Fairmount City, PA (July 13-14, 2019)—Kailub Russell capitalized on speed and consistency to take the overall win at this weekend’s LL Raceway Full Gas Sprint Enduro, round six of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series in Fairmount, Pennsylvania.
Over the course of the two-day event, Russell won 6 of the 12 tests while finishing second in the remaining 6 tests, giving the FMF/KTM rider a 20-second margin of victory over Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Strang.
The win was Russell’s fifth overall victory of the season and it extended his lead in the series standings to 64 points over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thad DuVall. DuVall rounded out the podium in Pennsylvania, finishing 34 seconds behind Strang, who sits 3rd in points, 12 behind DuVall.
“The tests were really fun and it was a good weekend for me,” said Russell. “I was able to stay pretty consistent both days and take home another win.”
Russell got off to a quick start on Saturday by winning the first two tests, however Strang got it in gear in test three, the Cross test, and edged Russell by almost four seconds. Russell won test four, but Strang closed out the day with wins in the final two tests.
At the end of the day, Russell won Saturday’s round by 5.3 seconds over Strang. Strang got off to a slow start to the weekend, finishing fourth in the opening test, before finding a good pace.
“The first test on Saturday, the Cross test, it was slicker than I thought, and I just didn’t ride very well,” said Strang. “In the woods test I felt good, I won the last test of the day and I felt like I had some pretty good lines.”
Strang praised the event, saying it was one of the best courses of the year.
“Actually, the conditions were perfect pretty much all weekend,” said Strang. “As far as the dirt goes, it couldn’t get much better. The grass track was a little tighter than the last two rounds. It just wasn’t as high speed. The Enduro test, I think it was the best one all year so far just because they opened it up a little more so there was opportunity for more lines. I just think you could flow a little better and I think it just made for better racing.”
Russell and Strang accounted for all six of the test wins on Saturday, with each rider taking three wins. In the end, Russell topped Strang by almost five seconds for Saturday’s win. Duvall finished outside the top three just once on Saturday and ended up third on the day, with Husqvarna-backed Layne Michael and Tely Energy Racing’s Grant Baylor finishing fourth and fifth.
The tests were a bit drier on Sunday and the Enduro test got a bit choppy, but that didn’t change the order, as Russell and Strang still dominated the day with the exception of the final test, which was won by Duvall.
As the Enduro test dried out the lines got faster, which played into Russell’s hand.
“The Enduro test kept getting faster, it just kept getting more traction and the main line got better to ride and easier to ride, so the times got faster,” said Russell. “I was really good in that test. That’s where I made up most of my time.”
Russell won three tests on Sunday, two Enduro wins and one Cross win, while Strang won the Cross test twice and was second for the day. Russell beat Strang by 14 seconds for Sunday’s win, which combined for a 20-second overall win.
Third overall went to Duvall, who finished off the weekend with a win in the final test (Enduro test).
Jordan Ashburn had a solid weekend and was third in the first three tests on Saturday. Having signed with the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team during the off-season, Ashburn is starting to look comfortable now on the new bike.
“I got off to a good start, but I seemed to struggle on the Enduro test,” said Ashburn. “The test got rougher on Sunday and I still struggled.”
Ashburn made up for his struggles in the Enduro test with some fast times in the Cross test and finished off the weekend in fourth overall.
Rounding out the top five was Layne Michael. The Husqvarna-back North Carolina rider was fifth for the day on Saturday but got stronger when the track dried a bit on Sunday and was fourth overall for the day.
Sixth overall was Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Grant Baylor. Like Michael, Baylor got stronger on Sunday, as well.
Seventh overall and first in the Pro2 division was Evan Smith. The Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR rider dominated the Enduro test but took a back seat to Pro motocrosser Ben Nelko in the Cross test.
Despite riding with an injured hand, Smith beat Nelko by over a minute in the overall class standings, however Nelko topped the Cross test four of the six times, with Beta USA’s Mike Wikowski winning the remaining two times.
“I hurt my hand a few weeks ago at Snowshoe and it’s been pretty painful,” said Smith. “I can’t really pull my clutch in all that well and I haven’t really been practicing at all since then.”
Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong finished eighth overall, while Nelko brought his Yamaha in for ninth. Nelko is currently riding the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series and decided to ride the Sprint Enduro since the motocross series was off this weekend.
“I struggled a little bit on the enduro tests, but I won four out of the six Cross tests,” said Nelko. “I loved the race, it was a lot of fun. I liked it because it was so laid back and you just went out and rode. It was a good time. What I liked most about it compared to the outdoors stuff is how much everybody got along. Everybody was so cool. I like the way you jump back and forth from the grass track to the woods stuff. I thought it was pretty cool.”
Nelko finished second in the Pro2 class, while Witkowski was 10thoverall and third in the Pro2 division.
Maxxis/KTM’s Becca Sheets took the win in the Women’s Pro class, beating out GasGas USA’s Korie Steede by just over three minutes. Team Green Kawasaki’s Shelby Rolen was third.
Pennsylvania local racer Mason Atherton (14thoverall) topped Billy Schlag (15thoverall) for the win in the Pro-Am class, with RJ Cook in third (16thoverall).
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on August 10-11 at Rockcrusher Farms in Hayesville, North Carolina for round seven of the series. For more info on the series go to sprintenduro.com.
|1||557||kailub russell||Pro (1)||boonville, NC||12||01:11:34.596|
|2||1||Joshua Strang||Pro (2)||Denver, NC||12||01:11:54.421|
|3||989||Thad Duvall||Pro (3)||willamstown, WV||12||01:12:28.060|
|4||6||Jordan Ashburn||Pro (4)||Livingston, TN||12||01:13:09.997|
|5||523||Layne Michael||Pro (5)||Boonville, NC||12||01:13:13.075|
|6||314||Grant Baylor||Pro (6)||Belton, SC||12||01:13:45.661|
|7||7||Evan Smith||Pro 2 (1)||jefferson, GA||12||01:13:50.732|
|8||10||Craig Delong||Pro (7)||Morgantown, PA||12||01:14:04.493|
|9||407||Ben Nelko||Pro 2 (2)||Aliquippa, PA||12||01:14:59.460|
|10||282||mike witkowski||Pro 2 (3)||north liberty, IN||12||01:15:30.326|