Gary Sutherlin’s a busy man. Here he’s competing in the Husqvarna 1-2-5 Challenge. He just won the West Hare Scrambles title and then jetted to Brazil to compete in the X-Games. GEICO AMA EnduroCross is next!
Gary Sutherlin didn’t set out to run the entire AMA West Hare Scrambles Series schedule this year, but after the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Bell Helmet rider won the season-opening race, it was hard not to come back for more.
“I didn’t have a plan to race the whole series,” Sutherlin said. “Then I won the first race, the previous year’s winner had a DNF and I figured it’s only a five-race series. I thought, ‘Why not. I’ll give it a shot.'”
Sutherlin hit the bull-eye with his shot. He won in Buckeye and Globe, Ariz., and finished solidly enough in the other two races to clinch the series title with one event left to go.
“This series is a whole new ballgame for me,” Sutherlin said. “Hare scrambles are really tight rides. I come from a motocross background where things are more open.
“I met a lot of new guys I’d never crossed paths with before, because it’s such a different series. There are a lot of guys who can go really, really fast through all the tight stuff. It’s been great.”
Crossing over to a different series has been a signature part of Sutherlin’s career. This weekend he’ll race the season opener for the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro EnduroCross series in Las Vegas.
“I feel like I’m a pretty well-rounded guy,” Sutherlin said. “I’ve raced motocross, scrambles, 24-hour enduro races and EnduroCross. It’s a good thing and the bad thing in a way. I can perform well in most events, but I’m still looking for that one thing where I can really excel.
“To be able to pull off a championship and win two of these Hare Scramble rounds has been exciting.”
The most thrilling round might have been the latest round in Shasta Lake, Calif.
“I kind of lucked out,” Sutherlin said. “Cory Graffunder and I raced on Sunday morning, we threw all our stuff in my van and we drove down to Sacramento so we could fly to Brazil to race in the X Games the next week.
“I had a lot on my mind, but I just rode smart and wrapped up the title early.”
Sutherlin will be back on his bike on Friday at the Orleans Arena. Opening ceremonies get under way at 8 p.m. PDT.