The seventh and penultimate round of the 2016 KENDA Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing saw Josh Strang take his 3rd overall win of the year with an impressive nine test wins over two days of racing.
The first test of the weekend was a very flowing and “European-style” grass track test and it was no surprise when Australian ISDE-veteran Josh Strang put down a blistering 5:09.964 test time to take a 6-second lead ahead of Rocky Mountain MC/ATV/KR4 Performance/Arrive-n-Ride Husqvarna’s Thad DuVall, who finished with a 5:15.903. Factory FMF/KTM racer Russell Bobbitt was 3rd with a 5:18.807. Setting up what would be a weekend-long podium battle, SRT Off-Road’s Cory Buttrick finished just .001 behind Bobbitt with Coastal Racing’s Layne Michael another .100 behind them. Visiting from Sweden just for the weekend’s Full Gas Race, Jesper Berjesson finished another second back in 6th aboard his KR4 Arrive-n-Ride Husqvarna.
After winning the first test, Strang was first into the 3.5-mile enduro test and again he took the test win ahead of DuVall, but the margin was much closer with only a 1-second difference between the two.
Strang would continue his winning ways through the next three tests, winning the cross tests by as much as 9-seconds over DuVall and by smaller margins in the enduro tests where the American ISDE Trophy Team member shined and where he ultimately took his lone test win of the day in the final enduro test, just .6 of a second ahead of Strang.
With five test wins on the day, Strang headed into the second day of racing with a 24-second lead over DuVall with Layne Michael another 38-seconds back. With Bobbitt only 2-seconds behind Michael, and Buttrick another 2-seconds back, a tight battle was brewing for the final podium spot heading into day two of the event.
For the second day of racing there were two new challenges facing the riders: both of the special tests had their direction reversed, and extremely dry conditions that forced the promoter to extend the start time gap from 15 to 20-seconds to ensure better visibility for the racers. The reversed track directions, however, didn’t seem to change the results, as grass track expert Strang padded his lead by four additional seconds with the first test win on Sunday and followed that up with the first enduro test win as well, helping to build a lead that Thad DuVall would be unable to overcome despite taking the final two enduro test wins of the weekend.
“It ended up being more dry than I thought it would be, but it was good for me because I started first today so I didn’t have any dust,” said Strang, who ended up winning all six cross tests for the weekend. “The lines I picked out there just ended up working better, especially when it got silty and dusty—I could get off that slippery stuff and into the grass where I still had traction.”
After two big crashes at the sixth round of the series, championship points leader DuVall made it through the weekend mistake-free and kept his championship points lead intact. “The goal coming in this weekend was to stay off the ground and I didn’t crash once so I’m stoked!” said Duvall. “We’ve got one round left and hopefully I can win the championship,” he added.
Round 6 overall winner, Cory Buttrick, made a valiant run at the podium beating both Layne Michael and Russell Bobbitt in three of the first four tests on Sunday, but ultimately fell short of the podium after Michael put down a blistering final enduro test while under pressure to secure 3rd-place overall. Buttrick would end the weekend fourth with Bobbitt falling back to fifth after starting the 2nd day of racing in 4th-place.
“We went into the last test and I had 6-seconds on Cory and Russ was just another two back so I just wanted to stay mistake free, but it ended up being my best test of the day,” said Michael. “I’m really happy with how I rode the last two tests, I wish I could’ve done that all weekend, but we still ended up 3rd and I’m happy with the podium.”
The 7th round also served as Youth Appreciation Weekend with all youth riders receiving free race entries. Tyler Sylvia took the Supermini 12-15 win as well as the Youth Overall for the weekend ahead of Kole Jenkins and Ty Callaway.
The Top Amateur spot went to Open A winner Zac Brown, who also finished 9th-overall. Open A points leader, Billy Schlag finished 2nd behind Brown and rounded out the top-ten overall for the weekend.
The KENDA Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series goes on a break until November 12-13 where its final round will take place in Union, SC at the Big Buck Farm. Online pre-entries will open September 1st for the event that was a sellout in 2015.
1. Josh Strang – HSQ – 1:12:29.272
2. Thad DuVall – HSQ – 1:13:07.003
3. Layne Michael – HSQ – 1:14:01.830
4. Cory Buttrick – KTM – 1:14:13.213
5. Russell Bobbitt – KTM – 1:14:19.274
6. Grant Baylor – YAM – 1:14:50.851
7. Jesper Berjesson – HSQ – 1:14:58.646
8. Drew Higgins – KTM – 1:15:37.959
9. Zac Brown – KTM – 1:16:30.075
10. Billy Schlag – KTM – 1:16:34.855
For complete results visit results.sprintenduro.com.