LAURENS,SC (SEPT. 1-2, 2019) The best of the east met up with the best of the west at the final round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, in Laurens, South Carolina, with ex-moto star and all-around off-road ace Ryan Sipes coming out on top of a close battle with newly crowned Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series champion Kailub Russell to take the win at the Chestnut Corner Full Gas Sprint Enduro. Former Supercross star Josh Hill also made an appearance on Sunday, bolstering an already loaded Pro class.
The final round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series was designated an ISDE camp by US team manager Antti Kallonen, so the entire US ISDE Trophy team (World, Junior and Women’s) showed up to do battle, pitting the best from each of the major series in the United States against each other: Full Gas Sprint Enduro, AMA National Enduro, Grand National Cross Country and WORCS.
After two days of racing and 12 timed tests, Sipes edged fellow factory KTM rider Russell by just 22 seconds for the overall win.
Sipes admitted he was a bit surprised by the win and since the event also served as a warmup and training weekend for the upcoming International Six Days Enduro in Portugal, he thinks the US squad is ready to win back the title it claimed in 2016.
“I had no clue where I’d be against these guys since I haven’t raced one of these all year; I didn’t know where my speed would be, so I’m really happy,” said Sipes. “I knew I would do okay in the Cross test, I just wasn’t sure about the Enduro test. I got a little lucky with this woods test. It was technical, but not very tight, so that played to my strengths.”
Russell stayed within a second or two of Sipes for most of the weekend and held the lead on two occasions, but threw it away with a crash in the final test.
“I made a lot of mistakes,” said Russell. “It was tough – super dry and slick and I just couldn’t keep it off the ground. I’ve only fallen like two or three times all year at these races and I probably had four falls this weekend. It’s hard to compete for the win when you’re on the ground. Ryan was in a league of his own on the Cross test, but I had some fast times in the Enduro test. I got in the lead on Monday after the Enduro test, but then I fell in the Cross test and threw it away. Then I was close going into the final test so I went for it and fell again.”
FMF/KTM’s Taylor Robert, the 2016 ISDE Individual champion, kept the two front-runners honest with a solid third place finish, even though the event marked his first taste of woods racing in over a year. Robert got off to a slow start but was able to work his way into a podium position.
“I started off pretty slow but I picked it up in the afternoon – I went from 10thplace to third by the end of the day,” said Robert. “Even though this woods section wasn’t very tight, it’s still tighter than anything I ride, and it’s mainly the tree roots I don’t get to ride, but it’s good prep for Six Days and it’s always good to practice something different.”
Since he will be the designated E3 rider on the US Trophy Team, Tely Energy Racing’s Steward Baylor (who normally rides a 450) will be riding a KTM 500 in Portugal, and he spent the first day in South Carolina getting used to one at the Chestnut Corner event. After a slow start, Steward put the big KTM into fourth overall.
“The 500 is a big change, and I’ve been trying to adapt to it,” said Steward. “It didn’t help that I stuck my bad knee into the ground on the first day. I always start slow anyway, so I picked up the pace on the second day and was riding pretty good.”
Fifth place went to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall, who was part of the winning World Trophy Team in 2016, but who has elected to sit out this year’s ISDE.
Grant Baylor, also riding a 500 like his brother (on the Junior Trophy Team), was sixth overall, just two seconds ahead of Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR’s Evan Smith.
Smith took the Pro2 win for the weekend and also clinched the Pro2 championship in the process.
“This was kind of a sketchy track, so it was important to be consistent and not make any mistakes, and aside from a couple of crashes on the first day I was able to do that,” said Smith.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn, Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Ben Kelley, and GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin, rounded out the top 10. Devlin also finished second in the Pro2 division, with Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski taking third in the Pro2 class with a 12thoverall finish.
Josh Hill finished 13thin the first Cross test and 12thin the Enduro test, and then elected to sit out the rest of the event as he was suffering the effects of an eye infection.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Strang, the defending series champ, started out with a third in the first test of the weekend but crashed in the second test and injured his shoulder and was forced to retire from the event. Despite not finishing the event Strang was able to secure a 3rd-place finish in the series points behind Kailub Russell and Thad DuVall.
In the Women’s Pro class, MEP MX/KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker rode a 350 KTM instead of her usual 250 and grabbed her first win of the season ahead of KTM’s Brandi Richards and Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones.
“I started off the first day with a couple of test wins, but I crashed a couple of times and Tayla won the day,” said Tricker. “I was able to get it together on the second day and come away with the overall, so I’m pretty happy since it’s my first overall win in this series in over a year.”
Jones wrapped up the Women’s Pro title at the previous round.
Brody Johnson won the Pro-Am class in 18thoverall, ahead of Zach Nash (20thoverall) and Brewer Cawley (23rdoverall). Bill Schlag did not have his best result of the season with a 7th-place overall finish in the dry and dusty conditions, but it was enough for the TrailPros backed racer to secure the championship by 13 points ahead of RJ Cook.
Young Harris, GA(August 10-11, 2019) With his overall victory this weekend at the Rockcrusher Full Gas Sprint Enduro in Young Harris, Georgia, Kailub Russell became the first two-time champion of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, having also won the title in 2015.
With overall wins at six of the seven rounds held so far this year, Russell’s performance at Rock Crusher Farm this weekend was enough to clinch the 2019 title with one round remaining on the schedule.
On Saturday, Russell won four of the six tests, sweeping all three of the Enduro tests and winning one of the Cross tests. On Sunday, the FMF/KTM rider won two Enduro tests and one Cross test, giving him a 30-second-plus cushion over runner-up Thad Duvall at the end of two days of racing.
“It’s always nice to wrap up a championship a race early, which kind of takes the pressure off,” said Russell. “I really liked the Enduro test this weekend. It was really technical, and I had a good flow. When you’ve got a good flow and you’re enjoying it, it translates into going fast.”
Duvall won the final two tests on Sunday, and was consistent enough to claim second overall for the weekend. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider had brake problems in one of the Cross tests on Sunday, but still managed to edge out Josh Strang for the runner-up slot by 33 seconds.
“It was a close battle between me and Strang, but I just kept chugging along,” said Duvall. “I really want to win one of these things. It’s been a while. I felt like it was a good weekend, but I just couldn’t limit the mistakes, and when I did I was able to get a couple of wins. I just need to be better on Saturdays and stay within striking distance for Sundays.”
Strang is notoriously strong in the Cross tests, and the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki rider came away with three Cross test wins.
“My times in the Cross test were good and competitive; I think I won three out of six, which is good,” said Strang. “In the Enduro test, I was just a little off. I felt like I was riding well. On five out of the six I felt comfortable and fairly good, just not as fast as Kailub and Thad. Then the second enduro test on Saturday I wrapped the brake pedal around my foot peg, so I kind of ruined Saturday. That kind of messed me up a little bit for the overall.”
Husqvarna-backed Layne Michael turned in a solid performance for fourth overall, missing the podium by just 21 seconds. Michael suffered through two surgeries after breaking his collar bone at the start of the season and is just now finding his form.
“I’ve been back for about a month now and I’m feeling good,” said Michael. “I’m making huge leaps forward every time. I’ve just got to keep building and get back to where I should have been the past couple years. Right now, I just appreciate being back at the races battling and making that progress. I’m seeing it. I’ve just got to keep working.”
Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn rounded out the top five. The Tennessee rider made good time in the Enduro test, but spent most of the day looking for faster times in the Cross test.
“This series really went to another level this year,” said Ashburn. “Everybody is really pushing each other hard and we’re just a little bit off. We’re searching for time on every test. Sometimes we’re a second off and sometimes we’re three or four seconds off. It just adds up over the weekend. It’s been a tough weekend for sure. I’m just trying to find time in stuff.”
Sixth overall and first in the Pro2 division went to Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR’s Evan Smith. Smith got off to a slow start, but did what he needed to do to get the “W.”
“I had a slow start,” said Smith. “I didn’t feel very good at the beginning yesterday, but about halfway through the day I started to figure it out. Today went pretty well. Didn’t go as fast as I’d want to go, but still won.”
Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Jesse Ansley rode a KTM 125 SX to seventh overall and second in the Pro2 class, which included two test wins in the division.
Mike Witkowski was another of the Pro2 riders that broke the top-10, putting his factory Beta into eighth overall and third in the Pro2 class.
Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong turned in some solid rides to finish ninth overall, while Ben Parsons rounded out the top 10 on a Husqvarna for a fourth-place finish in Pro2.
Tayla Jones missed the previous round due to a nasty hand injury and a surgery but still managed to wrap up the Women’s Pro title one round early with an overall victory at the Rockcrusher.
“I was kind of nervous coming in. I hadn’t been riding too much because of my fingers, but overall I had a good weekend,” said Jones. “I had a few crashes, but nothing major. My hand held up pretty good. While I’m riding, my fingers don’t hurt, but as soon as I finish is when all the pain hits. So, every time I stopped, it hurt a lot more.”
Second overall in the Women’s Pro class went to MEP MX/KTM’s MacKenzie Tricker, a minute-and-a-half behind Jones, while Maxxis/KTM’s Becca Sheets rounded out the podium in third.
Beta USA’s Korie Steede, was fourth overall, ahead of Team Green Kawasaki’s Shelby Rolen. Meanwhile, former Women’s Pro Motocross champion Jessica Patterson showed up to finish sixth.
RJ Cook (KTM) was on his game and claimed a solid win over Billy Schlag (KTM) in the Pro-Am division.
“I got off to a slow start in the Cross test but I had a really good first woods test,” said Cook. “That gap kind of just kept growing as the weekend went on and I ended up grabbing a win. I definitely felt more comfortable on the Enduro test. The Cross test, for my style on a two-stroke, it was a little choppy, a little rocky, a little rooty out there. It was hard to keep the bike planted, but it worked out for me.”
Brewer Cawley (KTM) rounded out the podium in third.
Zach Nash (KTM) won the Open A division over Sam Forrester (KTM) and Andrew Matusak (Hsq). Meanwhile, Henry Symanski won the Lites A class over fellow Yamaha rider Dalton Seals. Dylan Zimpel was third on a Husqvarna.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on September 1-2 at Chestnut Corner in Laurens, South Carolina for the eighth and final round of the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.
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.
Glen Daniel, WV(May 25-26, 2019) Kailub Russell relied on consistency and determination to win round four of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series at the Hidden Valley Golf Course in Glen Daniel, West Virginia. Despite winning just two of the 12 tests, the FMF/KTM Factory rider claimed the overall victory by 3.115 seconds over Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall after spending most of the two-day event in the top three.
Over 400 riders took advantage of the opportunity to ride on the beautiful fairways of the Hidden Valley Golf Course over a gorgeous Memorial Day Weekend and Russell was one of the event’s biggest fans.
“The cross test was really fun,” said Russell. “It was super hilly around the golf course and weaving in and out of the valleys. It was pretty cool.”
The race also served as an AMA qualifier for the 2019 ISDE which will be held in Portugal on November 11-16.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn got off to a fast start on Saturday, winning the opening test of the day (a Cross test) ahead of Russell, Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Strang, FMF/KTM’s Josh Toth and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall.
Strang apparently took a liking to the Cross test as he won the remaining two, putting him in the mix for the overall. Meanwhile, Toth dominated the Enduro test. The FMF/KTM Factory rider won the first two Enduro tests of the day and was leading the final one when he tangled with a root and went down, dropping the Massachusetts rider back to fourth for that test. At the time, Toth held a four-second lead in Saturday’s overall standings, but his mishap in the final test moved Russell ahead of him for Saturday’s win by .200 second.
“I guess I threw away the win on the last test,” said Toth. “I went down when I had a little cushion, but that’s racing. I had about four seconds over those guys, and I was consistently winning that test. I rode really well the whole test, then right in the end a tree root took me down and mangled my bike up, but I got up quick and was able to finish. I don’t know how much time I actually lost, but I ended up losing the day by two tenths of a second.”
Thanks to Toth’s mishap, Russell won Saturday’s event despite not winning a test all day.
“I was just struggling trying to figure out how to ride my bike efficiently and smooth and go fast in the woods,” said Russell. “I’ve been just always in the wrong gear and just over-revving my bike. I screwed that up the last test, and it really showed.”
Behind Toth came Strang, who rounded out Saturday’s podium by virtue of his Cross-test finishes.
“I crashed in the first Enduro test and lost a bunch of time, but other than that it was good,” said Strang. “Except for that crash, I think I was in the top three maybe in every test, so I was pretty happy with that.”
Ashburn was having one of his best races of the season and finished Saturday’s round in fourth. Duvall, on the other hand, was struggling and ended the day in fifth.
On Sunday, Russell found the pace he was looking for and took the opening test (Cross Test) by a full second over Strang, with Duvall in third. Duvall won the second test by four seconds over Russell, with Strang another three seconds back in third. The disparity in Enduro test times was due to the technical nature of the test.
Duvall continued the pace and, despite struggling on Saturday, won the remaining two Enduro tests on Sunday, giving him a clean sweep of the test for the day and moving him into first in Sunday’s results ahead of Russell by 14 seconds.
Sunday was not a good day for Toth, who dropped to fourth for the day behind Duvall, Russell and Strang.
In the overall results, Russell gained enough time on Duvall during Saturday’s event to take the overall win by 3.115 seconds ahead of Duvall.
“I’m still not happy with how I rode but it was good enough to win,” said Russell. “There were a lot of guys going fast this weekend.”
Third went to Strang, while Toth was fourth with Ashburn rounding out the top five.
Visiting from Australia, and member of last year’s ISDE overall winning team, Lyndon Snodgrass turned in an impressive ride to put his KTM into sixth, while Husqvarna/Max Motorsports’ Evan Smith added another win in the Pro2 division with a seventh-place finish.
Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski was second in the Pro2 class with an eighth-place overall finish, while Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong nailed down ninth overall. Beta USA’s Cody Barnes filled out the top 10 and rounded out the podium in the Pro2 class.
Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones remained undefeated in the highly competitive Women’s Pro division by taking a two-and-a-half-minute win over MEP MX KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker, with Maxxis/KTM’s Becca Sheets in third. During two days of racing, Jones won every test except for one of the Cross tests en route to the win. Tricker won the one test that Jones failed to win. Factory GasGas’ Kori Steede finished 4th for the weekend with Leanne Bange rounding out the top-five.
Billy Schlag (KTM) continued an impressive run in the Pro-Am class taking the win on both days of racing. It wasn’t without a fight, as Tyler Vore kept Schlag honest on Sunday finishing less than a second behind him on the day. RJ Cook rounded out the podium with Brewer Cawley and Ryder LeBlond finishing out the top-five.
Of the Letter of Intent riders hoping to qualify for this year’s ISDE, Am Pro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell was fastest, posting the quickest overall time on both days. GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin was second on Saturday with Trail Jesters KTM’s Jesse Ansley in third. Devlin and Ansley swapped positions on Sunday.
On Saturday, Tyler Vore (GG) and James King (Yam) were fourth and fifth. On Sunday, Vore was fourth and Anthony Krivi (Yam) was fifth.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on June 15-16 at Harleywood in Bristol, Virginia for round five of the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.
Greeneville, TN(April 6-7, 2019) Josh Toth claimed a career-first victory in the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro by posting an impressive performance at round three of the series at I-81 Motorsports Park in Greenville, Tennessee. The FMF/KTM rider won four of the 12 tests during the course of the two-day event and topped runner-up Kailub Russell by 23 seconds after two days of tight racing.
Toth won Saturday’s round by 24 seconds, and proved he was equally fast in both the Cross test and the Enduro test by winning one of each.
On Sunday, Toth won two of the three Enduro tests, and was second for the day behind Russell, however his combined time for the two days was fast enough for the overall win.
“I was pretty consistent on Saturday and I was able to get the win for the day,” said Toth. “So, on Sunday I knew I had a pretty good cushion over those guys, so I just tried to ride as well as I could, but also stay off the ground and just kind of play it safe.”
Russell came back from a rough day on Saturday to win Sunday’s round and take second overall. Russell won more tests than anyone, six in all, however a mishap in the second test on Saturday cost the FMF/KTM rider a shot at the overall.
“I got off to an awesome start in the first test on Saturday, winning the thing,” said Russell. “And I was riding really well in the second test, but right near the end I hit a rock wrong and just shot off the track. There was a fence right next to the track and I just got all wrapped up in it and tangled up. Luckily, I didn’t go over the fence. The bike was kind of tangled in-between a couple of trees and the fence. I could either give up or keep trying, so I just kept trying and plugging away and I eventually made up a bunch of time.”
Russell came back to win Sunday’s event, giving him second overall for the weekend.
“I was pleased with how I rode, because the competition is so tight at these that you just can’t give up that kind of time and still get right back in it,” said Russell. “In the end I got second overall and won the day two. Overall, it could have been worse. I’m just happy to walk away with max points on day two.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall rounded out the podium after taking two test wins, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
“On Saturday I wasn’t myself,” said Duvall. “I kept crashing. I think I crashed in four out of the six tests. I was very frustrated yesterday. So, we kind of made some changes on the bike last night and then it was much better day today and we won a couple tests. I just tried to clear my head last night and start over again today. I need to learn how to ride better on Saturdays.”
Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Layne Michael came back from being off the bike for over a month after breaking his collarbone to get fourth overall.
“Technically I’m not even supposed to be riding yet,” admitted Michael. “I kind of started off a little timid, obviously, just considering everything. But I felt better progressing into the day, and today I felt like I was a lot steadier, especially [in the] Enduro test. I’ve only ridden five times coming back, so just to still be competitive in the cross test at least feels good. Just got to get some bike time under us and keep working and get that comfort back and we’ll be fine.”
Evan Smith was fifth overall on his Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR FC 250, which was also good for the win in the Pro2 division. Smith won eight of the 12 tests in the Pro2 division and beat out Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski by just over a minute to claim the class win.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn battled with each other for most of the weekend and wound up occupying sixth and seventh.
Strang admitted it was a tough weekend for him.
“Tough weekend. That’s all I can say, really,” said Strang. “I struggled with the conditions a little bit. So we’ll just brush it under the rug and go to the next one.”
Witkowski won one test in the Pro2 class and was eighth overall and second in the Pro2 class. Meanwhile, Trail Jesters KTM development rider Jesse Ansley won three Pro2 tests en route to ninth overall and third in the Pro2 class.
Gas Gas North America’s Thorn Devlin rounded out the top 10 overall and was fourth overall in the Pro2 class.
“It was an all-around decent day for us,” said Devlin. “I made a lot of progress from the National Enduro in Florida. I had a really bad race in Florida, so we moved past that and got a fourth today. It’s progress and we’ll just keep moving forward and plugging away. So, I’m good with it.”
After three rounds of racing, Kailub Russell holds a commanding 36 point lead in the Pro class ahead of Thad Duvall. Josh Toth’s win moved him into a tie for fourth-place in points with Josh Strang, with Jordan Ashburn rounding out the top-five in the standings.
In the Women’s Pro division, Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones took a solid win over Maxxis/KTM’s Becca Sheets. Jones finished two minutes up on Sheets, while MEP MX KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker was third, three minutes and twenty seconds behind Sheets.
“It was a good win,” said Jones. “I like the sprint format, so I like racing these events.”
In the ProAm class, TrailPros-backed Billy Schlag scored his first win of the season, which was also his first time on the ProAm podium in 2019. Schlag, who felt more at home in the clay than the sand of the first two rounds was able to put over a minute gap ahead of round two winner RJ Cook over the course of the 12 tests. Eric Scarborough rounded out the top-3 with his first-ever Full Gas podium finish.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on May 25-26 at Hidden Valley Golf Course in Glen Daniel, West Virginia for round four of the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.