GARY SUTHERLIN TOP DOG AT NHHA OPENER - Enduro Tyres

GARY SUTHERLIN TOP DOG AT NHHA OPENER

GARY SUTHERLIN TOP DOG AT NHHA OPENER

Gary Sutherlin gets it started in AMA National Hare & Hound Championship…

Report: Jean Turner

The Kenda/SRT AMA National Hare & Hound Championship kicked off over the weekend with the Desert MC’s 48th Annual Winter Classic, and it was a newcomer to the series, Gary Sutherlin, who fired the first shot of 2015. The FMF KTM-support rider battled with his training partner and defending champion, Ricky Brabec, to take the overall win in Johnson Valley, California.

Aboard his THR Motorsports/Precision Concepts Kawasaki KX450F, Brabec rode to a strong second-place finish after having pulled double-duty over the weekend. Brabec and his teammate, Colton Udall, had contested the opening round of the Bud Light SCORE World Desert Championship the day before at the San Felipe 250, where Brabec ended up having to do more than his anticipated share after his teammate took a tumble.

Despite the rough weekend, Brabec had a great time battling Sutherlin – who he trains with on a regular basis. In the end, Sutherlin held the advantage and took the first National Hare & Hound win of his career ahead of Brabec.

Ivan Ramirez 101996© Simon Cudby

Ivan Ramirez rounded out the podium in third after getting out to a very unusual start. Ramirez came together with another rider during the bomb run and ended up stuck with his own foot caught between the rear wheel and swingarm of his Red Bull KTM. It took the aid of his mechanic to free his foot, and from that point, Ramirez had a long trail of dust in front of him.

Fortunately, the KTM rider was able to make his way all the way up to the top-five by the end of the second 40-mile loop. It was on the last downhill of the race that Ramierz caught up with Beta rider Nick Burson and David Kamo.

The trio descended the steep, rocky slope practically within a bike length of each other in a three-way battle for third. Ramirez made a rather hairball pass on Burson to capture the final podium position, leaving Burson and Kamo to round out the top-five, respectively.

Top 10 Results:

1. Gary Sutherlin (KTM)

2. Ricky Brabec (Kaw)

3. Ivan Ramirez (KTM)

4. Nick Burson (Bet)

5. David Kamo (KTM)

6. Skyler Howes (KTM)

7. Axel Pearson (Bet)

8. Dalton Shirey (Hsq)

9. Brandon Prieto (KTM)

10. Colton Udall (Hon)