Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker stepped things up a gear to pull off his second win of the 2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship at round two in South Dakota.
Defending Champion Cody Webb fought for a second place finish on his KTM with Mike Brown (Husqvarna) coming in third on the night. Five-time EnduroCross Champion Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) pulled off with a thumb injury after going down on the first obstacle in the main.
Round two of the 2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship Series headed outdoors for the first time on the regular schedule with a track built in the centre of Brandon, South Dakota’s Badlands Motor Speedway.
Before the main event Taddy Blazusiak started the night show off with serious momentum and earned the first heat win in dramatic fashion with a heated, last lap passing spree with Colton Haaker.
Mike Brown won his heat race, as did eventual runner-up Webb, each gaining valuable championship points (one awarded per heat race win) for the series. These single points may seem small, but they proved critical in 2015’s point’s battle and this year looks to be just as close.
Webb also won the evening Hot Laps—one lap sprint for another bonus point between the top six riders in championship points—giving him a two-point head start on the night.
In the main event, Brown shot out of the gate (positioned on the banked straight of the speedway), grabbing the $500 Nexen Tire Holeshot award. The multi-time AMA champion rode hard to stay up front but RPM KTM Team Maxxis’ Ty Tremaine latched on in second position with Factory FMF KTM’s Cody Webb in third.
SRT-backed Cory Graffunder chased in fourth and Colton Haaker came out of the first few turns in fifth. Quickly, Webb made it around Tremaine and started to focus on gaining ground on Brown. In just a few laps the top battle turned into a Brown-Webb-Haaker mêlée with a nice dose of Tremaine thrown in to keep it interesting.
Webb got around Brown three laps in. By lap five, Haaker moved by Brown and was sitting in second. Just then Webb washed out the front end in a simple corner and Haaker moved easily into the lead. Webb would lose positions to Brown and Tremaine.
From there, Tremaine rode strong, holding off the charging Webb for laps. And this is where the real battles lived for the rest of the main.
Webb, Tremaine and Brown paced each other and battled for the entirety of the second half of the race, each getting the upper hand when the others would make a mistake or fade from fatigue.
Meanwhile, Haaker was checking out up front—riding with aggression but keeping his efforts mistake free. By lap 10, he had a solid lead over the field and seemed uncatchable.
In the final laps, Webb finally made his pass for second place stick over Tremaine and was on Brown. A last-lap pass got him into second with Brown finishing in third.
The win gives Haaker a four-point lead in the series after winning the first two rounds over Webb with Brown in third ten more points back.
“I didn’t get the best jump off the start but I stayed calm in fifth or sixth and not make dumb mistakes like I did in the heat race,” said Haaker.
“A couple laps in I was in a good position in second when Cody went down. From there I felt solid, ran out a few laps that were fast and kept it together to cruise out for the win.”
Webb rode with speed all evening but when the Main Event came, the mistakes kept him from the win.
“I was leading and it felt like I was making little mistakes while I tried to get in my rhythm but just washed out the front end and put myself into fourth,” told Webb.
“I don’t know how many times I tipped over in the woodpile but to come out with second is obviously good. Haaker was able to click off laps and get out there. I have the speed but I just need to put it together.”
Mike Brown grabbed the Holeshot and jumped on the podium for the first time in 2016…
“The start was the main thing tonight to get in front of some guys and get through the rocks every lap. When you get the start it always gives you an extra boost. I know I don’t have 15 fast laps in me as I haven’t been riding much so I’m happy with myself after the third week of riding in seven months.”
Ty Tremaine held on to finish fourth with another fast youngster busting into the top five—Noah Kepple.
Canadian Trystan hart rode hard to sixth and Cory Graffunder held on for seventh. Nick Thompson, Max Gerston and Ty Cullins rounded out the top ten.
Morgan Tanke took the exciting Women’s Class win over Shelby Turner and Rachel Gutish.
Photos: Ian Reid
2016 South Dakota AMA EnduroCross Results
1. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
2. Cody Webb, KTM
3. Mike Brown, Husqvarna
4. Ty Tremaine, KTM
5. Noah Kepple, KTM
6. Tyrstan Hart, Husqvarna
7. Cory Graffunder, KTM
8. Nick Thompson, KTM
9. Max Gerston, Beta
10. Ty Cullins Beta
EnduroCross events also include three support classes. Spenser Wilton took the win in the amateur class over Giuliano Rolandi and Cody Miller. In the Vet class, David Stirm took the main event win over Dan Hayakawa and Wayne Dickert.
The series will pack eight races into twelve weeks with round three returning to Salt Lake City, Utah and the Vivint Smart Home Arena next weekend (September 10th). Tickets are available and pit access is always free. Get your tickets at: www.EnduroCross.com/buy-tickets/
The insane EnduroCross obstacles provide a great show and exciting racing for race fans. So if you have never been to an AMA EnduroCross in person, you need to put one on your calendar for 2016.
All eight rounds of the 2016 AMA EnduroCross series will air on the CBS Sports Network for the second consecutive year. For CBS Sports Network broadcast information, please visit www.cbssportsnetwork.com
And if you want to tackle an EnduroCross course yourself, there are classes for Amateur, Vet, Women and TrialsCross riders. All of those support class main events run as part of the night show so it is your chance to compete in front of a large crowd. And there is nothing more challenging than tackling an EnduroCross course.
Racers can enter here: https://secure.tracksideonlineresults.com/mmsx_ex/
As an added bonus for pre-registering, racers will receive a $10 Gift Card from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.
For more information, please visit www.EnduroCross.com
2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship Schedule
Date - Location - Arena / Additional Information
August 27, 2016 - Duluth, Georgia - Infinite Energy Center
September 3, 2016 - Brandon, South Dakota - Badlands Motor Speedway
September 10, 2016 - Salt Lake City, Utah - Vivint Smart Home Arena
September 24, 2016 - Scottsdale, Arizona - WestWorld – Intl Off-Road & UTV Expo
October 1, 2016 - Denver, Colorado - National Western Events Center
October 22, 2016 - Everett, Washington - XFINITY Arena
November 5, 2016 - Nampa, Idaho - Ford Idaho Center
November 18-19, 2016 - Ontario, California - Citizens Business Bank Arena
* Subject to change