Photos by Drew Ruiz
After becoming a consistent fixture atop Canadian enduro-style race podiums, Cory Graffunder relocated to California to try his hand at a new challenge, EnduroCross. Finishing in the top five overall in the last four years (except 2011 because of injury), Graffunder is one to watch in 2013. We caught up with the tall racer at the fist US round of the 2013 EnduroCross season at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas where, at the end of a long night of racing, Graffunder ended up seventh fastest. While that’s not what he was hoping for, Cory showed speed and skill running up front throughout the night.
Dirt Rider: So, how do you feel about the first American race?
Cory Graffunder: It’s a little different this year. We got a little practice racing in Brazil last week and we kind of got the cobwebs blown off there so, it’s a little bit different coming in here since it’s not the first race, I already got to battle it out. So I feel good right now, been training a lot.
DR: So how was Brazil for you?
CG: Ah, Brazil was all right, you know. Not the result I wanted. I rode really good the first half of the race and got up to third and things kind of went bad from there and I ended up seventh, so it was good and bad. I know that I can run the pace of the top two guys. It was good for me to get the confidence to come here and win, I just need to stay off the ground.
DR: How’s the bike working for you?
CG: The bike’s really good. We’re on the TXC310 this year. Every year it just gets better, you know. Husqvarna does a great job with it, and I think it’s the perfect bike for EnduroCross. Everybody takes 250Fs and builds them up, and we already have a 310 so it’s like a built 250 when we get it. And I just think a 450 is overkill, especially indoors. This bike is the perfect compromise–lightweight, horsepower, I mean, everything. It just seems to handle EnduroCross really well, with the chassis, the way it handles, the way it turns quick and the power is good. It’s good to have lots of power, but if you can’t use it, especially when it gets slippery out there, you’re kind of going backwards.
DR: What did you think the of the Vegas EX track layout?
CG: It was tight, a typical tight track but it was also easy. But obviously that can change really quickly, as soon as you put some water on it.
DR: What is your best obstacle on any given track?
CG: I usually do really well in the matrix, and the rock turn, too. Being tall helps in the rocks. I guess I just have good technique in the log matrix, I feel like I can get through it better than most. Being tall could help with that to, being able to change my weight front to back on the bike.
DR: Any obstacle that you dread? One that, every lap you think, “I don’t want to do this again!”
CG: My pet peeve at EnduroCross is when they put the tires on their sides on the ground. I don’t really ever have a problem with them, but…I just hate them [laughs]. I don’t know, I just don’t like it.
DR: What rounds are you most looking forward to?
CG: The X Games rounds are extra special since it’s part of the bigger event. The finals are always exciting and big since there are two main events, it’s the end of the year and you’re wrapping up the championship, hopefully anyway.
Be sure to check EnduroCross.com for the latest news, pictures and results from every round of the 2013 GEICO EnduroCross Championship. For more on Cory and his TXC310, go to Husqvarna-motorcyclesna.com.