Blackshear, GA(March 2-3, 2019) Flooding from heavy rains that didn’t let up until an hour before the start of the Moccasin Creek Full Gas Sprint Enduro in Blackshear, Georgia, forced sections of the course to be modified and shortened, however, round two of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series went off without a hitch as Kailub Russell claimed his second win in as many races.
The FMF KTM rider turned in an error-free two-day performance that saw him win seven of the 12 tests and finish 19 seconds ahead of second place finisher Josh Strang to claim the overall victory.
Shorter tests meant shorter test times, which led to extremely competitive races, as the top handful of riders in the pro class (and in all of the classes, for that matter) turned times that were closer than usual.
Despite the close racing, Russell extended his lead in the championship standings with his win, and now sits seven points ahead of Strang (55 to 48), with Toth in third with 41 points.
“It was pretty close racing, but overall it was a pretty uneventful weekend for me,” said Russell. “I didn’t have any mistakes to speak of and I felt pretty good both days.”
Strang looked strong in his second race aboard the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki, the Aussie off-roader managing a test win on each day.
“The times were pretty close between the top five or six guys, so there was little room for mistakes,” said Strang. “Unfortunately, I had a couple of silly ones on Saturday and that was frustrating, but overall the weekend was good.”
DuVall fully committed to riding the entire 2019 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro schedule coming into the Georgia race and demonstrated his intentions of being “all in” by taking a test win on Sunday en route to third overall. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider finished just 13 seconds out of second and stayed close to Russell and Strang all weekend. Thad mentioned on his social feed that he had been riding the “struggle bus” on Saturday, but that he got things under control on Sunday to edge out Strang for second on the day.
FMF KTM’s Josh Toth won the final test of the weekend on his way to fourth overall. The Connecticut rider was just nine seconds out of third on Sunday and like DuVall, was able to pick up the pace on the final day of racing. Toth is still adapting to the sprint format but is showing progress with each round.
Jordan Ashburn made it two Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s in the top five. The Tennessee native obviously is warming up to the new bike after struggling in his debut with the team at round one, which was his first race on a Japanese bike in a while.
Evan Smith put his Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR FC 250 into sixth place, which was also good enough for first in the Pro2 class. This is Smith’s second-straight win in the division, although it didn’t come without a struggle. The Georgia rider crashed hard in Saturday’s final test and he and his bike came to rest in a deep mud hole, and he lost valuable time getting back in the race. As a result, Smith finished second on Saturday in the Pro2 class behind Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski, but roared back to take Sunday’s win and first overall for the class.
Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Ben Kelley finished 13 seconds behind Smith to claim seventh overall, while Andrew DeLong put his Phoenix Racing Honda into eighth.
Beta USA teammates Cody Barnes and Mike Witkowski were ninth and 10threspectively. Witkowski lost the momentum he gained from winning Saturday’s Pro2 class when he dislocated his shoulder on Sunday. He reportedly popped the shoulder back in place and was able to finish. Barnes and Witkowski were also second and third overall in the Pro2 class.
Craig DeLong turned some heads with a stellar performance in the mud on Saturday. The Coastal Racing Husqvarna-backed Pennsylvanian raced a 250 at the first round of the series, but showed up in Georgia on a 350 and came away with a test win on Saturday and finished third for the day.
“I’m not sure what got into me, but I was riding good,” said DeLong. “Switching to a 350 made a big difference, and I just tried to not over-shoot any turns and be as smooth as I could.”
Unfortunately, Craig suffered a shoulder injury and was forced to drop out of Sunday’s round.
In the Women’s Pro division, Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones took the overall win by 48 seconds over MEP MX KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker. Ohio’s Becca Sheets on a Maxxis-sponsored KTM was third, with Shelby Rolen in fourth on a Kawasaki.
Amazingly, Jones made a clean sweep of the event, winning all 12 tests during the two days of competition. She also holds a 10-point lead over Tricker in the class standings after two rounds.
The new Pro-Am class was won by RJ Cook on a KTM, with Brewer Cawley (Yam) and Conner Smith (Hsq) in second and third. This class serves as a stepping-stone for amateur riders to move into the pro classes.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on April 6-7 in Greeneville, Tennessee for round three of the series.
Over 400 riders filled the start grids at the opening round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series in Gaston, South Carolina, where Kailub Russell emerged as the overall victor ahead of a stacked field of talented pros.
Russell was making his return to the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, having last competed in 2015 – a year when he won the title. The FMF KTM rider hadn’t lost a step, however, and posted the fastest time in the first test of the weekend by an amazing eight seconds over the next closest rider. The two-day event would not be a Russell runaway, though, as Josh Strang would end up splitting wins over the course of the two days, with Russell winning Saturday’s round and Strang winning Sunday’s.
In all, Russell won five of the six tests on Saturday and two of six on Sunday to claim the overall win by 35 seconds over Strang.
“It’s been a while since I raced this series but I’ve still got sprint speed,” said Russell. “I had a good start to the weekend on Saturday and finished the first day with a good cushion. I had a good start to day two, as well, but I had a couple of little tip-overs in the third test and then everyone else stepped it up. I gave away a little time in that test so I was playing catch-up for the rest of the day and I fell a little short in getting a clean sweep of the two days.”
Strang, who was making his first appearance with the new Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team at the South Carolina race, improved from fourth place on Saturday to first place on Sunday en route to second place overall. The Aussie off-road star won three tests on Sunday to edge Russell by four seconds to win the Sunday round.
Strang was pleased with the runner-up finish in his debut with the new team.
“I think I had a case of nerves on Saturday, but I was still pretty steady. I think I maybe put a bit of pressure on myself because of the new team,” said Strang. “I was more relaxed and I rode like I know how to ride on Sunday. It was a stacked class with everyone that was here, and the track got super rough, so it was a tough race. I’m happy with second and I’m looking forward to the season. It’s going to be a really competitive year.”
In his first race since November due to an injury he suffered last year, Thad DuVall turned in a promising performance and posted the fastest time in two of the tests (one on each day), but a “bad” test on each day kept the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider from challenging for the win. On Saturday, DuVall lost his brakes in the Enduro test and on Sunday he crashed.
“It definitely wasn’t without a struggle,” DuVall said about his weekend. “I just had one bad test on each day, and that cost me. I just need to brush up on my sprint speed and I’ll be all right. I turned in some good times and I won the last test on each day, but I just had a bad moment on each day.”
Josh Toth underwent “arm pump” surgery on each arm just 15 days before the South Carolina race, but still managed to finish second behind Russell on Saturday. A nasty crash on Sunday in the second test of the day left the FMF KTM rider a little tentative and he ultimately finished fifth for the day and fourth overall.
“I was a little nervous going into the first test, so I think I was a little tight but everything still went pretty well,” said Toth. “I crashed pretty hard in the first Enduro test on Sunday and landed on my arm, so it was pretty sore after that. I was a little beat up and sore at the end of the day and I think the arms could use a little more time to recover.”
Evan Smith rode a 250F to fifth overall, which was impressive, considering the sandy conditions. The Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR Racing-backed rider, who was particularly fast in the Enduro test, easily won the Pro2 class with the finish.
“I tried not to put any pressure on myself and I just tried to have a good time and I think I rode loose, which translated into fast times,” said Smith. “It was a good weekend. No crashes, just a couple of bobbles.”
Trail Jesters Racing/KTM’s Ben Kelley came close to winning the final Enduro test of the weekend but he stalled his engine near the end, and had to settle for second in the test and sixth overall for the weekend.
“Saturday didn’t go too well; I just struggled and wasn’t smooth. I was coming into the corners too fast and I just trying too hard,” said Kelley. “On Sunday I just tried to smooth out a little and pick up the pace and I ended up having a pretty good day.”
New Zealand’s Liam Draper rode his Tely Energy Racing KTM to seventh overall, 19 seconds ahead of Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn. Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong finished ninth overall, while Ohio Husqvarna rider Cory Buttrick rounded out the top 10.
Tegan Temple finished 11thoverall and second in the Pro 2 class behind Pro 2 winner Evan Smith. Meanwhile, Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski was 12thoverall and third in the Pro 2 class. Witkowski finished just two seconds behind Temple after two days of racing.
In the Women’s Pro division, Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones took the overall win by over two minutes ahead of Mackenzie Tricker.
“It was a pretty good weekend and the track was pretty fun, although it got pretty rough,” said Jones. “I had one or two crashes, but other than that I had a good weekend and it was a good start to my 2019 season.”
Ohio’s Becca Sheets was third on a Maxxis-sponsored KTM.
The new Pro/Am class was won by local rider Brewer Cawley, with fellow South Carolina rider Cody Johnson in second and Ohio’s Triston Landrum in third.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series returns to action on March 2-3 in Blackshear, Georgia for round two of the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.
Glen Daniel, WV (October 20-21, 2018) – Steward Baylor may have won the battle, but it was Josh Strang who won the war. This often-used phrase perfectly describes this weekend’s Kenda Hidden Valley Sprint Enduro held at the Hidden Valley Golf Course in Glen Daniel, West Virginia.
After a lackluster performance on Saturday, Steward Baylor got his ducks in order on Sunday, running the table by claiming six test wins. The Tely Energy Racing KTM rider topped Sunday’s event by a whopping 53 seconds over Strang.
In the championship battle, however, Strang came into the weekend sitting just two points behind Steward, and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider’s stellar performance on Saturday, consisting of four test wins, set him up so that all he needed was a third place finish on Sunday to claim the series title.
At the end of the weekend, the Aussie off-road star finished second on Sunday, which was more than enough to give him the 2018 title.
Josh Strang rose to the occasion on Saturday to put himself in the series points lead by a comfortable margin going into the final day of racing. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
“Saturday was good,” said Strang. “I was able to use my “Euro” lines since the golf course sections were slippery and I think that worked in my favor. I knew I was sitting good going into Sunday’s race, but I didn’t do the math because I didn’t want to have anything more to think about.”
Strang was second in every test on Sunday except for one.
“It feels great to win the title, especially as good as Stew was riding on Sunday,” added Strang. “I did what I had to do on Saturday and the rest took care of itself.”
And to win the title while riding on a golf course has to be every dirt biker’s dream.
“That’s an unbelievable situation,” Strang said about the chance to race on a golf course. That’s exactly what the series has provided its riders the last two years.
Defending champion Stu Baylor struggled on Saturday but put in a dominating ride on Sunday. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Steward Baylor ended up second in the series standings, but finished off an up and down season with an exclamation point at the Hidden Valley event with his dominating win on Sunday.
“We weren’t prepared for Saturday,” admitted Steward. “I was riding the 2019 450 and all I had as far as suspension was the stock shock. I got a new shock at the last minute but I was afraid to run it this weekend without any testing, and I paid the price. My rear end was all over the place with the stock shock.”
Things took a drastic turn for the better when Steward decided to run the new shock on Sunday.
“After the way things went on Saturday I figured I didn’t have anything to lose on Sunday so we threw on the new shock,” said Steward. “I won the first Cross test and I did it pretty dominatingly. I ended up winning Sunday by almost a minute so I wish I had of ran the shock on Saturday.”
Steward came up five points short in his bid for a second Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro title.
“It would have been nice to have won the title, and I’m bummed I didn’t get it, but I’m happy to come away with some wins and I think I turned in a performance today that is up there with the very best,” added Steward.
Layne Michael rounding out the podium in 3rd. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Third on the weekend went to KR4/Husqvarna’s Layne Michael.
“I had some good rides and I was able to turn it into a podium finish for the weekend, so I’m happy with how I rode,” said Michael. “I was battling with Grant for most of the weekend, but he ended up having an issue so I had a pretty good buffer over him near the end of the day.”
Michael finished off the season strong with three-straight podium finishes, and was fourth overall in the final standings.
“The season started off kind of slow, I just wasn’t riding good, but I adjusted a few things for the second half of the series and things started to work for me,” said Michael.
Jordan Ashburn missed the podium with a fourth overall finish. The Beta USA-backed Tennessee rider started the event with a strong second in the opening test of the weekend and then settled into fourth for the remainder of the event.
Liam Draper ended his championship-winning season with a victory. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Fifth overall and first in the Pro2 division went to KR4 Husqvarna’s Liam Draper. Amazingly, the New Zealander dominated the Pro2 class by winning all 12 tests over the course of the two-day event.
SRT Husqvarna’s Evan Smith finished in sixth, 29-seconds ahead of Billy Schlag. Schlag also took second in the Pro2 division on his TrailPros/Ride on Moto KTM.
The remainder of the overall top 10 was occupied by Pro2 riders, with Braxton McGee (Hsq), Jesse Ansley (KTM) and RJ Cook (KTM), claiming eighth through 10th.
In the final series standings, Strang finished the season with 363 points, compared to 358 for Steward Baylor. Grant Baylor was third overall with 317, while Layne Michael (304) and Ryan Sipes (290) rounded out the top five. Sipes missed the Hidden Valley event to compete in the Red Bull Straight Rhythm in California, while Grant Baylor finished 24th overall when he trashed a rear hub.
Tayla Jones proved why she has won back-to-back Full Gas championships by taking her 7th win of the season. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
In the Women’s Pro division, KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones claimed her seventh win of the season, beating out Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM rider Mackenzie Tricker and FLY/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM Becca Sheets in the process.
In all, Jones won 11 of the 12 tests, with the other test win going to Tricker.
Jones finished off the season with 360 points for first in the Women’s Pro Championship, while Tricker was second overall with 315. Third went to Brooke Cosner with 237 points, with Becca Sheets (211) and Shelby Rolen (68) rounding out the top five.
Yamaha rider Tristian Stumbo looked strong en route to the win the Open A class and claiming Top Amateur honors. Meanwhile, KTM riders Cody Pingley and Luke Ross were second and third.
Devan Byer was first in the Lites A division, followed by TM-mounted rider Michael Pillar in second. Yamaha-mounted Henry Symanski was third.
For more information on the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, go to www.sprintenduro.com.
On a weekend that saw both dust and mud, Ryan Sipes came out on top. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Union, SC (September 2-3, 2018) – After missing the previous round to be introduced as a member of Puerto Rico’s Motocross of Nations team during last month’s Unadilla National Motocross, Ryan Sipes returned to action in the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series with an overall win over Labor Day weekend at the Big Buck Sprint Enduro in Union, South Carolina.
The Rockstar Energy/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna-backed Sipes won seven tests en route to his fifth overall victory of the season.
In addition to winning all six of the Cross tests, Sipes won the first Enduro test of the weekend, which is a rare feat for the Kentucky rider, who is more at home on the faster cross tests than in the woods.
“The track was dusty at the start of the day on Saturday so I knew if I won the first Cross test it would make me the first rider out on the course for that first Enduro test, which gave me a big edge,” admitted Sipes.
After the fourth test a hard rainstorm moved in over the area, leaving the course wet and slippery for the remainder of the day.
Grant Baylor just edged Layne Michael for 2nd overall. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Sipes went on to win Sunday’s event by 14 seconds over Tely Energy Racing’s Grant Baylor, with Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Layne Michael, Tely Energy Racing’s Steward Baylor and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Josh Strang rounding out the top five in a close formation.
On Monday, Steward Baylor would get the win, followed by Michael, Grant Baylor, Sipes and SRT Racing Husqvarna’s Evan Smith, however the times were so close that Sipes still managed to take the overall win ahead of Grant.
“Overall, it was a good weekend,” said Sipes. “I was able to get in some time in the woods this week and I felt really good in the Enduro tests this weekend. Even in the Enduro tests I didn’t win, I was pretty close to the leader and I felt like I was riding better than I have in the past for the woods.”
Grant Baylor edged Layne Michael by two seconds to claim the overall runner-up position. Grant won one of the Enduro tests on Sunday, but it was his consistency that landed him in the second position on the podium. Grant finished in the top three in eight of the 12 tests.
“It was a good weekend and I felt like I was riding pretty good,” said Grant. “Everybody was so close all weekend so it just came down to who made mistakes in the mud.”
Layne Michael airs out a natural terrain jump on the cross test. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Layne Michael has upped his game in 2018, and the Big Buck marked the Husqvarna rider’s second overall podium in a row. The North Carolina rider finished third in Sunday’s results and second in Monday’s results and managed to edge Steward Baylor for third overall by two seconds.
Steward Baylor rode a 2019 KTM 450 SX for the first time at the Big Buck and managed to take four test wins, including all three Enduro tests on Sunday. The South Carolina rider threw on his 2018 suspension and said it took the first day of racing to get used to the setup.
“I threw on this year’s suspension and I didn’t have time to really set it up to the bike,” said Steward. “I was just too slow on Sunday. On Monday, I rode well, but I was just unprepared considering I was on the new bike and didn’t have any time on it.”
Steward Baylor holds a two-point lead over Josh Strang heading into the final round of the season. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Steward re-took the points lead from Strang with his fourth overall finish.
“Overall, I’m happy with the weekend and I liked the way the 2019 feels, but I needed more time on the bike,” said Steward.
Evan Smith rounded out the top five on his SRT Racing Husqvarna. Smith was a minute off of Baylor’s total time and 30 seconds ahead of Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn, who finished sixth.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Josh Strang had an off weekend in seventh, while KR4 Husqvarna’s Liam Draper won the Pro2 class with an eight overall finish.
Liam Draper continued his dominance of the Pro2 class with the win. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Craig DeLong brought his Coastal Racing Husqvarna home for ninth, while Braxton McGee finished second in the Pro2 class with a 10th overall finish.
AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna’s Logan Lowrey was 11th overall and third in the Pro2 class, his first podium finish of the season.
KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones won the Women’s Pro division by nearly two minutes over Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM rider Mackenzie Tricker. Jones won every test except for one, and Tricker won that one.
Tayla Jones blasts her way to another overall victory, nearly sweeping every test on the weekend. // Photo: Darrin Chapman
Brooke Cosner finished third after recently switching to KTM. South Carolina’s Kendall LaFollette finished fourth.
Henry Symanski won the Lites A division over Zachary Davidson and Devin Byer. Meanwhile, Larry Silvia topped the 40A class ahead of Kenny Hawkins and Mark Loyd.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes action with the eighth and final round of its 2018 series at Hidden Valley Golf Course in Glen Daniel, West Virginia on October 20-21.
Josh Strang took his 2nd win of the season and moved into the overall points lead. // Photo: Shan Moore
Campbellsburg, IN (August 11-12, 2018) – Josh Strang claimed his second overall victory of the season with an impressive performance at this weekend’s Wade Farm Sprint Enduro in Campbellsburg, Indiana, topping runner-up Thad DuVall by 28 seconds after two days of racing.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider kick-started the event by winning the opening test of the weekend – a Cross test. The Aussie off-road star then added two more test wins to complete the event, although it was his consistently fast second and third-place finishes that clinched the victory for him.
“It was a good weekend,” the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider said after the event. “I enjoyed Sunday the best because I was out in front of the dust and I was able to use lines that other people didn’t use. I picked lines that put me in the grass instead of in the silt and I was able to make up a lot of time – it was good.”
Ryan Sipes held the series point lead going into the Indiana event, however the Kentucky rider skipped the event to be in New York where he was presented as a member of the Puerto Rico Motocross des Nations team at the Unadilla National Motocross. Sipes’ absence opened the door for Strang to take over the series point lead with his win.
“I hate it that Ryan wasn’t at this event, but I’m pleased to have the points lead and I’ll do my best to keep it,” said Strang.
Thad DuVall, the 2016 series champ, took 2nd-place in his first Full Gas since the 2016 season. // Photo: Shan Moore
DuVall’s appearance was a surprise. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider was using the event to get back in the swing of things after sitting out a few weeks due to a wrist injury and his entry was unexpected.
DuVall, who won the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro championship in 2016, won six tests en route to second overall, and was in contention for Sunday’s win until a mishap in the final test cost him too much time.
“I’ve been off the bike for a month and a half and I just wanted to come out and have some fun and see where I was at, but it quickly turned into a competition to try to win,” DuVall said with a smile. “I had a blast, I really love these events. I was in the mix until the final test, but I fell into a deep rut and got stuck for a long time and that put me out of the running.”
Layne Michael rounded out the podium. The Coastal Racing Husqvarna rider won one of the Cross tests and was in contention to win a few others.
Layne Michael rounded out the Pro podium in 3rd. // Photo: Shan Moore
“I started off well; Saturday was good for me,” said Michael. “Grant (Baylor) and I were close going into Sunday and I just tried to do what I did on Saturday, but I had a few bad rides in the Enduro test, but I was able to overcome it. I had a fast time going for me in the final test but I ended up falling and I thought maybe I gave up a place but I was able to hold onto third. Overall, it was a good weekend for us.”
Grant Baylor kept Layne Michael honest all weekend and narrowly missed the podium. // Photo: Shan Moore
Fourth overall went to Tely Energy KTM’s Grant Baylor. The South Carolina rider was two seconds behind Michael heading into Sunday’s event and he was just .4 of a second behind Michael after Sunday.
Defending series champion Steward Baylor rounded out the top five. The Tely Energy KTM rider got off to a slow start on Saturday due to a poor tire choice, but turned up the heat on Sunday with different rubber and moved ahead of Jordan Ashburn and into fifth in the final results.
“I put myself in a really bad position on Saturday,” said Baylor. “I made a bad choice of front tires and I couldn’t figure out why I kept ending up on my head so I went back to the tire I was used to and that fixed the problem. So I spent the rest of the weekend making up for that mistake. Day two was a lot better; I usually ride better on the second day anyway because the course is usually rougher and that suits my style. My lines really worked well on Sunday and even though I had three crashes I just missed out on winning the day by .2 seconds.”
Stu Baylor put himself in a hole on Saturday and did his best to dig out of it on Sunday but could only salvage a 5th-overall. // Photo: Shan Moore
Jordan Ashburn put his factory Beta into sixth overall.
“Sixth is not quite where we wanted to be, but overall it was a decent weekend,” said the Beta USA rider. “I had some top-five times on Saturday, but the track got really dusty and a little sketchy on Sunday and those guys picked it up a little.”
SRT Racing Husqvarna’s Evan Smith grabbed seventh place, 12 seconds behind Ashburn.
Liam Draper finished eighth overall, which was good enough to give him the win in the Pro2 division. The KR4 Husqvarna rider won 10 of 12 tests.
“I struggled in the Cross test, but I made it up in the Enduro test,” said Draper. “I really liked the Enduro test, the woods were awesome and I think it was the best Enduro test of the year. I just need to work on my Cross test skills.”
Liam Draper was dominant in the Pro2 class winning 10 of 12 tests. // Photo: Shan Moore
North Carolina’s Braxton McGee was ninth overall and second in the Pro2 class. Meanwhile, Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski made a short drive from his home in North Liberty, Indiana, to finish 10th.
Austin Lee was 11th overall and third in Pro2, with Billy Schlag taking 4th in Pro2 and James King rounding out the Pro2 top-five.
In the Women’s Pro division, KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones claimed another win, topping Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM rider Mackenzie Tricker by just under two minutes.
“The track got extremely tough with the dry, silty conditions, but I stayed off the ground for the most part and had a good weekend,” said Jones. “I got the win both days so it was good points and I’m looking forward to the next round.”
Tayla Jones got back to her winning ways after a loss to rival Mackenzie Tricker at round 5. // Photo: Shan Moore
Becca Sheets took third on her FLY/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM.
Missouri rider Kole Henslee took the win in the Open A class with a 12th overall finish.
“I’ve never done one of these races before and it’s crazy how one little mistake can put you on the ground,” said Hensley. “There were a couple of times where I was in the top 10 overall, so I’m pretty pleased with my weekend. I still need to find a little speed in the woods but I was pretty competitive with the Pro2 riders in the Cross test.”
Conner Smith was second in the Open A class, with Tristan Stumbo in third.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes action with round 7 of its series at Big Buck Farm in Union, South Carolina on Labor Day Weekend, September 2-3. The 65th running of the Little Brown Jug Enduro will take place just 5-miles from the Full Gas Location on Saturday, and the Full Gas will take place on Sunday and Labor Day Monday for a full weekend of enduro racing! For more information, go to www.sprintenduro.com.
Fairmount, PA (July 14-15, 2018) – Ryan Sipes took an impressive win at the LL Raceway Sprint Enduro in Fairmount, Pennsylvania, coming from behind in the final test to edge out Tely Racing’s Steward Baylor and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Josh Strang for the overall victory in what turned out to be a real cliffhanger of a race.
After struggling with the conditions on Saturday, Sipes entered Sunday’s round sitting 22 seconds out of the lead. However, the Rockstar Energy/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna rider turned in an incredible charge, winning all three of Sunday’s Cross tests and finishing with two seconds and a third in the Enduro tests to cut into Strang’s lead. A crash by Strang within sight of the finish in the last test of the weekend sealed the win for Sipes and dropped Strang to third overall behind Baylor in the final results.
Sipes put in a come-from-behind ride to take he overall win. // Photo: Shan Moore
“I was a little bit too cautious on Saturday and that put me down in the start order, which meant I was riding in the dust,” said Sipes. “On Sunday, I won the first test of the day, so I was the first rider to start the tests and I was able to whittle away at Josh’s lead with a clear view. After how I finished on Saturday, I had kind of given up on winning the overall, but then when I won that first Cross test this morning it put me in a good spot and I was able to overcome the deficit.”
On Saturday, Strang came out on top of a tight battle with former motocross star Broc Hepler to lead the event after one day of competition. Hepler started strong, winning the first two tests. Meanwhile, Strang finished strong winning two of the final three tests and riding with a consistency that left the Aussie off-road star finishing out Saturday’s round with a 12-second advantage over Hepler. Sipes, on the other hand, was way back in fifth, 22-seconds behind Strang.
Josh Strang took the day one win and was fighting for the overall in the last test before a crash relegated him to 3rd overall. // Photo: Shan Moore
On Sunday, Sipes kicked things off with a win in the first Cross test, cutting five seconds out of Strang’s lead. Baylor won the next test, an Enduro test, with Sipes in second and Strang down in sixth.
Hepler stabbed his foot in the ground in test three, twisting his knee when he washed out his front wheel, prompting the Pennsylvania rider to call it a day. Sipes won the test with Strang in second and Baylor in third.
Sipes went on to win the final Cross test and finish second in one of the remaining Enduro tests, leaving him .4 of a second ahead of Strang going into the final Enduro test. After two days of racing and 11 tests, the overall came down to the final test and the rider with the fastest time in the final test would win the event.
Broc Hepler won the 2017 LL Raceway Full Gas Sprint Enduro and was in the mix this year before tweaking his knee and ending the event early. // Photo: Shan Moore
Sipes was first to ride the final test. He turned in a strong ride and sat at the finish to wait on Strang. Strang had a good test going but lost his front end in a soft berm within sight of the finish, putting an end to the suspense and assuring Sipes the overall win. Baylor move into second during the shuffle, leaving Strang in third for the weekend.
“Saturday was good,” said Strang. “Since it was dusty, I knew I needed to be fast from the start. I rode out front all day, which meant I didn’t have to deal with the dust and I was able to win the first day. I was fourth in the first Enduro test on Sunday, so I was riding with the dust and I just couldn’t see. Going into that last Enduro test I figured I could go faster than Sipes. I was feeling good and I think I was on a good run, but going into the last part of the test I just buried the front wheel in a soft berm and the front tucked and flipped me over the bars and that was it.”
Stu Baylor launching his way through a roller section in the enduro test. // Photo: Shan Moore
Baylor moved into second with the help of Strang’s crash, finishing three seconds faster than the Husqvarna rider.
“I just never could get a break to get up front,” said Baylor. “It was really tight racing and whoever was up front and out of the dust had the advantage. Strang and I went back and forth all weekend. I rode strong and well enough to get second, but Sipes was riding really well.”
Steward’s brother, Grant Baylor, who came into the event riding the momentum of a big win at last weekend’s national enduro in Georgia, finished fourth overall, just eight seconds off of Strang’s time. Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Layne Michael capitolized on a win in the final Enduro test to take fifth, 17 seconds behind Grant Baylor.
Another two seconds behind Michael was SRT Racing Husqvarna’s Evan Smith in sixth. Evan has been consistently pushing the top-five in 2018 and was steady all weekend in Pennsylvania.
Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn was seventh overall, finishing ahead of local rider Ben Nelko from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.
Liam Draper extended his series points lead with the win in Pro 2. // Photo: Shan Moore
KR4 Husqvarna’s Liam Draper finished ninth overall, which was good enough to give him the win in the Pro2 division. North Carolina’s Braxton McGee was 10th overall and second in the Pro2 class with TrailPros backed Billy Schlag rounding out the Pro2 podium in 3rd and 12th overall for the weekend.
“It was a good weekend, but tough, with the heat and the dust,” said Draper. “Ryder Lafferty and Braxton McGee pushed me all weekend, so it feels good to come out on top.”
Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM rider Mackenzie Tricker took the win in the Women’s Pro division, beating out KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones. Tricker won eight of the 12 tests and finished 28 seconds ahead of Jones.
Mackenzie Tricker took her first Women’s Pro overall win of the year. // Photo: Shan Moore
“It was a good weekend,” said Tricker. “It was a pretty flawless weekend and I didn’t have any mistakes to speak of. It was pretty dry out there, but I’d rather it be dry than wet, so it was all good.”
Becca Sheets took third on her FLY/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM.
Connor Smith won the Open A class and took Top Amateur honors with a 15th-place overall finish ahead of Luke Ross and Eric Scarborough, while the Lites A class was won by Michael McGee, with Alex Witkowski and Devan Byer in second and third.
The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes action with round 6 of its series in Campbellsburg, Indiana on August 11-12.