Photos by Adam Booth and Chris Green
Just when you think the GEICO EnduroCross series couldn’t get any more exciting, a race like Ontario, California pops onto the schedule and provides fans with a thrilling night of action that has everyone asking the same two questions: how long will Taddy Blazusiak’s dominance continue, and will EnduroCross ever cease to surprise us?
The friendly KTM rider put on yet another great performance, bagging his second main event win of the season with an epic ride late in the evening. Taddy’s day started with setting the fastest time during the MVP Racing Hot Lap, which he rode so aggressively that he actually ripped one of his new Dunlop tires partially off the rim. A win in his Expert Heat race gave Taddy an awesome gate pick for the main event, and it looked as if it was going to be another Taddy show when the Polish racer grabbed a commanding holeshot in front of Beta’s Cody Webb, who won his respective heat race. The two separated themselves from the rest of the field, but right around the halfway mark Blazusiak bobbled and allowed Webb to sneak around and into the lead. An AMA Trials champion with amazing technical skills, Webb negotiated the course with a commanding smoothness and maintained the lead for several laps before a small error opened the door for Taddy to get back around and eventually take the checkers.
From the stands, it appeared that the pressure got to Webb, but on the podium Cody revealed that his fitness was not where he wanted it to be. He mentioned that he plans to ride more motocross in the near future to help boost his endurance. Rounding out the podium was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soule’—think it’s a coincidence that the three heat winners were the three podium finishers? Soule’ was all smiles after his heat race win but did not hide his disappointment after finishing second runner up in the main. Justin maintained that he is fully recovered from his shoulder injury incurred in Sacramento earlier this season, but missing the X Games and then finishing in third at Ontario were clearly not on his list of summer goals. In truth, Soule’ rode a great race—he hounded Husqvarna’s Kyle Redmond for the majority of the main before knocking Kyle out of third—but it’s obvious that Soule’ wants to get a win.
Redmond rode great and earned his fourth-place finish, which was nearly stolen by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Taylor Robert, who was charging toward the end of the main after working his way up through the pack following a tough first lap. Lucas Oil/ Rockstar-backed Colton Haaker finished sixth after earning a spot in the main via a heat race win, although the young racer looked frantic on the track and had a number of setbacks. Other speedy main event participants included full-time construction contractor Ryan Rodgers and Honda-mounted Jamie Lanza, both of whom took home semi wins and showed serious speed on their way into the mains.
X Games Enduro-X Gold Medalist Mike Brown had a tough night in Ontario. His day started out well with a great time in the qualifying hot laps, but numerous falls in his heat race and more trouble in the semi saw Brownie qualifying through the Last Chance Qualifier. Make no mistake, the KTM rider was hauling; he came into the short first turn nearly a bike length in front of his competition in the heat race, and he was leaving the throttle on going into obstacles longer than anyone else. Perhaps it was the fact he was leaving for the ISDE in Germany less than 24 hours later, or it could have been the obnoxious drunken fan that was screaming obscenities at Brown throughout the night. Whatever the reason, Mike seemed flustered yet chose to salvage some points in seventh overall and just put the rough evening behind him.
Speaking of the International Six Days Enduro, team member Destry Abbott continued his impressive run of EnduroCross finishes by yet again making it to the main event. Abbott showed great speed, solid fitness and mega determination on his way to an eighth place finish on the night; he was charging hard and looked as if he had a ton of fun. There’s no doubt that Destry’s massive cheering section helped motivate him throughout the evening.
Three surprise non-qualifiers included Geoff Aaron, Kevin Rookstool, Bobby Prochnau and Cory Graffunder, all of whom got caught up in traffic, bottlenecks or crashes at one point or another. Fortunately, these riders got to compete again after the LCQ in the Baja Designs night race, which was won by Ryan Sandoval. Sandoval made a pass for the lead in the final turn to take home the $500 cash prize for first.
The night also included several support class main events. Sixteen-year-old Ty Tremaine, who also took home first in the TrialsCross class, won the Open Amateur main event. Kurt Nicoll grabbed top honors in the 35+ Vet class over Dirt Rider test rider Tod Sciaqua, while Canada’s Chantelle Bykerk won the women’s main event over Nicole Madsen and trials ace Louise Forsley.
From here, the series takes a three-week break before heading to Denver, Colorado for the fourth round of the GEICO EnduroCross series. As with any EnduroCross, there’s no telling what the next round will hold, but you can bet that there are going to be sparks flying in the Mile High city! In the meantime, stay tuned to www.endurocross.com for more info, and check your local listings or www.motorsportshour.com for information on GEICO EnduroCross TV coverage.
Ontario, GEICO EnduroCross, presented by Lucas Oil
Expert Main Event results:
Check out the video highlights from the 2012 Ontario, California round of the GEICO EnduroCross series, presented by Lucas Oil.