Kendall Norman returns to racing in 2018 with impressive championship win at AMA National Hare and Hounds.
Despite taking time out from racing, Kendall Norman returned to the saddle in 2018 and hit right back where he left of with the championship honours at the 2018 National Hare and Hound series. Norman came into the series finale at the 51st 'End Of The Trail' Hare and Hound at Ridgecrest, California with confidence after a successful year topping the podium but with pressure from a strong line-up of riders ready to take points.
At the drop of the banner, Dalton Shirey quickly lit his Husqvarna FX 450 to get the jump through the holeshot line. Across the next 40-miles Beta's Joe Wasson overtook the lead position, Nick Burson moved into second place, ahead of Shirey, Jacob Argubright and series points leader Norman.
Coming in from loop one, the front runners held their respective positions; all with quick pitstops. In the Pro 250 class, Morgan Crawford lead local talent Nic Colangeli, Nick Stover, Jake Alvarez and Daemon Woolslayer for the top five.
On the second final loop, the terrain increased in difficulty for the 35 remaining miles to the finish. At the front of the pack, Dalton made the pass on Wasson for the lead, with Burson, Argubright and Norman in tow.
Some confusion reigned with riders taking different routes and though it was Argubright who crossed the finish line first, a resolved finishing order at the chequered flag allowed Dalton Shirey to officially claim his first-ever series overall victory.
Wasson and Burson followed with a “nervous” but confident, Kendall Norman following to earn himself the 2018 AMA KENDA SRT National Hare and Hound Championship title.
Richards and Stout take Women's class to the wire
Prior to the finale, women's class point leader Brittany Gallegos, found herself out for the final round with injury leaving the championship battle to second and third place holders, Brandy Richards and Rachel Stout.
With just three points separating Richards in second and Stout in third, the final round was going to be tight. Off the start, Richards got a great jump, gaining a healthy lead going out onto loop one.
District 37's Laci Olivas was excited to take on her first National Hare and Hound on home turf as her motivation was to build upon her chase for the local Women's championship against series regular Kari Erickson.
Rachel Stout was also looking to capitalize on Gallego's absence and focused on putting in a solid ride. Coming in from loop one, Richards' lead was impressive, leaving Rachel Stout chasing for over 70+ miles in second. Erickson put everything on the table in third place for the day and finished strong for the final podium position.
Olivas suffered an unfortunate crash on loop one that would take her out of contention. Richard's performance to earn the final win of the season allowed her to be crowned the 2018 Women's National Champion.
Saturday Youth races
The Youth banner dropped at 9:30 Saturday morning where Pee Wee rider Grady Ballow took a start to finish win ahead of Waylon Honnold. The third and fourth place battle for the final podium spot between Jerimiah Connaway and Levi Shade saw Connaway just pip Shade for the final podium spot.
Big wheel rider Clayton Roberts caught the hare and won the second race of the day but not without effort. Second place rider Bradley East took the lead for a moment in his last youth race ever, ultimately handing the lead back over to Roberts to take second place. Ashton Stevens ran a good race in third, unfortunately making an unplanned pit stop for a bike difficulty, handed over the third place position to Lane Forbes who would round out the Big wheel podium in third place.
Micro mini 65cc rider Mikey Wayne took the win after passing Brennen Watson on lap four. Watson rode a solid race for second with Gregory Fenstermaker Jr third.
Ty Woolslayer ran out the Girls class winner after leading six out of seven laps ahead of second place rider, Brooke Olivas.
Full results and 2018 championship positions: moto-tally.com
More information: nationalhareandhound.comReport and photos: NHHA