After a six week break in racing action the KENDA Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing, an AMA Championship, headed North from the sands of Florida to the hills and rocks of West Virginia for its third round of the series presented by Ride on Moto. The event would also serve as the East Coast AMA ISDE Qualifier for riders looking to compete on club teams at this year’s ISDE in Spain.
Two ISDE-style special tests were put together on the 600-acre Boyer Farm property; the first, a 2.5-mile flowing grass track Cross test that was called very “European” in style by many racers throughout the weekend. The second test was a 4.5 mile Enduro test that traversed up and down the many hills on the property with plenty of rocks to keep all riders on their toes.
Series points leader, and winner of the first two rounds of the series, Daniel Milner was the first pro rider to hit the cross test and put down a blistering time of 5:26.952 on the fresh grass. It looked as though Milner would get the first test win as rivals Thad DuVall and Layne Michael who started shortly after Milner finished with a 5:37.321 and a 5:28.321.
But Ryan Sipes, who started 11th, came through to beat Milner’s time by .610 and take the first test win. Former pro motocross racer Broc Hepler rounded out the top-5 and was the fastest LOI (Letter of Intent riders attempting to qualify for ISDE) on his US GasGas machine.
The second test of the day was the enduro test, with Milner starting first, and Michael taking off 15-seconds behind him. The Coastal Racing Husqvarna of Michael could be seen well within the 15-second gap he started behind Milner as they worked their way through the rocky and technical terrain.
At the scoring line it would be the West Virginia-native taking the win by 5.792 seconds over Milner with a 9:54.793. Another West Virginian, Thad DuVall, was 3rd with a 10:01, Evan Smith finished the test 4th, and Josh Toth from Connecticut was 5th and first in LOI.
Ryan Sipes, last year’s ISDE Overall Winner, would show his grass track skills are sharp with a 2nd win on the cross test with an advantage of 3.25 over Milner, with Thad DuVall another 5-seconds back in 3rd.
Sam Evans would put his Yamaha into 4th-place, his best test finish of the weekend with Layne Michael rounding out the top-5 with a 5:34.44, 11-seconds back of Sipes and 8-seconds behind Milner. Unfortunately, Sipes would suffer a hand injury in the final enduro test and not be able to compete in the second day of racing.
The time gaps between Milner and Michael’s cross test and enduro test results would setup the showdown for the rest of the weekend as Milner would go on to win the one remaining cross test on day one as well as sweeping all three cross test wins on day two.
Trail Jester’s team member and LOI leader, Josh Toth, would take the 2nd enduro test win of the weekend ahead of Thad DuVall and Layne Michael. Milner, would drop 15-seconds to Michael on that test, and then another 29-seconds on the final attempt at the enduro test for the first day of racing ultimately giving Michael a 31-second advantage heading into the 2nd day of racing.
With trail conditions becoming increasingly gnarly with more and more rocks becoming exposed, a few small trail changes were made for the 2nd day of racing to try and slow down some of the faster sections of the course. The changes, however, did not bring much change in the results as overall leader Layne Michael won two of the three enduro tests with Thad DuVall, who started the day in 3rd-place overall taking the other test win.
After two days and 12 special tests of racing, Layne Michael would take his first-ever Full Gas Sprint Enduro win with a total time of 1:33:17.838 ahead of Daniel Milner with a 1:34:01.806, Thad DuVall would round out the podium 20-seconds behind Milner. Josh Toth would finish the weekend 4th overall and the first LOI rider, SRT Off-Road’s Cory Buttrick would round out the top-five.
“The enduro test didn’t suit me, that’s for sure. The cross test was awesome, though. It was more euro and I really enjoyed that,” said Milner who took 4 out of 6 Cross Test wins on the weekend. “Congrats to Layne on the win, I had nothing for him in the Enduro test, that’s for sure,” added the AmPro Yamaha racer.
“I knew Milner was going to be good in the Cross Test and I felt really comfortable in the Enduro Test. I knew if I could just try and manage [the time loss] from Milner in the Cross Test and try and make it up plus a little on the Enduro Test and we were able to do that,” said overall winner, Layne Michael.
In the Women’s Pro class the storyline for the win was very similar to that of the men’s pro race with BONZI/MPS Yamaha’s Brooke Cosner taking all of the enduro test wins and RPM KTM’s Rachel Gutish winning all of the weekend’s cross tests. With the enduro test’s longer times Cosner would eventually take the overall win, even with Gutish winning the overall for the 2nd day, Shawn Davidson would round out the podium ahead of Mandi Mastin and Nicole Bradford.
Billy Schlag would take the Open A win by just six-seconds over Argentinian Luciano Benavides to claim the top Amateur spot with an impressive 11th-overall.
Peyton Whipkey put in a dominating performance in the youth race to take both the youth overall as well as the 85cc 12-15 class win.
The KENDA Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series will resume on June 4-5 in Altamont, TN. Pre-registration will open for that event on May 2nd at 8:00am on LiveLaps.com.
Layne Michael – Husqvarna – 1:33:17.828
Daniel Milner – Yamaha – 1:34:01.806
Thad DuVall – Husqvarna – 1:34:22.323
Josh Toth – KTM – 1:35:00.162
Cory Buttrick – KTM – 1:36:13.938
Broc Hepler – GasGas – 1:36:33.015
Sam Evans – Yamaha – 1:36:58.708
Jason Klammer – KTM – 1:37:38.743
Craig DeLong – Husqvarna – 1:37:54.423
For complete results visit: http://www.mylaps.com/en/events/1255339
Photos: Shan Moore