2009 U.S.D.R. Round 1
U.S.D.R. Desert Championship Series
“Burson and Husqvarna win season opener”
By Dave Earll
Photos by Tony Lamping/off-roadphotos.com
RIDGECREST, CA. 03-01-2009
Leaving a sea of kawasaki green behind him, Nick Burson rode husky red straight
into the winners circle and claimed some green of his own at round one of the
U.S.D.R. desert championship series. With a different motorcycle and a brand new
team, Burson was able to pick up right where he left off last year. While it was the
first win for Husqvarna, it was an unbelievable seventh Pro class win in a row for the
Excitement was in the air as a record 326 entries headed to their starting lines
looking to claim victory at the first race of the new season. They would have their
work cut out for them however, as this course would be one of the most challenging
in U.S.D.R.’s three year history. Complete with rocks, whoops and down hills, it was
universally liked by almost everyone, but placed a premium on fitness and bike set-
While fitness and endurance is certainly not an issue for Burson, one question did
remain. Would the two time champion be able to continue his dominance aboard a
new and untested motorcycle? His competitors were hoping he would be facing at
least a short learning curve, but as the green flag waved, it was clear that the Zip Ty
Racing Husqvarna was flying.
Heading out onto the 15 mile loop for the first of five laps, it was Burson who would
take the lead and set the early pace. Following the Moose Racing/Jardine sponsored
rider was his team mate Kevin Urquhart. While not quite able to match the speed
of the leader, Urquhart was still impressive. Making his U.S.D.R. debut, the Zip Ty
Racing Husqvarna rider was able to hold off the hard charging Kawasaki’s of Dylan
Murdock and Ryan Kudla for over 20 miles until his day would come to a sudden end.
While Burson was long gone at this point, literally seconds separated the next three
riders. Urquhart was leading the group and looking strong until his race ended at the
top of a hill in a haze of smoke. Now in second place and in clear air, Murdock would
have to push his VMC/Maxima sponsored KX 450F as hard as possible to stay ahead
of a very hard charging Kawasaki rival.
Returning to racing after needing almost an entire year to recover from a serious
neck injury, Kudla was definitely back in form as he chased down Murdock. “We
were going back and forth across the valleys, which was really fun.” Said the T.O.
Kawasaki/AP Brakes sponsored rider. “Finally after check two, I pulled up on his rear
wheel and made the pass.” Fully intent on catching Burson, Kudla was now able to
open a small gap between him self, Murdock, and the rest of the pack.
Behind the top three, the rest of the field was fighting it out for the remaining top
positions. Leading the wave of some of the fastest up and coming off road racers in
fourth was 17 year old Cooper Hall followed by 15 year old Colton Sanders and 18
year old Brad Pace who was also making his return to the series after a six month
The running order would stay pretty much the same until the final lap. With time
running out, Kudla was really turning up the heat as he was able to cut Burson’s lead
down to less than a minute. While the Husqvarna rider may have been riding a bit
conservatively, it did make for an exciting last lap. The excitement soon turned to
disappointment however for Hall, as a broken engine case resulting from a fall would
bring the young Montclair Kawasaki/Zip Ty sponsored riders day to an end.
As the end of the race approached, all eyes were on the final hill with the spectators
eagerly waiting to see if Burson might have somehow faltered allowing Kudla to
sneak up and assume the lead. But as the mighty 510 Husqvarna appeared, it was
clear the streak would continue for the U.S.D.R. favorite. “I had a great race today”
said Burson. “We did a lot of suspension testing this week. It completely changed the
bike and really paid off.” Not too far behind, Kudla would come up just a bit short
but still take home second place ahead of Murdock. With Hall out of the race, Colton
Sanders would score an impressive fourth overall and claim the Lites Class victory
just ahead of the Open Expert winning CRF 450 of Pace.