 2008 open class title, Kudla actually found himself getting into a rhythm and picking up some speed. “I was just trying to ride smart today and score the points I need,” said the Maxima/Dirt Digits/O’Neal sponsored Yamaha rider, “but I really started to get the course down and felt confident about picking up the pace.” After pulling within ten seconds of smith on the track, Kudla was able to make the pass when the Yamaha rider pitted. Now the race was on between second place Dodson and a resurgent Kudla.

Heading out for the final lap, Burson was continuing to enjoy his substantial lead over fellow Ridgecrest resident and good friend Begin, who was putting in a great ride keeping his Honda in second. Back in third, Dodson’s lead over Kudla was now down to 22 seconds and by the time they got to the technical canyon before check two, Kudla was ready to make his move. “When we got to the canyon there a bunch of riders stuck creating a bottle neck.” Said the Yamaha rider, “I saw Zack (Dodson) get slowed down going to the left, so I just barged ahead and made the pass!” In the dust and confusion, Dodson was unaware of the pass and was certain he was bringing his Northland/FMF/GPR sponsored KTM home in third overall. After putting in a terrific ride all day, a disappointed Dodson was surprised to say the least and understandably upset after learning the news. “I don’t see how it’s possible to pick up that much time,” Said the disappointed KTM rider, “Something must be incorrect.” Further inspection by the U.S.D.R. staff however, showed everything to be legitimate, giving the open class win and third overall to Kudla. Dodson would finish fourth on the day, followed by Smith in his debut ride with U.S.D.R.


NICK BURSON                                                                          COLBY BEGIN


EREK KUDLA                                                                          ZACK DODSON