Chandlersville, OH (August 28, 2016) – Thad DuVall hasn’t ridden a National Enduro since the Rattlesnake Enduro in 2012, but the KR4 Husqvarna rider proved that it’s no different than riding a bicycle in that it’s something you just don’t forget how to do. The West Virginia rider used the first test of the day to get up the speed and then reeled off three wins in the next five tests to claim an impressive come-from-behind victory at this weekend’s Grassman National Enduro in Zanesville, Ohio – round seven of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series.
DuVall went into the fifth test of the day trailing current points leader and four-time National Enduro Champ Russell Bobbitt by three seconds, but after winning the final two tests, which were the two longest tests of the day, DuVall finished the event with a 40-second margin over Bobbitt to claim his first-ever National Enduro win.
“I just came here because it’s close to my house and I thought it would be good practice for Six Days,” said DuVall. “I really didn’t think I would do that well; I told myself I had no expectations, but I just gave it all I had. It was crazy, a lot of the tests were a lot tighter than I’m used to but I would come out of the test and I’d be first or second. I think I gained some time in some of the faster sections and also in the two long sections. I’ve been working really hard on my conditioning and maybe I just wore those guys down because I was behind before the final two tests and that’s where I gained all my ground.”
Second went to Bobbitt, who was disappointed at not getting the win, but still added to his point lead in the championship chase since both of the Baylor brothers suffered problems: Grant injured his foot, and Steward missed a turn in the final test and was penalized accordingly.
“Today started off good, I won the first test and I felt like I was riding well, but I just didn’t have anything for Thad in those final tests,” said Bobbitt. “I stalled it in the fifth test and I tipped over in the sixth, but I don’t think that was the difference. Thad was riding really well. I’m here to win races, so I’m disappointed that I didn’t, but we still came away with a positive outcome by extending the points lead.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Josh Strang rounded out the podium in third with a strong and consistent ride, which included a win in the fourth test.
“I didn’t expect the race to be so hilly and to have so many off-cambers,” said Strang. “You had to be really smooth with the throttle. At the third test, I don’t know what happened but I almost missed the start and that sort of threw me off. I just didn’t ride how I should have ridden.”
Fourth was Specialized Performance KTM’s Jesse Groemm, who started the day with a second in test one.
“I started off well but I missed a line in the fourth test and lost some time and then the heat was getting to me in the fifth test and I lost some more time,” said Groemm. “I felt I was solid but I just have to work harder in the next one.”
SRT KTM’s Cory Buttrick had a good day going until the final test when he launched his bike off a ledge and was lucky to come out of the situation unscathed and with a relatively straight motorcycle.
“I guess I was just trying too hard, but about a mile into the test I was going a little too fast to make the good line on the exit out of the creek bed and where I had to turn there was a great big mud pit and I had to pick the bike up out of the mud and go back and take the good line. Then I took a wrong trail and I dropped off the top of a cave, which was about a 10-foot drop. At the last second I just clutched it and threw the bike away and I slid down a big rock. Luckily, the bike wasn’t destroyed and I was able to finish.”
Once he got going again, Buttrick was still able to finish an impressive fifth overall.
After factoring in his penalty for accidentally missing part of the course, Steward Baylor was awarded sixth overall, just ahead of AirGroup Racing’s Nick Fahringer in seventh.
Grant Baylor was able to nurse his sore foot for the remainder of the race to salvage eight, while RPM KTM’s Drew Higgins and Gas Gas USA’s Broc Hepler rounded out the top 10.
In the Rekluse Expert AA class, Dylan MacRitchie finished the race with a one-minute-13-second advantage over fellow KTM rider Thorn Devlin to take the win, while Husqvarna-mounted Jake Froman finished third.
“This was tighter than I’m used to,” said MacRitchie, who is used to the fast and rocky terrain of his native Vermont. “I just rode a steady race and stayed off the ground and it paid off.”
Sarah Baldwin put her Husqvarna on top of the box in the Women’s A/B class, despite fighting off the effects of heat exhaustion during the race. Meanwhile, Kacy Martinez reclaimed the lead in the Women’s A/B championship with a solid second place finish in her first race back from a wrist injury. Ashlee Applegate was third on a KTM.
The series resumes on September 18th for the Lead Belt National Enduro, round eight of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Park Hills, Missouri. For more information check out www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Thad DuVall (Hus)
2. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
3. Josh Strang (Hus)
4. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
5. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
6. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
7. Nick Fahringer (Hus)
8. Grant Baylor (Yam)
9. Drew Higgins (KTM)
10. Broc Heppler (GG)