Cross Fork, PA (July 24, 2016) – After suffering less than desirable finishes at the last three rounds, Grant Baylor got back on the winning track by claiming his third victory of the season at the Rattlesnake National Enduro, rounds six of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania. Baylor started strong and built up a substantial lead after winning the first two tests of the day, and then added another test win in the fifth test, giving him a comfortable lead heading into the sixth and final test, which was won by his brother, Steward. At the end of the day, Grant took the win by 42 seconds over Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang, while Steward rounded out the pro class podium another 10 second back.
Series point leader Russell Bobbitt, who came into the Rattlesnake Enduro riding the momentum of a two-race win streak, suffered two significant crashes during the day, which dropped him to sixth in the final Pro results and seventh overall. His result, combined with the win by Grant Baylor and a third place finish by Steward Baylor, tightened up the point standings, with Bobbitt now holding just a nine-point lead over Grant, who is 3 points ahead of his brother Steward.
“I’m really happy because I got a lot of valuable points today,” said Grant. “I think I’m close with my brother and we closed in on Russ quite a bit because I think he had a bad day. It really started with that first test, I was able to put a pretty good gap on the field in that one and I carried that momentum into the next test. After that, I was able to cruise a bit and play it kind of safe in the rocks.”
Strang had his best finish of the season with a second place finish, courtesy of runner-up finishes in tests two and three.
“I happy with the finish, but it’s frustrating because I’ve struggled most of the year and then it was so easy today,” said Strang. “I need to find out why I rode so good today so I can ride this way every weekend. We’ve just had a few issues in some of the past couple of races and today we eliminated those issues, plus the track today was fun. It was fresh trail and that made it enjoyable. Now if we can just carry this momentum into the last three races.”
Steward Baylor, who switched to a two-stroke for the remainder of the series and was making his first ride on his SRT-backed 2017 KTM 250 XC, rounded out the Pro-class podium, coming from sixth after the fifth test to third after the final test. Steward got off to a slow start to the race; finishing seventh in the opening test, and it wasn’t until the final test that he finally caught fire.
“I do better in the longer tests because it takes me a bit to get warmed up and all of these tests were short except for the last one and it was nine miles long,” said Steward. “This is one of my favorite tracks and it’s usually moist but today it was dry and I just took a while to get comfortable because it wasn’t a physically demanding race and I tend to excel in physically demanding conditions.”
While Steward finished third in the Pro division, Rekluse Expert AA rider Thorn Devlin surprised everyone by finishing third in the overall standings on a Thorne Cycles KTM, finishing the race two seconds faster than Steward. Devlin signed up late and rode the event from the 89th row, so he was off the radar for most of the day. The KTM rider comes from Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, which has a lot of rocky terrain, so his rock-riding experience paid big dividends at the Rattlesnake event, which is also known for its rocks.
“I’m really happy with my ride, I rode well and only fell once so that was the key,” said Devlin. “These rocks are a lot like what I ride at home, so I was pretty comfortable out there, even though I was fighting the lappers coming from a back row.”
Fifth overall and fourth in the Pro division was AirGroup Racing’s Ryder Lafferty, who said he rode his own race and didn’t pay attention to the competition.
“Everything just flowed for me today,” said Lafferty. “This is a local race for me, so obviously that helped a lot, but I had extra motivation this weekend.”
Sixth overall was Lafferty’s AirGroup teammate Nick Fahringer, who won the fourth test of the day and was in the running for a podium position before sucking dust into his engine after the fourth test.
Series point leader Russell Bobbitt crashed hard two different times in the final test, and was a big groggy when he came in off the loop. The FMF/KTM rider lost a lot of ground because of the crashes and finished the race in a disappointing seventh overall.
Eighth went to Jesse Groemm. The Solid Performance Racing KTM rider won the third test, but it was not enough to overcome a 14th place finish in the first test.
SRT KTM’s Cory Buttrick had an uneventful day en route to ninth overall, while Coastal Racing’s Craig DeLong rounded out the top 10 on a Husqvarna.
Chris Bach made a rare appearance in the Enduro series at the Rattlesnake National and kicked the day off by getting 2nd the opening test, but things went downhill from there for the JCR Honda rider, who eventually finished the event in 11th.
RPM Racing’s Drew Higgins finished 12th ahead of former Pro motocross and factory rider Broc Hepler, who rode a Gas Gas to 13th.
As mentioned earlier, Thorn Devlin won the Rekluse Expert-AA division, finishing almost five-and-a-half minutes ahead of Razze KTM rider Dylan MacRitchie. Husqvarna rider Ethan Ficklin rounded out the podium in third. Meanwhile, Expert-AA points lead Jake Froman (Husqvarana) finished sixth in class.
In the Women’s A/B class, former Women’s champ Shawn Davidson (KTM) on her Bell Helmets/EE/ Kenda KTM, topping KTM riders Jaime Wells and Kiersten McDonal for the center step of the podium
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series heads next to Ohio for round seven of the series in Zanesville on August 28th. For more information on the series check out www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Grant Baylor (Yam)
2. Josh Strang (Hus)
3. Thorne Devlin (KTM)
4. Steward Baylor (KTM)
5. Ryder Lafferty (Hus)
6. Nick Fahringer (Hus)
7. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
8. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
9. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
10. Craig DeLong (Hus)