Upland, IN (September 14, 2014) – Andrew DeLong claimed his first-ever national championship this weekend, winning the 2014 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series, presented by Moose Racing series title after taking a solid third place finish at the Muddobbers National Enduro, the final round of the 10-round series in Upland, Indiana.
The Factory Racing Husqvarna rider came into the final race of the series with a relatively safe 22-point advantage in the standings and needed only to post a top-10 finish to secure the title. However, despite getting off to a slow start in the first three tests, DeLong picked up the pace at the halfway mark and ultimately landed on the podium, giving the Pennsylvania rider more than enough points to take home the 2014 title.
“This is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time and I still can’t believe it’s happened,” said DeLong. “We had kind of an up-and-down year, but thanks to my team we were able to pull it all together and come away with the championship.”
Mike Lafferty got off to a quick start in the 65-mile race, and took the early lead on his FMF/KTM after winning the first three tests ahead of Factory Racing Husqvarna’s Russell Bobbitt.
Lafferty announced his retirement at the start of the season, and the Muddobbers event would be his final race at the professional level, so it appeared the eight-time National Enduro Champ was making the most of his final appearance on the circuit. The final three tests were all Bobbitt, however, as the Georgia rider picked up the race to pull away to take an impressive win, beating Lafferty by a minute-and-a-half at the end of the race.
“I am so happy to end my career this way,” said Lafferty. “Of course, I would have liked to have won the race but I’m happy that if I had to lose it, that it was to Russ.”
Bobbitt looked impressive despite riding in just his second race after spending six months recovering from a broken kneecap.
“I came in here feeling like I was on top of my game, but I’m not sure I really expected to win this thing,” said Bobbitt.
Fourth behind Bobbitt went to KTM support rider Grant Baylor, who was hot off his first career win just two weeks before in South Carolina.
Rounding out the top five was N-Fab Am Pro Yamaha’s Brad Bakken, who was second-fastest in the opening test of the day and might have challenged for a podium spot had he not been held up by lappers in test two.
AirGroup Racing’s Nick Fahringer was sixth overall, putting a wrap on a season that saw him leading the standings at one point, and then falling to fifth at the end of the schedule thanks in part to a knee injury he suffered two months ago.
Another rider making his return to the series after sitting out most of the season due to an injury was Cory Buttrick. The Beta USA rider was seventh at the end of the day in spite of losing a lot of time in the second test with brake problems.
Paddy Holloway took his third top-10 finish of the season with an eighth overall in Indiana, beating Jesse Groemm by just 12 seconds for the spot.
Groemm struggled throughout the event, and finally settled for ninth at the end of the day. The Maxxis/Klim/DirtWise KTM rider still managed to hold onto the runner-up slot in the final series standings, edging out Grant Baylor by a single point.
AirGroup Racing Husqvarna’s Ryder Lafferty rounded out the top 10, finishing 45 second ahead of Rekluse Expert-AA class winner Craig DeLong, who is the younger brother of Andrew DeLong.
The younger DeLong also took the Rekluse Expert-AA class title, the Husqvarna support rider beating out KTM rider Drew Higgins by 79 points to take the championship. DeLong walked away with a check for $1000 from Rekluse for his efforts.
For more information on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series please go to www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Russell Bobbitt (Hsq)
2. Mike Lafferty (KYM)
3. Andrew DeLong (Hsq)
4. Grant Baylor (KTM)
5. Brad Bakken (Yam)
6. Nick Fahringer (Hsq)
7. Cory Buttrick (Bet)
8. Paddy Holloway (KTM)
9. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
10. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)