A slow start but strong finish brings the results for Grant Baylor at the Cajun National Enduro, round three of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Forest Hill, Louisiana.
Tely Energy Racing’s Baylor got off to a late start in the National Enduro 2019 series due to an injury but has made up for lost time with the win at Forest Hill.
After beginning the day down in fifth on the opening test, somewhere between tests two and three the South Carolina rider found inspiration and won the remaining four tests, beating out his brother and team-mate Steward Baylor by 56 seconds. Gnarly Routes KTM’s Russell Bobbitt was third, another 23 seconds back.
“The race started out a little slow for me,” said Grant. “I think I was just a little nervous and overthinking everything so I ended up beating myself - just making too many mistakes. We picked it up in the third test, I think I won it, and I got into the overall after four tests. In Florida I wasn’t really 100%. I would say I was more like 70%. This weekend I’d say I’m closer to 95%. Still not 100, but we’re getting there. It’s awesome to be back up in the center of the box.”
Like his brother, Steward Baylor started slow. However, he wasn’t able to recover like Grant did and ultimately finished second.
“I just had a slow start,” said Steward. “I made a few mistakes, and got turned around a couple times. I think the last three tests I rode really well, I just couldn’t do anything with Grant going into the last test. I knew I had moved into a solid second place, so I just tried not to make any mistakes.”
Bobbitt, on the other hand, got off to a great start, winning the first two tests. But as Steward and Grant were picking up the pace (test three), Bobbitt maintained.
“It was awesome getting a couple test wins right from the beginning,” said Bobbitt. “That just makes the rest of the day almost feel easier just because you feel so confident. I was not making mistakes really (in the last four tests), but I wasn’t really flowing super great, either. But then everyone else just kind of elevated their game throughout the day and I just maintained. It came down to the last test. I was down a little bit on Stew, and then Evan (Smith) and I had a real tight battle again, just like at Gator. I think he had a little crash, so I was able to capitalize.”
Husqvarna/ Max Motorsports/FXR Racing’s Evan Smith battled for third with Bobbitt during the final three tests, and came up just short when he crashed in the final test.
“I really wanted to beat Russ and I was just pushing too hard,” said Smith.
GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin raced a 300 two-stroke (XC 300) for the first time and came away with fifth overall.
“We did a bunch of testing this week on the 300 and we came into the day with just intentions of riding the motorcycle and not worrying about the score,” said Devlin. “Every time you come in you check your tests and everything. We didn’t check any tests. I actually left my phone here and we just rode. Didn’t talk about tests. Didn’t talk about winning. It felt so good.”
Beta USA teammates Cody Barnes and Mike Witkowski finished sixth and seventh overall. Barnes’ finish was good enough for first in the NEPro2 class.
“I won the first test and made some mistakes in the second,” said Barnes. “Overall the day was good. Didn’t make too many mistakes. I think only two crashes. I was pretty good throughout with limiting mistakes and stuff.”
Former pro trials rider GasGas rider Ron Commo III balanced his way to ninth overall. Meanwhile, former national winner Cory Buttrick returned to the national enduro series after a long hiatus and brought his XC Gear/Enduro Engineering/Husqvarna in for 10th.
Tricker pulls the pin for Women’s win
Mackenzie Tricker (KTM) was down 36 second to defending series champ Tayla Jones (Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna/Moose Husqvarna) going into the final test, but put in an amazing ride that gave the Mepmx/Fly/Grizzly Peak/Traveler’s Rest Speedway/KTM rider the win in the Women’s Elite class.
“I knew it would be tough but I went into the last test with the aim of winning, and it was my best test of the day,” said Tricker. “I think Tayla had a few issues, but it was a hard-fought win and I’m very pleased.”
Jones finished second 46 seconds behind Tricker, with Am Pro Yamaha’s Rachel Archer in third, another 17 seconds behind Jones.
Cajun Classic National Enduro 2019 results:
- Grant Baylor (KTM)
- Steward Baylor (KTM)
- Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
- Evan Smith (Hsq)
- Thorn Devlin (GG)
- Cody Barnes (Bet)
- Mike Witkowski (Bet)
- Liam Draper (Hsq)
- Ron Commo III (GG)
- Cory Buttrick (Hsq)
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series returns to action on June 9 at the Cherokee National Enduro in Greensboro, Georgia.
More information: nationalenduro.com
Shan MooreNorth America Correspondantshan@tandenews.com