Photo Credit: Shan Moore
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad DuVall continued his recent domination of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series by claiming his fourth-straight win at this weekend’s Muddobber’s National Enduro – round six of the series in Matthews, Indiana.
With the win, DuVall increased his advantage in the series standings to 16 points over SRT Racing’s Steward Baylor.
Five-time national enduro champion Russell Bobbitt got the ball rolling by turning the fastest time in test one, finishing the 11-mile section two seconds faster than Baylor, while Solid Performance KTM’s Jesse Groemm logged the third-fastest time, another eight seconds back.
Bobbitt continued to lead the event until the midway point of the race, but gave up the top spot to DuVall after the West Virginia rider reeled off three-straight test wins (tests two through four) to take over the lead in the provisional standings.
“I’ve been doing a lot of prep for the upcoming ISDE in France and I haven’t been doing a lot of training in the tight woods, and I think it showed in the first couple of tests,” said DuVall. “Once I got settled in I felt pretty good and my times got a lot faster. I think the trail was a little tighter than what I remembered and it kind of snuck up on me.”
Just three-tenths of a second separated DuVall and Bobbitt in the fifth test and the two rivals went into the sixth and final test of the day with DuVall leading Bobbitt by just five seconds.
Photo Credit: Shan Moore
DuVall ended up having one of his best rides of the day, while Bobbitt got stuck in a mud bog and lost a considerable amount of time. At the end of the day, DuVall finished the event with a 39-second advantage over Bobbitt to claim the win.
“It was good to get back into race mode after a couple of weeks off and I feel like conditioning came into play a little bit today with the heat and humidity. It also feels really good to get a win heading into next week’s ISDE,” said DuVall, who flies out the following day (Monday) for France to compete in the International Six Days Enduro.
Bobbitt moved into fourth overall in the series standings with his runner-up finish.
“We made a few changes to the bike and I felt a lot more confident in the tests today,” said Bobbitt. “I think I rode well today and I think it all came down to choosing a bad line in the last test.”
KR4 Arrive-n-Ride Husqvarna’s Grant Baylor claimed his second podium finish of the season with a third (Grant won round two in Florida), finishing just one second behind Bobbitt in the final results.
“I let those guys get a little head start on me,” said Grant. “I think I was sixth in the first test, but I picked up the pace after that and was able to start top three for the rest of the day. Going into the last test I think I was about 35 seconds out of the lead and I just went for it. I didn’t hit the ground all day until that last test and about a mile from the finish I had a tip-over and it cost me at least five seconds and I ended up losing second place by just one second so that bobble really cost me.”
Steward Baylor, Grant’s older brother, finished the day in fourth. The SRT Racing KTM rider was second in the first test and looked well on his way to a podium finish. However, a high-speed crash in test two cost the former national enduro champion a lot of time and the South Carolina rider struggled to get his rhythm back.
“I crashed pretty hard and did some damage to the bike, which cost me,” said Steward. “I was feeling pretty good up until that point but then I was playing catch-up the rest of the day.
“It was a pretty fast crash and it kind of scared me a little, so it was hard to get my momentum back after that. I got lucky with the way I landed and it could have been worse, but my leg was pretty sore the rest of the day and it was a struggle to stand up on the bike.”
Photo Credit: Shan Moore
Integrity Acquisitions-backed KTM rider Evan Smith had his best finish of the year with a fifth overall finish. The Georgia native had a consistent day, finishing 4th, 5th, 6th, 4th, 5th, and 6th in the six tests.
Sixth overall went to SRT Racing KTM’s Cory Buttrick, who finished the event with the third-fastest time in test six. Buttrick is a consistent top five guy and sits fifth overall in the series standings.
New Jersey’s Jesse Groemm put his Solid Performance KTM into seventh, just four seconds ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang.
Meanwhile, Sherco Offroad’s Nick Fahringer and AirGroup Racing/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna’s Thorne Devlin rounded out the top 10.
Devlin also won the Rekluse/Expert AA class, beating teammate Tyler Vore by three minutes and 16 seconds. Vore was 13th overall.
“It was a good day for me,” said Devlin. “I didn’t hit the ground all day and I felt really good on the bike.”
Beta-mounted Logan Lowrey rounded out the top three in the Rekluse/Expert AA class, finishing 15th in the overall standings.
Women: Tricker takes the win
Despite riding in her first-ever enduro, Australian off-road star Mackenzie Tricker took the win in the Women’s A/B class on her Bonanza Plumbing-backed KTM, topping all five of the tests in the class.
Husqvarna-mounted Sarah Baldwin was six minutes back in second, while Yamaha-mounted Allie Spurgeon was third, another 18 minutes behind Baldwin.
“The day was good,” said Tricker. “The tests weren’t nearly as tight as I thought they were going to be and I had a really good time. Mainly, I stayed off the ground and I managed to not hit any trees.”
The Open A class was won by Sam Mattingly on a Yamaha, while the 250 A class was won by fellow Yamaha rider James King.
The 2017 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes action on September 17th for the Lead Belt National Enduro, round seven of the series in Park Hills, Missouri.
For more information on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series check out www.nationalenduro.com.
RESULTS - OVERALL
1. Thad DuVall
2. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
3. Grant Baylor
4. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
5. Evan Smith (KTM)
6. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
7. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
8. Josh Strang
9. Nick Fahringer
10. Thorn Devlin
Shan MooreUS Contributorshan@tandenews.com