Lucerne Valley AMA National Hare & Hound Results, Round 1

The eight-round 2015 AMA National Hare & Hound Series began this past weekend in Johnson Valley OHV in Lucerne Valley, Calif. The competition was fierce, with many eyes on the reigning Pro-class champion – Kawasaki’s Ricky Brabec.

But though he put up quite the fight, he was beat in round one by FMF KTM Factory Support rider Gary Sutherlin. This was Sutherlin’s first-career victory, and he was joined on the overall podium by Brabec and FMF KTM teammate Ivan Ramirez.

Sutherlin took the lead near the end of the long-bomb stretch of the opening lap. By the end of the first pit stop, which was 36 miles into the race, Sutherlin held a 45-second lead over Brabec.

During the second loop, which was longer and more technical, Brabec caught up with Sutherlin and an intense battle began in the ravine section. But Sutherlin got the best of Brabec, and was able to lead to the end to take his first win.

“I knew once I made that last pass that he would not be able to trail me with how thick the dust was,” Sutherlin says. “I was thankful because it allowed me to focus more on the technical terrain that was ahead of me and run my KTM in for the win.”

As for Ramirez, he collided with another rider at the beginning and got his leg stuck in the rear wheel of his KTM. Once he removed his wedged leg, he began the bomb section in last. But by the end, he climbed to 50th place overall.

But Ramirez put the bad start behind, and put in an impressive performance during the final two miles of the race. He would finish third.

“I was able to move to 4th on the ridge a few miles before the finish and then got a glimpse of the 3rd place rider ahead of me on the course,” says Ramirez. “From there, I just went all out and hoped for the best. I was able to make the pass on this big downhill section and just went for it. I got around him and finished on the podium. It feels really good to get a decent result at the first round.”

Folloing the race, FMF KTM Factory Team Manager Antti Kallonen also commented: “We are very impressed with Gary (Sutherlin’s) finish today. He raced one event last season and before that had not raced this series in three years.

“He shows he has a lot of potential and we expect to continue to see him up front all season. It is also nice to see Ivan (Ramirez) return in good condition. He is in a much better position mentally and physically than last year and the off-season testing has made him very comfortable on his bike. We are looking forward to his progress as the season continues.”

The 2015 AMA Hare & Hound continues February 22 in the Stottard Valley OHV in Barstow, Calif.

2015 AMA Hare & Hound Series Round 1 Results:

  1. Gary Sutherlin – KTM
  2. Ricky Brabec – Kawasaki
  3. Ivan Ramirez – KTM
  4. Nick Burson – Beta
  5. David Kamo – KTM
  6. Skyler Howes – KTM
  7. Axel Pearson – Beta
  8. Dalton Shirey – Husqvarna
  9. Brandon Prieto – KTM
  10. Colton Udall – Honda