Charlie Mullins took the holeshot via his great skills with the dead engine starts he learned as a top rider in the GNCC Series. Destry Abbott was a close second and the two riders quickly gapped the field and started to pull away. However, this race was being run under AMA Western Hare Scrambles rules and there were a lot more then just the usual Pro 1 and Pro 2 riders on the course. In fact, this race combined the WHS with the WORCS as well as a new AMA Championship dubbed “WORCS WEEK” which is a 4-race series combing the WHS, WORCS, GPMX, and WORCS-Cross. So, all the Pro-men, Pro-women, AA, A, Vets, and more were in the race as well. It only took one rider going down on a tough uphill to create a huge bottle-neck that stalled Mullins and Abbott when they came around. In the interest of safety and fairness the race was black-flagged and restarted.
The Pro’s were started in the order they came through scoring the last full lap with a five second interval with Mullins out front followed by Abbott, Jamie Lanza, Justin Soule, Colton Udall, Mike Brown (WORCS points leader), Kurt Caselli, Tim Weigand (WHS points leader), Brian Garrahan (HS defending Champion), and Brenden Ritzman rounding out the top ten. Bobby Bonds, the defending WORCS Champion was gated 13th and Dietrich was way back in 25th.
With the restart successful, the race was back on and Mullins pulled away with Abbott close behind. For the first hour, it looked as though Mullins was unstoppable, but then he began to slow. “My water system hose got caught in the bars on the first lap and blew apart,” said Mullins. “I raced for the first hour without any water and it was pretty hot and dry. I was already dehydrated by the time I pitted and got a new system. But it was too late; I had cotton-mouth and could feel my strength draining away. I tried to hang in with Destry but he was too fast today.”
Abbott took over the lead and showed the fire and skills that have earned him multiple Hare & Hound Championships. Meanwhile, behind Abbott a dogfight ensued as Lanza, Mullins, and Soule began swapping paint with Brown and Caselli. Bonds and Dietrich had hooked up with Weigand and the three of them were banging bars through the woods. For the next two hours, the battle for a spot in the top ten became a mêlée of “dust and mud and a little blood,” as Weigand put it after several crashes.
When the white flag came out Dietrich had moved from 25th into second close behind Abbott, Caselli was in third battling with Mullins and Brown and Soule. Bonds was gone from the top ten, pushing his bike with a broken chain.
At the checkered flag Dietrich came out of the woods ahead of Abbott in second with Caselli taking third. Behind them was Mullins in fourth and Brown in fifth.
“I love to come home to Washington,” said Dietrich. “This is where I grew up and learned to ride and it’s great to win here in front of my friends. I’d really like to thank the Monster Energy Kawasaki team for letting me ride the Nationals. I think it improved my speed and skills a lot.”
It was an emotional podium for the well-liked Abbott who had not been on the boxes since 2006. “I’m so happy getting a second here and being able to run up front, “said Destry. “I just had arm pump surgery and have been training very hard and it’s already paying off.”
Here’s how the series points work out – AMA Western Hare Scrambles Series is still lead by Tim Weigand (who finished 12th after several crashes) with 75/1 win after four rounds; WORCS is now lead by Ricky Dietrich with 147/4 wins, over Mike Brown with 145/1 win and Bonds with 129/2 wins.