Arrington, VA (May 6, 2018) – Depsite being just two weeks out from surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand, Grant Baylor started fast and finished strong to win the Dragon’s Back National Enduro, round four of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Arrington, Virginia.
By his own admission, Grant’s performance wasn’t the prettiest of his career, however, despite a few tip-overs and muscues, the Tely Energy Racing KTM rider did what he needed to do to take home the “W” in what most considered epic conditions in Virginia.
“I was struggling all day long,” said Grant. “I just wasn’t riding like I should, I crashed three times in the fifth test and twice in the last test. But I won, so obviously I made fewer mistakes than everybody else. This year has been an uphill battle for me, with the broken hand and all. But I just rode my race and kept trying to smooth out a bit, and I guess I did just enough.”
The Virginia race was held at the Oak Ridge Estates, thanks to the Holland family, and despite a heavy rain that slickened the course during the first test, most of the riders had good things to say about the race and a few called it the enduro of the year.
After six tests and 55 miles of racing, Grant finished with three test wins and beat out his brother and teammate Steward Baylor by 52 seconds for the win.
“This was a good day to get the win,” added Grant. “It’s good to be on the podium again with my brother and I’m really happy to get some valuable points.”
Unlike his brother, Steward didn’t get off to as good of a start, but managed to edge FMF KTM’s Josh Toth for the runner-up slot by mere tenths of a second.
“I struggled the first two tests and I just couldn’t seem to find a groove,” said Steward. “I just made a lot of mistakes and no matter what I did I just couldn’t get out of it.”
Heading into the final three tests, Steward found himself in a pretty big hole, but the Tely Energy KTM rider managed to dig his way out thanks to a pair of second-place finishes in the final two tests.
“I worked my way back into contention in test five, so I was nine seconds behind Toth heading into the final test,” added Steward. “I just went for it in that last one and I managed to barley get the job done.”
Toth won tests two and three, but tip-overs late in the race left him third overall by the narrowest of margins.
“I rode pretty consistent but I didn’t ride my best today, for sure,” said Toth. “I fell in the fifth test and then I crashed twice in the final test, just trying to catch Grant and that cost me second.”
Thad DuVall finished second in test one and he won test two, however a stumble in test four and a navigation snafu in section five dropped the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider fourth overall.
Ben Kelley rounded out the top five after turning in a performance that saw the FMF KTM Factory rider turn up the heat in the later tests after getting off to a slow start during the first half of the race.
“I was off the pace in the beginning, I just wasn’t aggressive enough at the start,” said Kelley. “I tried to turn it around and my last two tests were faster, although I had a couple of crashes. The first two tests were pretty slick and I think I was just a bit timid.”
SRT Racing’s Evan Smith turned in his best performance of the year with a sixth place finish, edging KR4 Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick for the position.
Eighth went to Russell Bobbitt on the Gnarly Routes KTM. Meanwhile, Solid Performance KTM’s Ryder Lafferty topped the NE Pro 2 division with a ninth place overall finish.
“It was pretty slick in the first few tests, but it tacked up starting with the third test and I got a little more comfortable,” said Lafferty. “I was all over the place in that second test, but I’m happy with how I rode, especially in the last three or four tests.”
Rounding out the top 10 was Gas Gas North America’s Andrew DeLong.
DeLong’s Gas Gas teammate Nick Davis was second in the NE Pro 2 division with a 12th overall finish, while Virginia’s Paddy Holloway was third in the class and 14th overall.
In the Women’s Elite class, Tayla Jones grabbed her second win of the season, after topping Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker by 24 seconds.
“I had a good race, even though the track was a bit slippery at the beginning,” said Jones. “I had a few silly mistakes and I got stuck a few times, but I managed to hold on for the win.”
Jones won three tests compared to two for Tricker.
FLY/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM, while Yamaha-mounted Brooke Cosner rounded out the top three, 50 seconds behind Tricker.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series returns to action on June 3 for the Cherokee National Enduro in Greensboro, Georgia, round five of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series.
1. Grant Baylor (KTM)
2. Steward Baylor (KTM)
3. Josh Toth (KTM)
4. Thad DuVall (Hsq)
5. Ben Kelley (KTM)
6. Evan Smith (Hsq)
7. Cory Buttrick (Hsq)
8. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
9. Ryder Lafferty (KTM)
10. Andrew DeLong (GG)