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Photo Credit: Shan Moore

Steward Baylor has capped off an exceptional 2017 season by winning the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Championship.

Just one week after clinching the AMA National Enduro Championship, Baylor and his SRT Racing KTM team were celebrating again by wrapping up the Full Gas Sprint Enduro title at Big Buck Ranch.

“It’s been a hell of a year,” said Baylor. “We came in and won a couple of races right off the bat and after that we just kept it consistent, but it was a lot of work riding three series this year. 

“The Sprint series is an incredible series and it takes a lot of different skill sets to win in this type of racing, which is why I like it. 

“I don’t think anyone has won multiple titles in the same year except Kailub Russell, and he won a GNCC title and a national enduro title in the same year, so I’m super excited to be able to do this.”

Big Buck marks 2017 finale

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Photo Credit: Shan Moore
 

For the ninth and final weekend of the 2017 series, it was Costal Racing/Husqvarna’s Ryan Sipes who claimed his fourth win of the season with a 24-second victory over Baylor.

Sipes kicked off Saturday’s event with a big win in the cross test, beating JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger by four seconds and Baylor by nearly 14 seconds.

Integrity Acquisitions-backed KTM rider Evan Smith won the second test – an enduro test – beating Baylor’s SRT Racing teammate Cory Buttrick by a little over a second, while Baylor was now starting getting up to speed and finished three seconds off of Smith’s time. 

Sipes wound up winning all three of the cross tests on Saturday, while Baylor came on strong at the end of the day, winning two of the three enduro tests, with the third one going to Smith. 

Sipes won Saturday’s round with a time of 00:36:12.051, edging out Baylor’s 00:36:18.481 by 6.4 seconds, and giving the Husqvarna rider a slight cushion in the fight for the overall results heading into Sunday. 

Smith was third on Saturday with a time of 00:36:21.188, while Ashburn (00:36:31.424) and Buttrick (00:36:32.232) rounded out Saturday’s top five.

Sipes on top form

On Sunday, Sipes once again dominated the cross tests, winning all three of them, however, Baylor managed to stay a little closer to Sipes’ times, making the battle for the win a tight one. 

Baylor managed to win an enduro test, while Sipes finished second, fourth and third in the three enduro tests. 

In the end, Sipes took the overall victory by 24 seconds over Baylor, with Smith finishing less then three seconds back in third.

 

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Photo Credit: Shan Moore
 

And while Sipes won the battle, it was Baylor who won the war, his runner-up finish giving him enough points to top Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn for the series title.

“Jordan and I had a heck of a battle at almost every race this year,” continued Baylor. “He would win one day and I would win the other. 

“It’s tough lining up every race knowing you’re going to have to give it absolutely everything you’ve got and it still comes down to the wire, but that’s what makes it fun.

Buttrick finished off the weekend in fourth overall, edging Ashburn by less than a second. 

Series runner-up for Ashburn

“I knew I had to beat Steward in order to win the championship and we just came up a little short,” said Ashburn. 

“My times in the cross test were good and I was finishing ahead of him, but I had a couple of bad enduro tests and that was the bottom line.”

FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Russell Bobbitt rode a steady race to finish sixth, while Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s made the drive from Connecticut to finish seventh. 

Anthony Frederico finished out the weekend in eighth. Meanwhile, Bollinger crashed in the cross test on Saturday and injured his hand and shoulder, forcing him to sit out Sunday’s event. 

The Honda rider was credited with ninth overall, while Tyler McSwain also missed Sunday’s event and finished 10th overall. 

Women: Jones makes it a clean sweep

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Photo Credit: Shan Moore
 

In the Women’s Pro division, Australian Tayla Jones won all 12 tests over the course of the weekend on her KR4 Husqvarna to cap off her championship-winning season. Tayla was riding a 125 Husqvarna this weekend.

“I struggled a bit on the 125 because it was slippery and rooty and I had to make sure my throttle control was good, but other than that it was good,” said Jones.

FMF KTM’s Becca Sheets was second, just two minutes off Jones’ pace, while Brooke Cosner was third, another three minutes and 20 seconds back. 

Open A: Schlag signs off in winning style

Billy Schlag put the finishing touches on his championship-winning season with another win, beating Zac Brown and Conner Smith for the Open A win. 

In the meantime, Cole Mattison continued his dominance of the Lites A class with a win over Brewer Cawley and Blake Grindstaff. 

The 2018 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series presented by PRI Powersports Insurance schedule will be released in a few weeks. 

For more information on the series, please check out www.sprintenduro.com.

 

Full Gas Sprint Enduro Results

1. Ryan Sipes (Hsq) 1:12:14.873

2. Steward Baylor (KTM) 1:12:37.647

3. Evan Smith (KTM) 1:12:40.442

4. Cory Buttrick (KTM) 1:12:52.721

5. Jordan Ashburn (Beta) 1:12:53.118

6. Russell Bobbitt (KTM) 1:14:44.284

7. Ben Kelley (KTM) 1:15:53.002

8. Anthony Frederico (Yam) 1:18:27.675

9. Trevor Bollinger (Hon) 00:29:15.550

10. Tyler McSwain (Yam) 00:30:57.361

 

 

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Shan Moore
US Contributor
shan@tandenews.com