The spring-like weather set the stage for one young lion to prove his points championship last year wasn't a fluke. And the Dayton rider's performance put an exclamation point on that effort.
"It was good, tough, I'm wore out and my hands hurt," Irving Powers said after taking the checkered flag. "At the start I didn't look back and tried to check out. The course had a few technical sections, some good downhills, technical washes, some tight stuff but it started breaking bumps so it worked you really hard."
Then he thanked sponsors McCoy's Off Road, No Fear, Dirt Tricks and Reece Honea, who loaned him a desert fuel tank and exhaust.
When Powers said he wanted to check out it wasn't a joke. Getting the hold shot he led his rivals by a good five yards as they rounded the first turn that was only 50 yards away.
After that he extended his advantage to over four minutes at the end of the first 55-mile loop. Behind him Hutchings, Seth Johnson, Ross Neely and Cory Vannoy fought for second place.
In the end Powers had a 10-minute and 10-second advantage over second place Johnson while Hutchings followed three minutes later.
After taking a deep breath after the finish, Johnson said, "I feel out of shape. I got a good start but Irving checked out quick then it was Levi, me and Ross Neely, who passed me but I got him back. Then I was trying to chase down Levi the whole race and finally got him."
When the expert line started Mark Dowers had problems and was 37th when he finally got going. After a race long charge, and a lot of determined riding, he ended up seventh overall.
The course itself pretty much was the traditional one with a few tweaks. One was moving the starting line close to the pits then sending the riders around a few hills where they crossed a road close by for a better view.
Normally those in the pits see the riders disappear over a hill then never see them again for over 90-minutes. This time it took only about 20 minutes for the field to rip past the spectators.
Usually the first Novice rider finishes well back of the first Amateur but not this time. Veteran motocross racer Willie Welch, who didn't have a record with MRANN, started in the third or Novice line.
Soon after the start he was slicing through riders and eventually ended up 10th overall, far ahead of the top amateur.
"Normally I ride motocross but here it was fun, long, different, hard on the endurance but it was good," he said. "I only had my AMA card so they let me run Novice in my first ever desert race. The course was single track, pretty rocky, a little snow here and there but it was really fun."
Coming home 27th overall was Chad Ison, from Granite Bay, California, the first amateur rider to complete both laps.
"The race was awesome, the course was good, some whoops here and there but other than that single track is my type of riding and there is a lot of it out there," he said. "There was just enough high-speed where I liked it and the snow made it really interesting towards the top. Very slick but it was a lot of fun.
While it was fun the course was challenging and many commented on the whoops they had to ride through. Other than that, most liked the technical sections and downhill parts, some of which were apparently very steep.
After reaching the finish, novice rider Christie Lemoine joked, "It was whoops on top of whoops."
All in all everyone seemed very happy to be back on the desert and racing once again.
In Saturday's races the Pee Wee winners were Bryce Tremaine, Aidan Howe, Aaron Rapp and Dallas Serpa. The Mini Bike race was won by Ty Tremain followed by Joe Haney and Samuel Jacobus.
Veteran racer Chrystal Ponsock won the V Women's race only to have her bike break after she finished the event. Coming home second was Courtney Jackson while third place Alina Frei charged from last place to finish third.
While there were the usual bumps, cuts and bruises the medics never had to transport anyone to the hospital. But one unnamed rider was taken by private vehicle to be checked out.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•Sierra MX begins its Spring Fever Series this weekend at the Fernley Lions MX Track. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is for practice while racing for all classes begins at 9 a.m. Sunday.
•NASCAR's Las Vegas Trio spent the past week and a half at the Daytona International Speedway.
In Saturday's Camping World Truck Race, a crash filled event, Kyle Busch ended up 22nd. Earlier that day, in the Nationwide event, Busch started on the pole and came back from a wreck to finish 18th while Brendan Gaughan crashed out and was credited with 30th place.
Sunday's Daytona 500 took over six hours to run due to a hole in the banking caused by all the rain in that area. When the checkered finally waved Kyle ended up 14th while his older brother Kurt Busch, who was involved in a late-race incident, ended up 23rd.
MRANN Moose Racing Series, Round One
John Flynn Memorial 100
•Sunday, Feb. 14.
Overall Finish - 1. Irving Powers, 2:47:05, 2. Seth Johnson, 2:57:19, 3. Levi Hutchings, 3:00:28, 4. Cory Vannoy, 5. Ross Neely, 6. Larry Wright, 7. Mark Dowers, 8. Josh Fitzpatrick, 9. Zakk Audenried, 10. Willie Welch (1st Novice), 11. Cliff Townsend, 12. Geoff Brownell, 13. Ben Barnes, 14. Robert Nelson, 15. Paul Ziegler, 16. Jaxon Alosi, 17. Jason Stelziede, 18. Simon Ray, 19. Rodger McCabe, 20. Casey Forsmark, 27. Chad Ison
•Saturday, Feb. 13
Pee Wee: - (6 & Under) 1. Bryce Tremaine, 2. Casey Martensen
- (7 & Older) 1. Aidian Howe, 2. Jake Madson, 3. Alek Simone, 4. Aleea Howe, 5. Jesse White
- (7 & Older, 4-Stroke) 1. Aaron Rapp, 2. Brieanna McCauliffe, 3. Cody Schlefstein
- (65 Beg.) 1. Dallas Serpa, 2. Julian Corridori, 3. Jonas Thissen, 4. Caleb Farley, 5. Riley Harvey
Mini Bike Overall: 1. Ty Tremain, 2. Joe Haney, 3. Samuel Jacobus, 4. Ricky Dahlberg, 5. Nathan Vance 6. Colton Crist, 7. Weston Minnick, 8 Auggie Roufer, 9. Corey Fletcher, 10. Drew Chattin
V Women Overall: 1- Chrystal Ponsock, 2. Courtney Jackson, 3. Alina Frei, 4. Danielle Rosenquist, 5. Sherry Blair, 6. Kelsey Selfridge, 7. Jacque Stone, 8. Katie Rosenquist, 9. Kristin Cochran, 10. Melinda Cowen