US Hard Enduro: Maiden win for Ryder LeBlond at Fallen Timbers Hard Enduro
US Hard Enduro and AMA East round two at Fallen Timbers Hard Enduro saw another new winner as Rockstar Husqvarna’s Ryder LeBlond took a maiden series victory.
The Wildwood Lake Raceway has been hosting this race for several years, and features a beautiful course through caves, creeks, waterfalls, steep hills, and the “record rider attendance” lapped up the 10.5 mile course at Little Hocking, Ohio.
Saturday saw two, 6.5 mile qualifiers to set the rows for Sunday’s main event with the amateur classes going first followed by the Pro and expert classes. Despite some of the biggest names in the main series opting not to race Fallen Timbers, weather conditions and the track were “near perfect” and attracted crowds of spectators for this second round of the AMA East Hard Enduro Series, Presented by IRC Tire.
In the amateur qualifier, Braden Hashman won in the B Class. In the pro/expert qualifier, Beta USA’s Danny Lewis was in the lead the majority of the race, but a charging Will Riordan of RPM KTM Offroad and Rockstar Husqvarna’s Ryder LeBlond passed him on the second lap, with Riordan finishing 13 seconds ahead of LeBlond.
And then it rained...
Sunday’s main race consisted of a four-lap race around a 10.5 mile loop, with multiple checkpoints and tougher sections compared to Saturday. The tough became tougher Sunday morning, when the skies opened and rained pretty hard. The Wildwood Lake Raceway is infamous for its muddy conditions and it certainly got worse.
Danny Lewis was again in solid form with the holeshot and led the pack until the first checkpoint at Brent’s Diner, a gnarly boulder stretch that caused problems throughout the race.
Will Riordan and LeBlond passed Lewis at this first tough section and set off, passing back and forth for about a lap. LeBlond extended his lead and remained out front for the rest of the race with Colton Haaker at one point pushed into second place before Riordan passed him back, chasing LeBlond.
A battle behind raged between Lewis, Quinn Wentzel and James Flynn. After Lewis fell and got stuck underneath his bike, lost some time that allowed the Quinn and Flynn to catch and pass.
The lappers were a tough obstacle as much as the mud for almost 150 racers scattered throughout the course.
LeBlond rode a smooth race to keep his gap over Riordan and came through the finish in a whopping 4 hours and 52 minutes, winning the USHE Pro Class for the first time ever. Riordan was five minutes back, winning his sixth top-five of the season. LeBlond and Riordan were the only two racers to finish the four laps within the time limit.
Colton Haaker finished in third place ahead of Wentzel and Flynn having season-best finishes in fourth and fifth, respectively with Lewis regrouping to sixth.
Fallen Timbers hard enduro results (top 30):
The AMA USHE Series continues on May 27-29 at the Keystone Challenge in Pennsylvania. This double-header weekend will consist of Tough Like RORR on the 27-28 in Tamaqua, and the Shotgun Hard Scramble will take place on Monday the 29th.
Both are IRC US Hard Enduro Series, Presented by Klim Premier Championship rounds, as well as the final two rounds of the AMA East Hard Enduro Series, Presented by IRC Tire.
More information: www.ushardenduro.com
Photo Credit: Adam Sheehan and Ryan McCasland