Reigning US Hard Enduro Champion Trystan Hart got off to a winning start in the 2023 series with victory at round one, the King of Motos festival in Johnson Valley taking victory ahead of a wayward Cody Webb.

After taking a year off, the 2023 SRT King of the Motos returned as part of the mammoth, three-week long King of the Hammers event in Johnson Valley, California. The GPS-based hard enduro event has been around since 2012, and this year it kicked off the seasons for both the main US Hard Enduro Series, and the AMA West series.

A record 175 riders entered to race this challenging event, which included Youth Lites riders as young as 13 years old and adults in their 60s. Promoter Justin Leineweiber pitched a 30 mile course of endless rocks embedded in sand, which either went up or down steep desert mountains with the GPS paying an important role all along. It’s simple, except it wasn’t simple at all!


Busy Saturday...

Race day one consisted of a one-lap prologue to determine starting position for race one in the afternoon – a 12 mile, one-lap race around a mountain range. The Prologue was only about two miles and started all racers one at a time out of the Hammertown short course. Will Riordan of RPM KTM Racing Team was the fastest around this course by nine seconds, against a stacked field of the best hard enduro athletes in North America.

Saturday afternoon saw race one kick off with a land-rush start up a rocky hill, creating instant chaos for the multiple rows leaving 30 seconds apart. FactoryONE Sherco’s Cody Webb was the initial leader but dropped off a slab hard and flattened his exhaust, affecting the rest of his race.

Trystan Hart took up the race lead on the FMF KTM, quickly separating himself from the rest of the field on the steep switchback climbs and slick rock slabs. Hart maintained his lead,  stretching away to finish first with four minutes over Will Riordan.


Webb finished in third place two seconds behind Riordan but only after having to do a u-turn back to a missed checkpoint – otherwise he’d have been a P2. Cooper Abbott and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Ryder LeBlond finished within 10 seconds of Webb.

Colton Haaker, the 2017 King of the Motos winner, had a sizable crash that pushed him back to a 10th place. In the Pro Women’s class, Kylee Sweeten was the only female to make it to the finish line in the three hour time period. Over 70 amateurs made it through the finish in time, whereas the rest were scored based on their checkpoint times.

Navigation errors cost Webb

Sunday’s race two was the final race of the weekend and consisted of two different GPS laps and again starting in rows of 30 racers, all lined up at the bottom of “Chocolate Thunder” with a big crowd of spectators standing above them and a livestream broadcast that was being watched by thousands of people around the world.

Colton Haaker led the first row of racers through Chocolate Thunder, which had changed from previous years and showed no easy line through the rock gardens. The following rows began to clog up at the first rock garden, and became a traffic jam for the next 20 minutes. Similar to the previous day, the front pack was led by Trystan Hart and Cody Webb, setting a pace that was impossible to match by anyone else.

In the first 11 minutes of the race at Checkpoint 1, Hart and Webb already had a 45 second lead over Ryder LeBlond. This course consisted of two challenging laps around existing King of the Hammers trails and some new trails with the first lap being shorter.

On the second lap they raced an additional, more difficult section and Webb began to catch up to Hart, staying about a minute behind as they picked their way through the lappers. Another GPS error led Webb off-course though allowing Hart to break free and win in 1 hour 44 minutes, with Webb 10 minutes back after the errors. LeBlond finished third, five minutes behind, with Riordan and Haaker not far behind.

This was Hart’s second consecutive King of the Motos victory, continueing his dominance in the US series after an impressive 2022 season.

Overall Sunday (race 2) race results:


Sweet win for Sweeton in Pro Women

In the Pro Women class, Kylee Sweeten won the race over Hallie Marks and Bailey Lerwill, as all three made it to the final checkpoint on the second lap. 59 racers ended up completing both laps within the six hour time limit, with many amateurs staying out on the course for the entire duration of the race.


The 2023 US Hard Enduro series next takes “a limited number of racers” to the North Shore of Oahu to race the IRC Endurofest-Hawaii in March.


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Photo Credit: Ryan McCasland + Banta Visuals