Michael Lafferty gave Husaberg their first-ever national enduro win with a come-from-behind victory at the 60th running of the Alligator Enduro in Daytona Beach, Florida – round three of the Rekluse/AMA National Enduro Series.
The Alligator Enduro has the reputation of being one of the toughest events on the national schedule and this year’s edition carried on that tradition. Flooding in the low-lying areas due to a very wet February forced some sections of the course to be thrown out, and organizers eventually shortened the event to 57 miles and five sections. Of course, the wet nature of the trail made for some spectacular mud holes, and added to the difficulty of the event for the 500 participants on hand. Ultimately, the demanding course played right into Lafferty’s hand.”I like it when the events are tough,” said Lafferty. “When the trail is real hard and demanding, and it doesn’t flow, and it kind of beats you up a little bit – I kind of like that.”Lafferty was particularly fast in the fourth section, which is where the nastiest bogs were found. It was here that the New Jersey native gained most of his time, making up about 30 seconds on defending series champ Russell Bobbitt, who at the time was leading the event on his Shock Doctor KTM
The leader in the initial part of the race, however, was former GNCC and World Enduro Champ David Knight, who is in Florida training for the upcoming FIM season. Knighter held a five-second lead over Bobbitt after the opening section and extended that to a nine-second advantage after the second section. However, it all came undone for the Brit at the midway point of the race when his KTM suffered engine problems.With Knight’s departure from the event, Bobbitt and Lafferty were elevated to first and second, with Bobbitt holding a 29-second advantage over Lafferty after three tests. The fourth section was a game changer for Lafferty, however.”Up until the fourth section I was thinking a lot. And they told me there was going to be a lot of water in the fourth section, so I just decided to stop thinking and ride the thing,” said Lafferty. “A lot of guys were trying to sneak around the outside of the mud holes and I just went for it and hit the middle lines. Instead of shifting the thing a lot, I just left it in one gear and went straight through it all. It was a big gamble, but it paid off.”
At the finish, Lafferty edged Bobbitt by nine seconds to take the win. Nick Fahringer made it two Husabergs on the podium with a third place finish, matching his best-ever national placing.Factory KTM rider Brad Bakken finished fourth ahead of 2008 Alligator Enduro winner Wally Palmer, riding the same Kawasaki that he won the ’08 race on. Meanhile, Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney and GEICO/Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jimmy Jarrett rounded out the top seven.Obermeyer/Am-Pro Yamaha’s Charile Mullins’ day was done just a mile into the race when he suffered clutch problems after taking a hard fall on the sandy trail. Meanwhile, KTM’s Cory Buttrick, who held the points lead going into the event, elected not to race because of blisters he developed at Tuesday’s GNCC round in Lake Wales, Florida.
With three rounds in the book, Bobbitt now holds the series points lead with 71 points, followed by Lafferty with 69 and Buttrick with 55. Fahringer (52) and Mullins (48) round out the top five.