Cycle News

Cycle News 2016 Issue 39 October 4

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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IN THE WIND P34 CHAMPIONS CROWNED AT WEST HARE SCRAMBLES T he Superstition Off-Highway Vehicle Area sees lots of visitors from the San Diego area. In fact, the first desert race that Justin Morgan and Grant Statley ever did took place here a half- dozen years ago. So it's somewhat fitting that they not only earned their first podium finishes here at the Roadrunner Offroad Club's Rat- tlesnake Chase—round seven of the eight-race Kenda/SRT AMA West Hare Scrambles Regional Championship Series—but went 1-2 overall as well, with Morgan taking control about halfway through the race to take the big- gest individual victory of his ca- reer, Statley following in second a little over a minute back. While they won the battle on a warm, dusty day in the desert just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, Nick Burson rode a somewhat cautious race in order to lock up the series champion- ship. His goals were simple: get his Purvines Racing Beta to the finish and stay close to Justin Bonita. Burson accomplished both to earn his biggest title to date by finishing third, with Bonita fifth on the day behind Ryan Smith. The Roadrunners laid out a 17-mile loop that included a bit of everything Superstition has to offer: flat-out desert floor, sand dunes and twisty, rocky can- yons—all of it done in tempera- tures pushing 100 degrees, with wind picking up strongly as the day went on. Despite a two-kick start on his Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/Preci- sion Concepts/MSR YZ450F, Morgan squared up through the first turn, got a great drive and powered into the lead shortly after hitting fifth gear. "I just didn't let off, went straight through the dust cloud and it worked out really well," he noted. "Then I'm like, 'Oh man, I'm lead- ing! Don't let off the gas!' " Joining him up front was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Off-road Team's Jacob Argubright, who had his Bel-Ray/FMF/Fly Racing FC 450 pinned as he and Morgan gradually pulled away from the field. "At the end of the second lap, he closed the gap and caught me in the technical stuff," Morgan admitted. "I was really pumped up from being so nervous from lead- ing for the first time. "We passed each other back and forth a few times." But their battle ended prema- turely when Argubright's bike lost sixth gear, forcing him to park it before inducing more damage. That left Morgan alone up front and he clicked off the remaining laps without a serious challenge, though he was aware that Statley had moved into second, the two friends now running 1-2. "I'd say for sure [I have a Justin Morgan put his home-field advantage to good use, battling at the front of the pack early with Jacob Argubright. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK KARIYA

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