Steward Baylor Captures Red Fox National Enduro Win
Josh Toth and Thad DuVall round out podium
Lynnville, IN (April 15, 2018) – Steward Baylor extended his lead in the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series championship standings by taking a solid win in extremely challenging conditions at this weekend’s FMF Red Fox National Enduro near Lynnville, Indiana.
Riding in some of the toughest conditions the series has seen in years, thanks to hard overnight rains, Baylor built a comfortable lead right out of the gate with wins in the first two tests. The Tely Racing KTM rider managed to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the day to claim the overall victory by a 28-second margin over FMF KTM Factory rider Josh Toth.
Though he wasn’t pleased with his performance, Baylor was more than happy with the result. With the win, the South Carolina native extended his lead in the series standings to 10 points ahead of Toth with seven races remaining on the schedule.
“I wouldn’t even call it mediocre, the way I felt about how I was riding,” said Baylor. “But considering the conditions, it turned out to be enough to get the win. Obviously, I felt like I rode well in the first two tests, but it was really tough to stay focused in these conditions, and tests three and four wound up being one mistake after another. This was definitely one of the most demanding national Enduros I’ve ridden. We put ourselves in really good position at the start, but I had three big crashes in test six, the last one coming within sight of the finish. I was worried it was going to be close but I came into the test 47 seconds up on Josh and it ended up being more than enough of a cushion.”
Toth now has back-to-back runner-up finishes in the series and is definitely the surprise of 2018. The Connecticut rider revels in extreme conditions and consistency was his ally in Indiana, as he was in the top three in all six tests, including a win in test three. Being the extreme rider he is, Toth said he wished all Enduros were as tough as this one.
“I had a good day today, I rode well and tried to make the least number of mistakes I could, considering the conditions,” said Toth. “I really enjoyed the race with all the rain we got, it made for really technical and tough conditions but that's the way an enduro should be in my opinion. I was happy to be up there fighting for test wins and to come away with a second-place finish.”
Due to his DNF at the previous round in South Carolina, Thad DuVall was forced to start from row 42 (11 rows behind Steward Baylor), which can be an advantage at times. However, in muddy conditions, especially if the terrain is really soft, starting that far back can mean you are racing in footpeg-deep ruts (or worse), while the competition is facing much easier conditions up front. DuVall struggled in the opening test, putting himself in a hole with a sixth place finish. However, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider picked up two tests wins to finish out the day. His only other misstep came in test five, where he finished fifth. In spite of his finishes in tests one and five, DuVall managed to dig his way out of a hole and salvage a third place finish.
“It wasn’t ideal conditions for row 42,” said DuVall. “The first and the fifth tests killed me. They were really bad and really rutted and I was just happy to just get through them. The course deteriorated so fast that by the time it came to my row there were so many deep ruts and holes that it was really challenging. It was something like I have never ridden before and it was some of the deepest ruts I’ve ever seen. I hope I never have to race anything like that again.”
Ben Kelley was among the riders who weren’t happy with how he rode, but was somewhat pleased with the outcome. The Trail Jester KTM rider was fourth overall, adding credibility to the third place finish he had in South Carolina.
“I got stuck a couple of times and had a few crashes,” said Kelley. “It was a struggle, but I had a few good tests and I had a decent finish.”
Kelley really buried it pretty good in the fifth test and lost about 30 seconds in the process. “I was really buried and luckily there was a guy that ran down the hill and helped push me out,” said Kelley.
Ryder Lafferty won test five en route to a fifth overall finish. The Solid Performance KTM rider also took top honors in the NE Pro2 division.
“I pretty much stayed off the ground all day,” said Lafferty. “I’m starting to find some consistency in my riding and I think that is paying off.”
The win was Lafferty’s second in a row in the NE Pro 2 class.
KR4 Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick finished sixth, just nine seconds off of Lafferty’s time. Meanwhile, FAR Racing/Gas Gas North America’s Nick Davis made the best of an early row start position and carved his way to a seventh overall and second in the NE Pro2 division on his GasGas 2018 XC250.
“I was lucky to be able to start early before the ruts got really bad,” said Davis. “The main thing is I was having fun and I think that’s the reason for my good performances this year. The bike is working awesome and all I have to do is go out and have fun and just ride the thing.”
Five-time National Enduro Champ Russell Bobbitt was eighth on his Gnarly Routes Racing KTM, while Honda-mounted Jake Froman was ninth overall and third in the NE Pro2 class.
SRT Racing’s Evan Smith rounded out the top 10.
KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones took top honors in the Women’s Elite division, finishing three-minutes-twenty-five seconds ahead of Bonanza KTM’s MacKenzie Tricker. Husqvarna-mounted Kelsy Pacholke rounded out the podium in third.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series returns to action with the Jesters National Enduro, round four of the series on May 6th in Arrington, Virginia. For more information, check out www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Steward Baylor (KTM)
2. Josh Toth (KTM)
3. Thad DuVall (Hsq)
4. Ben Kelley (KTM)
5. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)
6. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
7. Nick Davis (GG)
8. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
9. Jake Froman (Hon)
10. Evan Smith (KTM)