The inaugural 2015 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro season came to a close in Union, SC–the location of the first-ever Full Gas Sprint Enduro—with the largest rider turnout in series history with 295 riders from 19 states competing on two special tests laid out on the infamous Big Buck Farm property.
Making his first race appearance of the year, FMF/KTM’s Charlie Mullins proved in the first test that his wrist injuries are finally behind him as he took the test win over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Josh Strang. The surprise of the first test was Georgia-native Evan Smith, taking 3rd-place in the test in his first-ever race as a professional.
Strang would rebound in the second test of the day, the cross test, by taking the win by over 5-seconds ahead of Mullins and setting the tone for the remainder of the first day of racing as the Australian rider would win the remaining 4 tests to end the day with a 23-second lead ahead of Mullins.
Rocky Mountain/KR4/FAR Husqvarna’s Thad DuVall would end the day in 3rd-place in his debut ride on the all-new 2016 Husqvarna FC350. With only a few-minutes on the bike prior to the event, DuVall’s times picked up as the day went on as he and the team made setup changes to get the rider more comfortable on the new bike.
Evan Smith would finish the first day of the two-day event in 4th-place, and Cory Buttrick in his first race back on a KTM rounded out the top-5.
The second day of racing would see the racers tackle the same two special tests but in reverse direction. Racing conditions were nearly perfect with weather in the mid-60s and with plenty of moisture in the red South Carolina dirt the tests began to become rough throughout the day.
Strang would come out swinging in the first test of the day, the enduro test, taking the win by 3-seconds over DuVall and an additional second over Mullins to stretch his lead to 27-seconds in the overall.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider was the first rider to hit the cross test and struggled finding the right lines in the reversed direction and dropped 7-seconds to Mullins who laid down a blistering 4:43.7 test time to Strang’s 4:50.1, DuVall was 2nd with a 4:47.0.
Mullins would stay hot through the next two tests taking both test wins and moving into the lead for the day, and cutting into Strang’s overall lead for the weekend. Strang would rebound in the 5th test of the day on the enduro test, taking the win over Mullins by 7-seconds to reclaim the lead for the day and put a cushion back in his overall lead heading into the final test of the weekend on the cross test, where he would also take the win and clinch his first-ever Full Gas Sprint Enduro overall win.
“This was my last race of 2015 so it was great to close it out with a win,” said Strang. “I don’t think I saw anyone racing without a smile which is awesome, so hats off to everyone who makes this series work,” added the Australian.
“I had a blast getting back into the race swing this weekend,” said Mullins, who hasn’t raced at all in 2015 after series wrist injuries back in 2014 resulted in partial fusions of both wrists. “I felt a lot more comfortable on the 2nd day and was able to win 3-of-6 tests and finish the weekend 2nd-overall; pretty stoked for my first race back!” added Mullins.
“I was a little off on Saturday, but figured it out today and was there all day just a couple of seconds off the lead in a couple tests, said 3rd-place finisher Thad DuVall. “I had a blast keeping Strang and Mullins on their toes today and it proves how good the Husqvarna is right off the showroom floor.”
Evan Smith would finish day two in 4th-place overall, the same as the first day of racing, to secure 4th-place for the weekend in his pro debut. Pennsylvania-native Tegan Temple would climb to 5th-place overall for the weekend in his first race as part of the Beta USA Factory Race Team.
42-year-old former pro motocross racer Billy Schlag would finish the weekend in 9th-place overall and take the top amateur honors and clinch the Open A Class championship for 2015.
Brooke Cosner, in her debut ride on a Bonzi Engines/Morgantown Powersports Yamaha would take the win in the Women’s class ahead of Kendal LaFollette and Brooke Slaughter.
The 2016 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series schedule will be announced soon. An 8-round AMA Championship series is planned starting in February at HRD Motorsports in Gaston, SC followed by a second round in Daytona, FL during Bike Week. Stay tuned to sprintenduro.com for a complete schedule with dates to be released in the next week.
1. Josh Strang – 1:08:17.237
2. Charlie Mullins – 1:08:44.450
3. Thad DuVall – 1:09:11.260
4. Evan Smith – 1:09:55.203
5. Tegan Temple – 1:10:30.203
6. Josh Toth – 1:10:50.964
7. Grant Baylor – 1:11:18.404
8. Sam Evans – 1:11:27.235
9. Billy Schlag – 1:12:25.075
10. Max Tannenbaum – 1:12:39.537