EnduroCross: The fans are back, Colton is back – Rnd1 win for Haaker in Tulsa
Normal service was resumed at the opening round of the 2021 GEICO AMA EnduroCross series in Tulsa, Oklahoma as the fans were back inside the BOK Center Arena and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker made a perfect winning start to the new season.
It’s fair to say the four-times EnduroCross champion Colton Haaker needed this result. Recording a perfect 1-1-1 scorecard in the three opening motos of the 2021 AMA EnduroCros season was a doese of tonic for the Rockstar Husky rider who we haven't seen on a podium since the final of the 2020 EX season.
In front of fans once more and back indoors, Haaker took the win ahead of Red Bull KTM’s Trystan Hart with 2-3-2 moto finishes and RPM KTM’s Cooper Abbott stepping up to the overall podium with 3-2-3 results.
2021 AMA EnduroCross round one in a nutshell:
- Haaker kicked off his day by setting the fastest hot-lap time of 35.621. Abbott showed his speed with the second-fastest time of 36.608 with Hart third on 37.021 lap time. Cory Graffunder and Will Riordan rounded out the top five to determine start order for the main motos.
- Hart blasted to the Moose Racing Holeshot in moto one with Haaker, Ryder LeBlond, Cory Graffunder and Abbott close behind. Haaker passed Hart on the third lap and edged away from Hart with Abbott third, LeBlond fourth and Graffunder fifth.
- The second moto sees the top eight riders start on the second row and so it was Canadian Branden Petrie who took the holeshot from row one followed by Noah Kepple. Haaker made quick work of the slower riders to finish lap one in third and work his way into the lead a lap later. Hart meanwhile was last after a crash in the Matrix on lap one and Abbott was down in seventh. Abbott progressed steadily through to second place but Hart had a lot of work to do, finally making the pass on Graffunder on the last lap while Petrie held on for fifth.
- In the final moto, Hart again took the holeshot with Riordan second and Max Gerston third. Haaker moved into second by the third lap to apply pressure on Hart and the two riders battled with Haaker taking the lead and eventually the win despite a lapped rider crashing in front of him. Hart was second while Abbott worked his way into third to complete the overall podium.
- Graffunder finished fourth overall with 5-4-10 moto finishes. Riordan was fifth with consistent 8-7-5 results. Gerston, LeBlond, German rider Tim Apolle, Petrie and Noah Kepple were your top 10.
Say what? The top three riders explain their Tulsa night...
- “To say that I missed the fans would be an understatement.” Said Colton in the the BOK Center. “The first six months of this year were tough for me because the Hard Enduros were not going well for me despite a lot of effort. I am so happy that EnduroCross is going strong and we can put on a great show for the fans.”
- “I got a beat down.” Explains Hart. “KTM wants to win and I don’t like getting second. That second race, I came up an inch short and went over the bars so I had to ride really hard get back up to third. I will work hard the next two weeks and come back stronger for the next one.”
- “I struggled with starts all night so I definitely made it hard on myself.” Says Cooper Abbott in establishing himself on the EnduroCross podium. “I went 3-2-3 on the moto scores which I am happy about but I know I am there with those guys now. So I will work on my starts and work to battle more with those top two guys.”
Want to hear more? Listen to the Seat Time podcast interviews from Tulsa:
2021 AMA EnduroCross Rd 1 results:
- Colton Haaker, 1-1-1, Husqvarna
- Trystan Hart, 2-3-2, KTM
- Cooper Abbott, 3-2-3, KTM
- Cory Graffunder, 5-4-10, Yamaha
- Will Riordan, 8-7-5, KTM
- Max Gerston, 11-6-4, GasGas
- Ryder LeBlond, 4-11-8, Husqvarna
- Tim Apolle, 6-12-6, Beta
- Branden Petrie, 10-5-11, KTM
- Noah Kepple, 12-8-7, Husqvarna
- Ty Cullins, 9-9-9, TM
- Spenser Wilton, 7-10-15, GasGas
- Cody Miller, 13-15-12, KTM
- Anthony Johnson, 14-16-13, Sherco
- Dustin McCarthy, 16-14-16, KTM
Shelby Turner once again in the Women’s class
In the Women’s class, four-time Women’s EnduroCross champion Shelby Turner took the win on her KTM ahead of Sherco’s Louise Forsley who had to make a last-lap pass on Beta USA’s Morgan Tanke to take second place.
The Intermediate class main event was one of the most exciting races of the night. Coleman Johnson took the win despite Gavin McCarthy leading most of the race. Shelby Turner added another podium to her evening to round out the podium on her KTM.
Sherco mounted Dylan Lozano won the Amateur class main event in his first-ever EnduroCross. Brian Wedlake finished second after being docked a position for missing a section of the Matrix on the last lap. Ruffin Dodson rounded out the podium.
In the Vet class, Yamaha rider David Stirm edged out Craig Thompson (Husqvarna) to take the win with the two riders crossing the finish line with their handlebars locked together. Kyle Strever rounded out the podium on a Yamaha.
Jack Williford raced a GasGas to win the inaugural Junior Trials class, which is limited to riders that are 12 to 17 years of age. Dylan Lozano finished second on a Sherco and Ruffin Dodson rounded out the top three on a Sherco.
Round two of the 2021 GEICO AMA EnduroCross series is on Saturday, October 2 in Amarillo Texas.
More information: www.endurocross.com
Photo Credit: Jack Jaxson