The first AMA East vs. West Hare Scrambles Shootout is in the books, and Jason Raines, who earlier this year nailed down the AMA Eastern Hare Scrambles Championship, has claimed the overall title and the AMA National No. 1 plate to go with it. Raines took the championship with a dominating win at the winner-take-all competition, held at the Cross Bar Ranch in Davis, Okla.
The AMA East vs. West Hare Scrambles Shootout welcomed all riders to compete in the event. However, only participants who earned points in at least three regional events in the class they contested at the Shootout were eligible for an AMA National Championship.
The Cross Bar Ranch course, laid out by QT Promotions, featured a brutally long loop, roughly 23 miles with a pro lap time that was more than an hour long. With a four-loop race, Raines’ race time was 4-1/2 hours – an uncharacteristically long time for a hare scrambles.
“It was a long, tough course, but there was a lot of variety,” the 30-year-old Raines said. “There was everything from wide-open grass fields to tight trails to tough technical hills. There was stuff where the West Coast guys did well and places where the East Coast riders could excel. It was a good flow, a good mix. The promoter did a great job laying out the course.”
After starting in third, Raines quickly passed KTM’s Nate Kanney for second before reeling in early leader Tony Joiner. After making the pass, Raines built a two-minute lead by the end of the first lap. The gap only increased from there, reaching eight minutes by race end. Kanney finished second, with Joiner claiming the last spot on the podium.
The 2009 AMA East vs. West Hare Scrambles Shootout is Raines’ fifth AMA National Championship.
“It’s funny because when I first started racing, I was finishing outside the top 10, and I said that as soon as I got in the top 10, I’d be happy,” said Raines. “Then it was top five. Then I thought it would be that first win. Then once I won, I wanted to win again – one win wasn’t good enough. As a racer, when Monday morning comes, you always want to improve and get ready for that next race. When I was 17, 18 years old, I was thinking about moving back East just to race one season. To see where (my career has) gone from there is pretty amazing – the good, the bad, the hard times and everything.”
Below are the 2008 AMA East vs. West Hare Scrambles Champions:
Overall: Jason Raines, Belfair, Wash., Yam
200A: Justin Bonita, Boulder Creek, Calif., KTM
250B: Joel Blocksom, Little River, Calif., Hon
Open A: Michael Greenman, Battle Creek, Mich., Hus
Veteran 30+ A: Lester Partlow, Asheville, N.C., Yam
Veteran 30+ B: Scot Dorsey, Hesperia, Calif., Yam
Senior 40+ A: Patrick Flynn, Huntington, Ind., Kaw
Senior 40+ B: Tracy Smith, Pagosa Springs, Colo., Hon
Super Senior 50+ B: Richard Lugan, San Ramon, Calif., Hon
Women A/B: Kacy Martinez, Sunol, Calif., Hon