Bristol, VA (April 29, 2018) – It was a close one, but Ryan Sipes pulled out the overall win at the Harleywood Sprint Enduro, round two of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series prestned by PRI Powersports Insurance, in Bristol, Virginia, edging Tely Energy Racing’s Grant Baylor by a mere 1.5 seconds for the victory.
A large crowd turned out for the Harleywood event, as Sipes showed his dominance once again on the Cross test. At the conclusion of two days of racing and 12 tests, the former Supercross star won all six of the Cross tests on his Rockstar/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna. At the series opener in Georgia, back in February, Sipes was able to suppliment his Cross test wins by running a fast enough pace in the Enduro tests to carry the win. That almost didn’t work in Virginia, as Grant Baylor managed to win just enough of the Enduro tests (3) and stay consistent enough on the grass track to give Sipes a run for his money. A pair of sixths in the Enduro test almost cost Sipes the overall.
On Saturday, the Kentucky rider was winning the Cross test by 5-7 seconds. On Sunday, when the course was much drier (and ran backwards), he was winning the Cross test by an even larger margin of 11-12 seconds.
Despite Sipes’ speed in the old school motocross style cross test, Grant Baylor managed to beat Sipes to win Saturday’s event by less than a second. On Sunday, Sipes was able to build a 14-second advantage throughout the day over Baylor. However, a couple of mistakes wiped all but 1.5 seconds of that lead away, and Sipes escaped by the skin of his teeth to claim his second win in a row in 2018.
“I made way too many mistakes in that last test,” said Sipes. “It was an emotional rollercoaster for me this weekend. I would kill ‘em in the Cross test, and then they would get me back in the Enduro test. I was a little upset about Sunday’s race, losing eight seconds in the last test. But overall, it was a good weekend. I’ve got two overall wins in two races and I think I’m getting better in the Enduro tests with every race.”
Grant Baylor claimed his best finish in the series with the win on Saturday and second overall for the weekend. Fresh off of a surgery for a broken a bone in his hand from just over two weeks ago, Baylor said after the race that the injury wasn’t a factor.
“I got off to a slow start, but I picked up the pace starting with the second Cross test,” said Grant. “I won the Enduro test twice on Saturday and I was second in the Cross test, and that was enough to take the win for the day. I started off struggling on Sunday, and I was making mental mistakes, but I managed to get it together for the final few tests and I think Ryan had a problem in that last one, which made it close. He had a good lead on me in that last test, but I knew I could beat him. I figured he would back it off a little since he had a big lead, but I came up just short, but I’m happy with second overall.”
Josh Strang made the podium for the second race in a row with a third overall. Strang started strong with a second in the opening Cross test, followed by a win in the Enduro test. However, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider crashed in the final Enduro test on Saturday, which cost him valuable time, and perhaps a chance at the win.
“It really dried up a ton from Saturday, so the track ended up being slick,” said Strang. “We were all pretty close in the Enduro test, but it was just a bit unsettling in places. Sipes just destroyed us in the Cross test. I felt like I was riding well, but I was getting seconds and thirds. Overall, it was a good weekend, but I need to work on a few things before the next round.”
Layne Michael made a great showing in Virginia, winning one of the Enduro tests and grabbing four seconds and a third in others en route to fourth overall. The KR4 Husqvarna rider was just three seconds off of the podium behind Strang.
Rounding out the top five was Steward Baylor. The Tely Energy Racing KTM rider struggled on Saturday, never finishing higher than fourth in any of the tests. On Sunday, Steward was sixth fastest in the first test, but then seemed to catch fire with a pair of seconds, followed by a win in the Enduro test. The South Carolina native finished up with a third and a second in the final two tests to claim fifth overall.
Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn scored a second on Saturday and another on Sunday en route to sixth overall. However, a pair of sixths and a couple of seventh place tests doomed the Tennessee rider.
Evan Smith brought his SRT Racing KTM in at seventh overall, while KR4 Husqvarna’s Liam Draper finished eighth overall and first Pro2 rider.
Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski was ninth, followed by KTM-mounted JoJo Bowden in 10th. Bowden’s finish was also good enough for second in the Pro2 division.
KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones took the win in the Women’s Pro division, finishing 42 seconds ahead of Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker. After two days of racing, Jones won nine tests, while Tricker topped three. Becca Sheets took third on her FLY/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM by just 8-seconds over Yamaha-mounted Brooke Cosner, who was 3rd in Women’s Pro after Saturday’s racing. Suzuki-mounted Shelby Rolen rounded out the top five.
Conner Smith topped the Open A class with a 13th overall finish and took Top Amateur honors. Meanwhile Jason Tino was best in the Lites A division with a 17th overall finish.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes on May 19-20 with round three of the series at Lake Suger Tree Raceway in Axton, Virginia. For more information on the series go to sprintenduro.com.
|1||264||Ryan Sipes||Pro (1)||Ekron, KY||12||01:19:50.151|
|2||14||Grant Baylor||Pro (2)||Belton, SC||12||01:19:51.698|
|3||114||Joshua Strang||Pro (3)||Denver, NC||12||01:20:11.487|
|4||23||Layne Michael||Pro (4)||Boonville, NC||12||01:20:14.062|
|5||1||Steward Baylor||Pro (5)||Belton, SC||12||01:20:29.051|
|6||2||Jordan Ashburn||Pro (6)||Livingston, TN||12||01:20:42.620|
|7||5||Evan Smith||Pro (7)||jefferson, GA||12||01:21:47.653|
|8||30||liam draper||Pro 2 (1)||auckaland, OS||12||01:23:23.951|
|9||8||mike witkowski||Pro (8)||north liberty, IN||12||01:24:09.384|
|10||32||Jojo Bowden||Pro 2 (2)||East Amherst, NY||12||01:24:15.403|