Photo Credit: Darrin Chapman
Jordan Ashburn used consistency and speed to grabbed his first major victory as a pro at the Crow Canyon Full Gas Sprint Enduro – round four of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series presented by PRI Powersports Insurance in Uhrichsville, Ohio.
Despite not winning a test all day on Sunday, the Beta USA rider capitalized on two test wins on Saturday plus consistent top three finishes in the remaining tests to edge SRT Racing’s Steward Baylor by less than a second for the overall win.
Ashburn has been close before, but in Ohio the Tennessee native put it all together.
“It feels great to finally get that first win,” said Ashburn. “I was just consistent all weekend and my times on Sunday were pretty much the same as my times on Saturday.”
Ashburn showed his diversity On Saturday by winning a Cross test and an Enduro test - the first and last tests of the day. Meanwhile, Baylor and Lunova Group Husqvarna’s Broc Hepler shared the love by each winning two tests of their own, with Hepler winning two Cross tests and Baylor winning a pair of Enduro tests.
Photo Credit: Darrin Chapman
Though Ashburn completed Saturday’s event with the fasted accumulated time, Baylor was in the hunt and might have finished with the fastest time had he not taken a hard tumble in the final test.
“I was coming out of the woods and there was a turn with a jump in it and I just lost my grip and went down,” said Baylor. “I made it just fine the first two times through so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem on the third one, but that wound up costing me a lot of time.”
Hepler, a former pro motocross champion, had a prior commitment to ride a local race on Sunday but wanted to give the Ohio Full Gas round a try on Saturday to see how he stacked up against the series regulars.
“I wanted to see how I compared to those guys and I’ve been riding a 450 Husky so I wanted to see how it did on the grass track,” said Hepler. “They had a really lush grass track similar to ISDE and I felt really good in those.”
Hepler wasn’t far off the mark in the Enduro tests, as well.
“I was actually pleased with my times in the Enduro test,” said Hepler. “I was just three-and-a-half seconds off Ashburn at the end of the day, so I was pleased with that.”
Cory Buttrick was a bit off the pace on Saturday and came away with the fourth-fastest overall time, while Georgia’s Evan Smith rounded out the top five on a KTM.
Photo Credit: Darrin Chapman
On Sunday, Buttrick caught fire and won four of the five tests (the final test of the day was canceled due to lightening in the area), giving him the top time for the day. The only test Buttrick didn’t win was the final Enduro test, which was won by Baylor. At the end of the day, Buttrick finished five seconds ahead of Baylor for the day, and moved from fourth to third in the final overall standings.
“I just dug too big of a hole on Saturday,” said Buttrick. “I don’t know what I was doing yesterday, but what ever it was I figured it out today and everything was just clicking.”
In addition to his win in the Enduro test on Sunday, Baylor took two seconds and two thirds in the remaining tests, however, it was not quite enough to give him the overall win.
“I had the speed all weekend, but I just had too many crashes and that cost me,” said Baylor. “It’s definitely frustrating to lose by less than a second.”
Ashburn finished third on Sunday, 15 seconds ahead of Evan Smith, with Connecticut extreme racer Ben Kelley rounding out the top five.
With the two days times combined, Ashburn came away with the overall win with an elapsed time of 1:14:23.174, .03 second ahead of Baylor’s 1:14:24.144, with Buttrick coming on hard on Sunday to nab the final podium position at 1:14:37.818.
Smith was fourth with a total time of 1:15:39.345, beating out Kelley’s 1:16:49.996 by just about 10 seconds.
With his win, Ashburn maintains a solid third in the standings, while Baylor moves ahead of Sipes for the lead in the series standings with his runner-up finish. After four rounds, Baylor has 198 points, followed by Sipes with 175. Ashburn is third at 166, while Buttrick (159) and Jesper Borjesson (117) round out the top five.
“It was a good battle all weekend between me, Steward and Buttrick,” said Ashburn. “The Enduro test was slick because of the roots in it and the Cross test was a bit dusty and I think I did best in the Cross test but I won one of each. I just had good rides in those tests.”
AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna’s Tyler Vore posted a time of 00:34:45.895 to beat out Billy Schlag for the Open A division win and top amateur honors. Schlag turned in a 00:35:11.631 for the two days. Meanwhile, Cody Pingley was third in Open A with 0:35:52.802.
In the Women’s Pro division, KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones topped Bonanza Plumbing’s Mackenzie Tricker for the top slot. Jones dominated Saturday’s event, winning all six tests. On Sunday, Tricker won the first two Cross tests, but Jones was able to win the remaining tests.
“It was a good weekend, I was getting top 12s overall,” said Jones. “I had one crash on Sunday that cost me about 10 seconds but other than that it was all good.”
Jones has won three of the four rounds to date and sits comfortably atop the class standings.
The 2017 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes on July 8-9 for the Hillbilly Sprint Enduro, round five of the series in Rural Retreat, Virginia. For more information on the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series check out www.sprintenduro.com.
RESULTS - OVERALL
1. Jordan Ashburn (Bet) 1:14:23.174
2. Steward Baylor (KTM) 1:14:24.144
3. Cory Buttrick (KTM) 1:14:37.818
4. Evan Smith (KTM) 1:15:39.345
5. Ben Kelley (KTM) 1:16:49.996
6. Broc Hepler (Hsq) 1:41:11.621
Shan MooreUS Contributorshan@tandenews.com