Kailub Russell wins super-competitive Moccasin Creek Full Gas Sprint Enduro

Russell takes second win on the bounce from Josh Strang at Full Gas Sprint Enduro series – despite heavy weather conditions in Moccasin Creek.

 

Flooding and heavy rains didn’t stop the Moccasin Creek Full Gas Sprint Enduro going ahead or Kailub Russell from taking his second win of the series. 

The Blackshear, Georgia venue was hit hard by bad weather forcing changes to the course for round two of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series. 

Russell turned in an error-free two-day performance that saw him win seven of the 12 tests and finish 19 seconds ahead of second place finisher Josh Strang to claim the overall victory. 

Shorter tests meant shorter test times, which led to extremely competitive races, as riders turned times were closer than usual.  Russell extended his lead in the championship standings with his win, and now sits seven points ahead of Strang (55 to 48), with Josh Toth in third on 41 points.

“It was pretty close racing, but overall it was a pretty uneventful weekend for me,” said Russell. “I didn’t have any mistakes to speak of and I felt pretty good both days.”

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Josh Strang looked strong in his second race aboard the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki. The Aussie off-roader managed a test win on each day: “The times were pretty close between the top five or six guys, so there was little room for mistakes,” said Strang. “Unfortunately, I had a couple of silly ones on Saturday and that was frustrating, but overall the weekend was good.”

Thad DuVall is riding the entire 2019 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro schedule coming into the Georgia race and demonstrated his intentions of being “all in” by taking a test win on Sunday and third overall. 

The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider finished just 13 seconds in second and stayed close to Russell and Strang all weekend. Thad mentioned on his social feed that he had been riding the “struggle bus” on Saturday but got things under control on Sunday to edge out Strang for second on the day. 

 

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FMF KTM’s Josh Toth won the final test of the weekend for fourth overall. The Pennsylvania rider was just nine seconds out of third on Sunday and like DuVall, was able to pick up the pace on the final day of racing. Toth is still adapting to the sprint format but is showing progress with each round. 

Jordan Ashburn made it two Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s in the top five. The Tennessee native obviously is warming up to the new bike after struggling in his debut with the team at round one, his first race on a Japanese bike in a while.

Pro2 class win for Smith

Evan Smith put his Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR FC 250 into sixth place and first overall in the Pro2 class. This is Smith’s second-straight win in the division, although it didn’t come without a struggle. The Georgia rider crashed hard in Saturday’s final test and he and his bike came to rest in a deep mud hole, and he lost valuable time getting back in the race. As a result, Smith finished second on Saturday in the Pro2 class behind Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski, but roared back to take Sunday’s win and first overall for the class.

 

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Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Ben Kelley finished 13 seconds behind Smith to claim seventh overall, while Andrew DeLong put his Phoenix Racing Honda into eighth.

Beta USA teammates Cody Barnes and Mike Witkowski were ninth and 10th respectively. Witkowski lost the momentum he gained from winning Saturday’s Pro2 class when he dislocated his shoulder on Sunday. He reportedly popped the shoulder back in place and was able to finish. Barnes and Witkowski were also second and third overall in the Pro2 class. 

Craig DeLong turned some heads with a stellar performance in the mud on Saturday. The Coastal Racing Husqvarna-backed Pennsylvanian raced a 250 at the first round of the series, but showed up in Georgia on a 350 and came away with a test win on Saturday and finished third for the day. 

“I’m not sure what got into me, but I was riding good,” said DeLong. “Switching to a 350 made a big difference, and I just tried to not over-shoot any turns and be as smooth as I could.” Unfortunately, Craig suffered a shoulder injury and was forced to drop out of Sunday’s round. 

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Tayla Jones clean sweep in Women’s class

In the Women’s Pro division, Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones took the overall win by 48 seconds over MEP MX KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker. Ohio’s Becca Sheets on a Maxxis-sponsored KTM was third, with Shelby Rolen in fourth on a Kawasaki. 

Amazingly, Jones made a clean sweep of the event, winning all 12 tests during the two days of competition. She also holds a 10-point lead over Tricker in the class standings after two rounds. 

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The new Pro-Am class was won by RJ Cook on a KTM, with Brewer Cawley (Yam) and Conner Smith (Hsq) in second and third. This class serves as a stepping-stone for amateur riders to move into the pro classes. 

 

The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on April 6-7 in Greeneville, Tennessee for round three of the series. 

 

For more information: sprintenduro.com

 

Moccasin Creek 2019 overall results:

  1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  2. Josh Strang (KAW)
  3. Tad DuVall (HSQ)
  4. Josh Toth (KTM)
  5. Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
  6. Evan Smith (HSQ)
  7. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  8. Andrew DeLong (HSQ)
  9. Cody Barnes (BET)
  10. Mike Witkowski (BET)

 

 

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Shan Moore
North America Correspondent 
shan@tandenews.com