After having his perfect season in the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series spoiled by Daniel Milner at the 3rd round of the series, FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell admitted that he was coming into round four at Rockcrusher Farm on the NC/GA border with one thing on his mind, winning.
Russell was the first to hit the 2.5-mile cross test on Saturday morning and laid down a 5:46.5 test time, with his main rival Milner coming just 2.5-seconds slower seemingly setting the stage for a two-man duel similar to round three just two weeks earlier.
But in just the second test of the day, the enduro test, Russell would open up a commanding lead over Milner after putting down a blistering 7:47.8 test time on the 3.75 woods loop, 12-seconds faster than N-Fab AmPro Yamaha rider, who was also beaten by Bobbitt.
With a 14-second lead after just two tests, Russell could’ve ridden conservatively and not take chances but he continued to push the pace throughout the day winning all six tests and setting his fastest times in the last attempt at both tests for the day.
Milner would get within a second of Kailub in his best effort on the cross test, but would end the day 24-seconds behind the KTM rider and series points leader.
While the Australian seemed to find his groove towards the end of the day of racing, a chance at a 2nd-day win would not be in the cards for Milner as he was hospitalized early Sunday morning for severe stomach pains and kept overnight for observation. Milner was released from the hospital on Sunday afternoon.
RideMPS.com Honda’s Layne Michael, preparing for his first ISDE in September as a Team USA Junior Team member, ended day one in 4th behind Russell, Milner, and Bobbitt. Factory Beta’s Cory Buttrick was 5th with Raines Riding University/Offroadviking.com/Yamaha’s Ricky Russell in 6th.
The battle for top amateur would see Evan Smith and Triston Landrum work their way into the top-10 overall in 7th and 8th respectively, with just 13-seconds separating the two. Max Tannenbaum and Grant Baylor would round out the top-10.
With Milner out for the 2nd day of racing and a podium position opened up, the battle between Russell Bobbitt, Layne Michael, and Ricky Russell for 2nd-fastest on the day was intense. While Kailub Russell would continue his dominance, winning every special test on the day, Bobbitt and Michael’s test times were very close throughout the day with Michael besting the FMF/KTM rider on two-out-of-three attempts at the cross test.
“I’m happy with how I was riding, I felt consistently smooth and was picking good lines all day. I didn’t have any crashes on the first day and just one little one today. Layne and I were going back and forth on the tests today which was really cool and kept it interesting. I just had fun fighting for every second and continuing to chip away and try to catch KR,” said Bobbitt.
“Yesterday I had a couple of crashes that made me lose some time to Russ, but he was riding good all weekend. Overall I had a lot of fun and it’s good training for the Six Days, said 3rd-place overall finisher Layne Michael. “These have been really good training getting me adjusted to the format and I feel really good [heading into the ISDE] I just need to cut down on the little mistakes and I think I’ll do pretty well over there,” added Michael.
Kailub Russell would take the day win with a total time of 40:08.9 with Bobbitt coming in 2nd for the day at 40:45.9 and Michael just 10-seconds behind him. Ricky Russell would continue to improve in only his 2nd-attempt at sprint enduro racing, leap-frogging Cory Buttrick in the overall standings to take 4th overall for the day and the weekend. Buttrick stayed consistent on his Beta 430RR and ended the weekend in 5th-place overall.
“I’ve lost the last two races I’ve done [Full Gas Sprint Enduro Round 3 and National Enduro Round 6] so I was pretty eager to get back to the center of the box,” said overall winner Kailub Russell. “Losing the last Sprint Enduro was pretty frustrating, I thought I had him there at the end and couldn’t pull through and ended up losing by 2.6 seconds. I knew I would have to ride even better today [than day one] to beat him and it’s unfortunate that he got sick and couldn’t make it. But overall I’m happy with how I rode taking all 12 test wins with no falls and making minimal mistakes,” added Russell.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Grant Baylor would end the weekend in 6th-place overall with Evan Smith taking Top Amater honors and 7th-place overall, 40-seconds ahead of his Lites A class competitor Triston Landrum in 8th. Yamaha teammates Ryan Belue and Brad Bakken would round out the top-10.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series will go on a Fall break as many of its riders will be competing in the ISDE in Slovakia and the remaining GNCC and National Enduro rounds. Sprint Enduro racing will resume on November 14-15 at the Big Buck in Union, SC.
1. Kailub Russell – 1:20:24.297
2. Russell Bobbitt – 1:21:48.614
3. Layne Michael – 1:22:22.444
4. Ricky Russell – 1:23:28.688
5. Cory Buttrick – 1:23:34.702
6. Grant Baylor – 1:25:16.873
7. Evan Smith – 1:25:36.397
8. Triston Landrum – 1:26:17.406
9. Ryan Belue – 1:26:40.502
10. Brad Bakken – 1:26:42.513