Rattlesnake National Enduro: First Win of the Season for Steward Baylor at NEPG Rnd6
Steward Baylor takes his first win of the season at the 2023 Rattlesnake National Enduro, round six of the NEPG series in Pennsylvania, bettering his brother Grant and Josh Toth for the overall podium.
Racers that came to the rocky and fern-infested forest of central Pennsylvania for the Rattlesnake National Enduro and met with near perfect conditions for the 2023 Rattlesnake National Enduro. Round six of nine for the Magna 1 AMA National Enduro Series Presented by Moose Racing saw a first-time winner, first time this season that is as Steward Baylor grabbed his first win of the season.
Starting on the traditional grass track held on the Quiet Oaks Campground property, PA native Craig Delong took the early lead. But Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Tely Energy Racing KTM rider Steward Baylor then went on an impressive run winning tests two through five to win his fourth time at the Rattlensake.
“We did a lot of tyre testing all week and ended up with a trials tyres like we always run here.” Explained Stew. “I think the last seven winners here used a trials tyre so that’s what we did.” Tests two and three seemed to be rockier than most years and Steward attributed the trials tire for test wins today. “I have not gone this long in National Enduros without a win since I started these things, as long as I had my leg over a bike anyway. A win sure does feel nice.”
Second but Grant extends points lead
Grabbing a second place overall finish was younger Baylor brother and Babbitts/Monster Energy Kawasaki Rider Grant who hovered between second and fourth place all day before finally throwing down the fastest time in the final test – the longest of the day at nine miles.
“I just tried to have a smooth day here. I know the rocks can jump out and get you as they have to me several times here in the past.” Said Grant. Going into the last test Grant Baylor and Josh Toth were separated by 0.5 seconds. “Josh and I had a good battle going all day. I knew we were within a couple seconds going into the last test so I let it all hang out there and was able to come away with a second place and extended the points lead, so all in all it was a good day.”
“It seems like there is no dirt out there, just rocks”
Third place overall was Enduro Engineering GASGAS rider Josh Toth. Josh has been grabbing all kinds of podium finishes on two wheels lately. Winning Downhill Mountain Bike races leading up to podiums on the dirt bike and in the National Enduro Series.
Josh is typically a threat when it comes to more technical terrain like the Rattlesnake is, so a podium here is no surprise. “It was a tough day with the course being relentless. They were saying it was a little rockier than years past and I think it might be.” Said Toth. “It seems like there is no dirt out there, just rocks, there is no breaks out there.” Josh continues to sit in second overall in the championship points.
Fourth overall on the day was Factory Husqvarna rider Craig Delong ahead of Coastal Racing Factory GASGAS rider Ryder Lafferty and Am Pro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell in sixth.
Rattlesnake podium interviews
Top 100 to Pro 2 win for Thorn Devlin
Seventh overall and first in the NE PRO2 rider at the Rattlesnake was Bonecutter Offroad GASGAS rider Thorn Devlin but it was against the odds after the first test. A half mile into the first test, shortly into the grass track portion, Thornss rear tyre came off the rim completely meaning he had to ride part of the section on just the rim with the tyre wrapped up in the swingarm.
Thorn was nearly outside the top 100 overall going into the second test and started chipping away the time behind the leaders in the NE PRO2 class. Thorn said “I was about a half mile in and I came around a corner and I was on the ground before I knew it. I looked down and saw the rear tyre [had] spit off the rim. I rode three miles of the test with no rear tyre and it was sketchy at times. I knew I had to salvage the time I could and then throw it down in the rocks.” Thorn was indeed able to throw it down in the rocks and went on to win three of the remaining five tests including the sixth and final one to finally come away as the PRO2 winner.
Factory Beta Rider Evan Smith from the NE PRO1 Class came away with eigth overall ahead of Hunter Bush claiming his first NE PRO2 podium and 9th overall. Hunter is a local ECEA enduro rider, avid NE PRO2 National Enduro racer and lives only about 2.5 hours from Cross Forks, PA where this event is held. “I really like this type of terrain and I ride this stuff at home all the time. Finishing on the podium was a surprise today, but it feels awesome.” Said Hunter whose previous best finish was fourth.
Wrapping up the top 10 overall and the 3rd Podium spot in the NE PRO2 class was Factory Beta Rider Jonathan Johnson.
Easy win for Gutish on the rocks
Taking top honors in the Women’s Elite Class was Rachel Gutish on her OverandOut GASGAS. With a stack of hard enduro experience, Rachel is always tough to beat of rocky technical terrain and she proved that again winning by over three and a half minutes. “I thought there was top soil here and I thought wrong.” Said Gutish. “I really like the technical stuff so the course suited me well here. I didn’t feel like I set the world on fire today, but I was just smooth.”
Championship leader by five points now, Enduro Engineering GASGAS rider Mackenzie Tricker took home second place in the Women’s Elite Class. “Not a record day for me today. I am not typically a good rock rider and it was tough.” Said Tricker. “I am looking forward to the next two races as they are my favorites and I am definitely sitting in a better spot this year than last year at this point.”
Another new face to the Pro Podiums was Cate Nash with third place in the Women’s Elite class. Cate is also local to the area and wanted to give the National Enduros a try. “This is my first time here and I absolutely loved it. Tests two and three were tough and I crashed a bit. But then I put my head down to tried to make up time in test four and five.” Cate added.
Top Amateur rider at the Rattlesnake National Enduro was AA rider Justin Lafferty.
2023 Rattlesnake Enduro overall results (top 20):
The Magna 1 AMA National Enduro Series takes the month of August off before returning to racing on September 10 in Wellston, OH for the Little Raccoon National Enduro. Three rounds remain in the 2023 Season.
More information: www.nationalenduro.com
Words Credit: Logan Densmore
Photo Credit: Mack Faint