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 www.sprintenduro.com.
Bristol, VA—(June 15-16, 2019) Kailub Russell was fast and consistent en route to the win at the Harleywood Full Gas Sprint Enduro, round five of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series in Bristol, Virginia.
The FMF/KTM Factory-backed Russell claimed four test wins over the course of the two-day event, including wins in the first three tests of the weekend. Russell never finished out of the top three in the remaining eight tests, and after two days of racing his speed and consistency earned him the overall win by nearly four seconds over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall.
“Saturday was really good,” said Russell. “I was able to win the first three tests and was really close in the other ones. I rode really well and kept it on two wheels the whole weekend, but Sunday was a little bit tougher. The guys stepped it up in the Enduro test. I managed to win the first Cross test of the day, but not by much. We were all really close in the times on the Cross test, but Steward [Baylor] and Thad kind of picked it up in the Enduro test. I was just having trouble finding where they were going a little bit quicker.”
Duvall parlayed three test wins into a runner-up finish, despite losing valuable time due to a crash in test four on Sunday.
“I’ve been trying to work on being better on Saturdays, and this weekend I had a really good day on Saturday,” said Duvall. “I was able to win a couple tests and finish second for the day, really just a couple seconds behind Kailub. I was excited about that, because I knew I’m usually a little stronger on the second day and I came out and was riding really good day on Sunday. In the fourth test I was turning a good time and I just ended up crashing two turns from the finish and losing a lot of time. But other than that, it was a good weekend. I think I’ve lost the last two Full Gas rounds by less than four seconds, but I’m getting better at these. It was definitely a step in the right direction for sure.”
Josh Strang rounded out the podium in third, beating out his Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jordan Ashburn by 11 seconds after two full days of racing.
“It was a pretty good weekend,” said Strang. “I struggled in the first Enduro test on Saturday. I think it just caught me off-guard how slippery it was. So, I lost pretty much most of the time in that first test. I was a lot closer on Sunday and then just the last test I took it fairly easy because I wasn’t putting any time into those guys, so I just rode it in. Overall, it was a good weekend except for the first Enduro test on Saturday.”
Ashburn focused on turning in consistent times and eliminating mistakes in his run to fourth overall.
“I had really good times on the Cross test, but it was a bit of a struggle to find speed on the Enduro test,” said Ashburn. “The Enduro test was really slick and I would concentrate each time on improving on certain lines, but I would end up with the exact same times so it was frustrating. But I’m pleased with my finish.”
Craig Delong turned in a season-best fifth overall finish on his Coastal Racing Husqvarna.
“I got off to a good start and I was fast in the first Cross test, but I struggled a bit in the woods test,” said Delong. “I was just off a couple of seconds and that adds up fast over the course of a weekend. Overall, it was a good weekend for me, though. It was probably my best performance of the series so far.”
Beta USA teammates Mike Witkowski and Cody Barnes finished the two-day event separated by just four seconds, with Witkowski taking sixth and Barnes taking seventh. The two also finished first and second in the Pro2 class.
“I definitely felt the most comfortable on the cross test,” said Witkowski. “It was fast but it had a lot of turny spots. The woods test was almost like you had to either push it real hard or you just had to back down because it was sketchy.”
GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin was eighth overall and third in the Pro2 division.
“I kind of had some highs and lows over the two days,” said Devlin. “I rode well in the Cross test, but I struggled in the Enduro test. The course was hard and slick and I had problems finding traction. In the Enduro test, I just didn’t have enough confidence on the slick dirt to hang it out. But the bike worked great and I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Jesse Ansley put his Trail Jesters KTM Racing KTM into ninth overall and fourth in the Pro2 class, while Billy Schlag was top-finishing Pro-Am rider in 10thoverall. Fellow KTM riders Brewer Cawley and RJ Cook were second and third in the Pro-Am class.
Tely Energy KTM’s Steward Baylor won Sunday’s round, after not getting scored on Saturday due to the fact that he changed bikes during the day. Steward started out on a KTM 500, which he is scheduled to ride at this year’s ISDE in Portugal, however, it was Steward’s first ride on the bike and he was not comfortable, so he switched back to his 450.
On Sunday, Steward changed rear shocks and came away with four test wins to edge Duvall out for Sunday’s win by four seconds.
“This was just sort of a practice race for me, since I am riding the 500 in Portugal,” said Baylor. “I just didn’t feel comfortable on the bike Saturday, so I switched back to the 450, but we got it dialed in on Sunday and I felt pretty good.”
Current Pro2 points leader, Evan Smith, was another racer doing a bit of testing this weekend as he decided to ride a 350 in the Pro class on Saturday, finishing 5th-place in the Pro class and in the overall. Not wanting to lose his points lead in Pro2, Smith switched back to his 250 Husqvarna for Sunday’s racing where he would finish 2ndin Pro2. Smith was able to maintain his points lead in the series but it has been shrunk to just five points ahead of Mike Witkowski.
Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones remained perfect in the Women’s Pro class, adding her ninth and tenth wins of the season in Virginia. Jones won four of the six tests on Saturday and five of the six tests on Sunday to beat MEP MX KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker by 41 seconds for the win. Maxxis/KTM’s Becca Sheets was third overall another 12 seconds back.
Continuing the trend of tight racing at this round was the Pro-Am class with a back-and-forth battle between TrailPros-backed Billy Schlag and Brewer Cawley. The two flip-flopped the lead on Saturday’s racing multiple times with Schlag taking all three of Saturday’s cross test wins and Cawley taking the first two enduro test wins. Schlag would clinch Saturday’s win by figuring out the Enduro test in the final run of the day taking the win. Sunday’s racing saw similar results, with the two trading test wins but Schlag edging Brewer in the 2ndenduro test and being able to secure the win. RJ Cook rounded out the podium just three seconds ahead of Eric Scarborough.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on July 13-14 at LL Raceway in Fairmount, Pennsylvania for round six of the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.