US Hard Enduro: No footrests? No worries for Trystan Hart
A double-header weekend of Tough Like RORR and Shotgun Hard Scramble Hard Enduro, rounds three and four of the AMA Hard Enduro East Championship saw defending champion Trystan Hart beat off international rivals and broken footpegs for the double win.
Like Hard Enduro isn’t hard enough! Tough Like Rorr for two days (qualifiers and main race) followed by a trip 30 mile down the road to Sugarloaf for a third day’s slog in the rocks for the second of two concluding AMA U.S. Hard Enduro East rounds in Pennsylvania.
For the second year in succession in both races, FMF KTM’s Trystan Hart took the double victory ahead of an international field of riders which included USHE regulars Cody Webb, Will Riordan and Ryder Leblond plus Jonny Walker, Jack Price and Sandra Gomez making the transatlantic trip.
Pulling off a double header of this size was no easy feat but Trystan Hart took the FMF KTM to a double win, with or without foot rests…
Over the two events, which sit just half an hour apart on the road, over 600 riders took part a bonus points structure that would award competitors that finished well in both events, which incentivised racers to compete in both for the series championships.
Take one: Tough Like RORR
Tough Like RORR is one of the most challenging hard enduro races in the United States with the Reading Off Road Riders progressively making the course more difficult over the years in Pennsylvania coal country.
Saturday, saw the qualifiers to narrow down the field for Sunday’s six-hour main race to 70 riders. This race consisted of an easier first loop, then a much more difficult second loop that thinned out the field. Will Riordan grabbed the holeshot for the main race, but the drama began right out of the gate when Cooper Abbott and Trystan Hart came together at the start, fortunately avoiding a major incident as the other racers rushed around them, but resulting in one of those broken footrests.
Webb lead the pack with LeBlond, Hart and Jonny Walker. Hart came into his pit, panicked with the missing right footpeg but opted to carry on and keep with the pack without taking the time to fix it, in hopes that he can replace them on the trail at some point.
As competitors were completing the first lap, the second lap was where the majority of them would end their race.
Hart Attack, Nightmare, and Wrong Side of Heaven were just some of the sections that the promoters included in lap two, in hopes that it would push the limits of everyone who qualified in the top-70.
Webb and Hart pulled clear to battle for the lead on lap two, and Walker began to pull ahead of LeBlond. Adding to Hart’s misfortunes, he then broke off his second footpeg on the second lap but had to focus on battling Webb without the vital parts to stand on.
When Webb had his own crash past the halfway point of lap two, Hart gained time and took the Tough Like RORR prize by completing the two laps in 3hrs 26mins, without footpegs. Webb finished around eight minutes back, while Walker came in 25 minutes later and rounded off the podium for third. Will Riordan finished in fourth place, and the UK’s Jack Price finished in fifth.
Sandra Gomez travelled from Spain to race this weekend in the Pro Women’s class where she qualified in the top-70 and finished 26th overall! Rachel Gutish and Hallie Marks rounded off the Women’s pro podium – Gutish while competing in the US Sprint Enduro series also.
Only 12 racers finished both laps of Tough Like RORR, and it was very challenging for all. Nicer weather (it has traditionally been held on July 4th weekend) and dryer conditions probably contributed to more racers finishing than the past few years. Some racers were out there for the full six hours, but a good portion also just completed their one lap and saved their energy and equipment for the next day.
2023 Tough Like Rorr results:
Take two: Shotgun Hard Scramble
After a full night of fixing bikes and resting, the Shotgun Hard Scramble took place 30 minutes down the road in Sugarloaf. This race, hosted by Mike Soudas and the High Mountain Dirt Riders, was new to the scene last year and quickly became a formidable challenge amongst the pros and amateurs.
Since this was day three of the Keystone Challenge, the HMDR club decided to simplify their format from last year and just host a two-lap hard scramble on a 16-mile course. Agaion, things ramped up in difficulty as it went on in sections like Stairway, Tombstone, and Green Acres through a variety of terrain throughout the 4000-acre property.
The terrain was relentless and was tough on the bikes and bodies, as rock littered the entire course.
Hart better with footpegs
Trystan Hart gained an early lead on Webb, while a charging LeBlond and Walker put pressure up front. As the race went on, Hart continued to push ahead of the lead pack and finished his first lap in approximately 90 minutes. LeBlond and Webb were only a minute behind Hart after lap one, with Walker was a few minutes further back.
On lap two, the course split off on more into difficult sections and the pros had to work through the amateurs still making it through lap one.
Hart finished his second lap only a minute longer than the first, winning the Shotgun Hard Scramble and Keystone Challenge. LeBlond pulled ahead of Webb and finished in second, and Webb came in third. Walker finished in fourth, and Riordan finished in fifth.
Sandra Gomez finished a lap and won the Pro Women’s class, with Rachel Gutish and Hallie Marks rounding off the podium again. Out of the 270+ racers, only 12 finished both laps in the allotted time with everyone pretty tired and depleted of energy after the third day of racing.
Shotgun Hard Enduro results:
For the AMA East Hard Enduro Championships, Presented by IRC Tire, Trystan Hart ended up winning the Pro Class, where Hallie Marks won the Pro Women’s class. The amateur champions were also awarded their AMA Championship plates.
The AMA USHE Series continues on May 23-24 at the Silver Kings Hard Enduro in Kellogg, Idaho. This big mountain race at the Silver Mountain Ski Resort has sold out at 500 entries, and promises an epic event to wrap up the IRC US Hard Enduro Series, Presented by Klim Premier Championship, as well as be the final round of the AMA West Hard Enduro Series, Presented by Beta USA.
For full results: http://www.moto-tally.com/USHE/Results.aspx
More information: www.ushardenduro.com
Photo Credit: Ryan McCasland