Round 6 is in the books and the Missouri Mudders once again lived up to their name by putting on one heck of a mud race. Rain fell from the sky Friday night and continued to saturate the course throughout the day Saturday and then into the night. I went to bed Saturday night knowing that the course would be brutal.
I got up Sunday morning and made my way down to the Holiday Inn breakfast area, it was pretty funny to see all of my competitors eating. It seemed that everyone had selected the same hotel and I enjoyed looking around at the other pro riders to see how they prepared before the start of an event.
As we got to the race, I prepped my KTM hard equipment Ariete goggles with roll-offs and dual pane lenses to fight the mud and fog throughout the day. The first test was fast trail that was mostly ATV wide, I felt most comfortable in this test primarily because the trail was wide, and also because the growth of shrubs on the side of the trail was minimal. I made it through the test clean and was in 7th place after the first section, this would be my best time of the day.
I cleaned up my goggles and then made my way to the staging area for the second section. The second test was treating me well and I was actually feeling a little bit more comfortable in the slop, but as I had just made a pass on another rider my KTM immediately stopped on the course. I almost flew over the bars and I looked down to see that a large vine had managed to rip through my brake snake and wedge its way in between my rear brake pedal and my frame. I tried to wrestle it out with my foot, but soon realized that this was a stubborn vine. I had to muscle my bike backwards and then tug on the vine until if finally gave in to my efforts. As I remounted my bike, I tried to regain my breath and catch back up to the guys on my row that had passed me and disappeared into the woods. I made a few mistakes trying to get some of the time that I had lost back and before long, 250A class hot shot Andrew Delong (who finished 7th overall) was on my butt. I moved over and tried to stay with him, a bobble here and a dab there and Andrew was soon too far away to key off of. This was my worst test of the day and I was happy to see the end of it and the beginning of gas number one.
The third test was my least favorite of the day and I felt that I was working really hard but only managing to weave through the Missouri mud at a little more than a trail pace. For some reason I was really timid and could not get comfortable charging through the mud, rocks, and roots. Charlie Mullins caught me in this section just as he did in the one before and he was flat hauling ass. He made it look as if the trail wasn’t even muddy!
The remainder of the race was pretty much the same type of trail. I had my helmet camera on in the fifth section, which had an awesome sand track, but sadly a branch ripped my camera off of my helmet midway through the section, if anyone happened to pick it up while riding the section I would love to have it back. I walked out to the exact spot after the race and dug around but had no luck in finding my camera.
The Missouri Mudders put on a great event and once again my bike rests in the back of the Sprinter van covered in thick Missouri mud. I have raced here five times and have only seen dry trails once. From my experience, 80% of the time that I visit Park Hills, Missouri, I get dirty, there’s no doubt that I am definitely not a mud rider and that showed in my score. However, the top five guys were riding flawlessly today. Charlie was once again making everyone chase his times all day and I am blown away at his skills every time he catches me. Even though it takes the wind out of my sails when I hear the sweet sound of his WR, I still enjoy getting to watch him ride for a handful of seconds at each event. Cory B did keep fairly close to Charlie and I think that he will remain on a 250 two-stroke for the remainder of the National enduro events. The series is stacked now and at every race there are six or seven different riders that could find their way into the top five. Today was a perfect example of how well you have to ride to break into the top five. Nick Fahringer, who has been riding great all year, was on the final spot of the podium in third. He edged out Glenn Kearney by just three seconds; Glenn beat out Lafferty by four seconds. That’s seven seconds separating three racers over a long day of racing. Anymore, there is no room for mistakes. A simple bobble over a log, passing another rider, or a fall can result in losing multiple positions. The national enduro series has without a doubt become a premiere series and the talent in the pro class is deep.
Thanks to Moose Racing, KTM, Enduro Engineering, SMS Racing, FMF, Dunlop, KTM Hard Equipment, Kriega, Parts Unlimited, Ride PG, Clockworkd, CTI2, Renthal, Motorex, my Dad, Emily and the Henslee’s for letting us stay outside their house Friday night and cooking an excellent breakfast Saturday morning.
Thanks for reading everyone, have a great week!