Charlie Mullins worked his way back into title contention with a solid win at round five of the Rekluse/AMA National Enduro Series near West Point, Tennessee, topping defending series champ Russell Bobbitt by nearly two minutes at the end of 68 miles of racing. Mullins kicked off the season with a win at the opening round in South Carolina, but a DNF at the Alligator Enduro in Florida left the Obermeyer/Am Pro/FMF Yamaha rider’s championship hopes in doubt. However, after two-straight wins Mullins now sits third in the standings, just four points behind series leader Russell Bobbitt.
Mullins started off the Tennessee event by winning the first 6.5-mile section by 30 seconds over defending series champ Russell Bobbitt, and from that point on Mullins was North Carolinian headed. Of the six tests, Mullins won the first four and then cruised to a 1 minute, 51 second margin of victory, despite losing his rear brake during the final test.
“It feels good to get two in a row and eat away at that points gap,” said Mullins. “I liked this course, it was rocky and tight and you couldn’t take too many chances, and it ended up being a good day for me.”
Bobbitt ended up winning the final section and took over the points lead with his runner-up finish, however, he was not pleased at finishing behind Mullins.
“I didn’t start off the way I wanted to, I washed out in a turn and broke my front rotor,” said the FMF/KTM rider. “I just didn’t ride as well as I needed to and I need to find a little more speed to try to stop Charlie.”
Factory Husaberg rider Michael Lafferty rounded out the podium, finishing the event 1 minute, 20 seconds behind Bobbitt.
“I struggled early on – I just didn’t feel up to par right out of the gate,” said Lafferty. “Getting on the podium is good, but I’m definitely not happy with my results. It’s a long season, however, and Charlie’s definitely stepped it up right now, but we just need to find some more speed and make a race out of this. It’s only April and a lot of things can happen and we just gotta keep going.”
FMF/KTM’s Cory Buttrick finished fourth on the day, while Husaberg rider Nick Fahringer finished fifth after winning the fifth test. Virginia KTM rider Brad Bakken finished sixth, ahead of Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney, who salvaged seventh after injuring his shoulder in the second test.
With five rounds down and five to go, Bobbitt holds a slim, one-point lead in the series standings over Lafferty with Mullins sitting third another three points back.
O/A: 1. Charlie Mullins (Yam); 2. Russell Bobbitt (KTM); 3. Michael Lafferty (Hsb); 4. Cory Buttrick (KTM); 5. Nick Fahringer (Hsb); 6. Brad Bakken (KTM); 7. Glenn Kearney (Hus); 8. Cole Kirkpatrick (KTM); 9. Andrew DeLong (KTM); 10. Wally Palmer (Hus).
Standings after 4 rounds: 1. Russell Bobbitt 112; 2.Michael Lafferty (111/1 win); 3. Charlie Mullins (108/3 wins); 4. Cory Buttrick (98/1 win) 5. Nick Fahringer (86).