Sunday, September 14, 2014
After a season that definitely had its ups and downs, Factory Husqvarna racers ended the 2014 National Enduro Series on a resoundingly high note, with Andrew DeLong capturing the championship, and Russell Bobbitt taking the overall win at the series finale! The Husqvarna duo blitzed their way through the "epic conditions" at the Muddobbers National Enduro in Matthews, Indiana, and both finished on the overall podium with Bobbitt on the top step and DeLong in third.
All Andrew DeLong needed was a 13th place finish to wrap up the title, but he didn't come to Indiana to take it easy. "I wanted to win!" Andrew said with a laugh. "I was pretty nervous. My stomach was upset in the morning and I couldn't eat anything. I was pretty tough on myself in the first tests. I wasn't riding well – just making little stupid mistakes. It wasn't the day I wanted to have."
Fortunately, a chat with Husqvarna Off-road Team Manager Andy Jefferson helped him keep things in perspective. "He crashed in every test at least twice," Jefferson recalled. "We told him to calm it down and pull it together. After that he ended up going even faster."
CAPTION: Andrew DeLong and the Factory Husqvarna team celebrate the 2014 AMA National Enduro Championship. Photo by Shan Moore
DeLong's teammate Russell Bobbitt also made steady progress throughout the day, moving into the overall lead in the last two tests. "Mike [Lafferty] got out to a great start, but I just chipped away at his time," Bobbitt said. "The conditions were so good – you just wanted to keep leaning the bike over. The club did a great job with lots of good, flowy single-track. I kept picking up the pace as the day went on. In the end, it was great to have Andrew win the championship, and for me to come back and get a win this year."
As for taking his career-first AMA Championship, and hoisting Husqvarna back to the top in National Enduro, Andrew DeLong is incredibly gratified by it all.
"I honestly don't think it's sunk in yet," Andrew said. "It's amazing. I've been riding Huskys for four years and I hope I can continue my career with them for a long time. Winning the championship is incredible. It was also good to see Russell come back and have the speed to be up front. It was awesome to see the Husqvarna brand kick butt today!"
Not only did the podium boast two Husqvarna motorcycles, but fellow Airgroup Radiant Racing Husqvarna riders Nick Fahringer and Ryder Lafferty also put their Husky machines inside the top-ten. Lafferty was followed in overall standings by Andrew's brother Craig DeLong, who topped the Expert-AA class ahead of Zach Klamfoth – making for a total of 6 Husky riders in the top-12 at the Indiana National Enduro.
Husqvarna Off-road Team Manager Andy Jefferson agreed that the day couldn't have gone much better. "We're so impressed with Andrew; he really came through this year. We're also thrilled to celebrate a win with Russell Bobbitt before the season ended. All our guys have worked so hard this season, and it's all worth it when we can make history for Husqvarna Motorcycles."