Greensboro, GA (July 8, 2018) – Grant Baylor turned in a near-perfect performance at the Cherokee National Enduro this weekend, winning all seven tests en route to a decisive victory.
Grant’s star has been on the rise the last two months and that momentum led to a totally dominating performance this weekend. After 93 miles of tight woods racing, the Tely Racing KTM rider took the overall victory by one-minute-twenty-three seconds ahead of second place.
“I still had a few mistakes, but overall the performance was a good one and I’m pleased with it,” said Grant. “I just seemed to click perfectly with the bike today. Wherever I pointed my tires the bike went, and everything just hooked up.”
Sweeping an entire event (winning all of the tests) is a rare feat, though a few riders have done it, including Grant’s brother, Steward Baylor. However, the chances of doing so when there is a seventh test are incredible.
“This has always been one of my goals was to win all of the tests and we went the extra mile this weekend since there were seven tests in stead of the usual six,” said Grant. “I’ve been picking up speed little by little this year and I’m excited about where it has taken me.”
Josh Toth was another rider having an exceptional day. The FMF KTM Factory rider equaled his career-best finish of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series with a second place, beating out Steward Baylor by 16 seconds.
“I didn’t win any tests today but I felt solid all day,” said Toth. “Grant was really riding strong, but it was close between the top three riders, which makes it enjoyable. I’m starting to read the trail a bit better and I’m more comfortable going fast on trail that I haven’t seen before. I think all of those factors led to my performance today.”
Toth gained a few points on Steward in the series standings, although Steward still holds a nine-point advantage over the Connecticut rider with five rounds to go.
Steward rounded out the podium in third, despite dealing with an injured knee and a case of the flu this week.
“I haven’t been able to train over the last couple of weeks and I think that affected my timing,” said Steward. “I’ve been sick all week and the heat today didn’t help any.”
Steward came on strong in the final two tests, but came just short in his bid to catch Toth.
KR4 Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick turned in his best performance of the season with a fourth place, missing the podium by just under a minute. Buttrick is one of the only Pro riders that does his own maintenance at the track.
Buttrick finished second to Grant Baylor in the fourth test.
“It was satisfying being towards the front again,” said Buttrick. “It’s also satisfying doing it on your own, although my wife, Mackenzie, helps were she can. It’s tough not being able to catch your breath all day.
“It was really tough to keep it upright, there were a lot of roots. I always have a good time when I come here, I really love this place.”
SRT Racing’s Evan Smith rounded out the top five with a steady and nearly error-free day.
“It was actually a pretty clean day; I didn’t fall or hit any trees,” said Smith. “I really don’t feel like fifth reflects how well I rode today. I don’t live too far from here, so I was right at home in this stuff.”
Solid Performance KTM’s Ryder Lafferty finished sixth overall, which also gave him the win in the NE Pro2 class. Lafferty made the switch from a KTM 250F to a 350F for this race.
“I had a mistake in the third test and I got lost, so that cost me a few seconds, but overall it was a pretty clean day,” said Lafferty. “It was my first ride on the big bike and I’m pretty happy with it.”
Five-time National Enduro Champion Russell Bobbitt finished seventh on his Gnarly Routes KTM. Bobbitt got off to a shaky start but then settled in for the final three tests and finished the race with three-straight times inside the top five.
Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Ben Kelley had an off day with an eighth place finish, while Jake Froman was ninth overall and second in the NE Pro2 class in his debut ride with the AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna team.
FAR Racing/Gas Gas North America’s Andrew DeLong rounded out the top 10.
KTM mounted Nathan Ferderer was third in the NE Pro2 division with a 13th overall finish.
KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones edged Trail Jesters KTM Racing/Bonanza Plumbing’s Mackenzie Tricker by five seconds to win the Women’s Elite class. Jones won four tests, with Tricker winning two.
“I started off a bit slow, but then it picked up,” said Jones. “Some of the places were a bit sketchy because of the stumps, but overall it was a good day.”
Tricker is relatively new to the national enduro format but she is improving quickly.
“I won a couple of tests and I think I had a pretty solid day,” said Tricker. “I’m feeling more comfortable with each race and I really felt good today.”
Kendall Lafollette finished third on a KTM.
Jesse Ansley (KTM) topped Vincent Smith (KTM) and James King (Yam) to win the AA class.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series returns to action on July 22nd for the Rattlesnake National Enduro in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania, round six of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series. For more information go to www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Grant Baylor (KTM)
2. Josh Toth (KTM)
3. Steward Baylor (KTM)
4. Cory Buttrick (Hsq)
5. Evan Smith (Hsq)
6. Ryder Lafferty (KTM)
7. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
8. Ben Kelley (KTM)
9. Jake Froman (Hsq)
10. Andrew DeLong (GG)