Polish extreme off-road specialist Taddy Blazusiak has dominated this year’s GEICO AMA EnduroCross series, setting himself up to win a second straight EnduroCross title by sweeping the first four rounds of the series. At round five in Denver’s National Western Complex, the factory KTM rider came into the race with a chance to wrap up the title early, needing only to finish on the podium to do so. However, a damaged front brake caliper on the second lap of the main event slowed Taddy’s pace just enough to give Geoff Aaron the space he needed to delight the highly partisan crowed with his first win of the year.
Blazusiak did everything right in Denver. He turned the fastest lap in qualifying – nearly two seconds faster than any other rider; he won his heat race; and he grabbed the holeshot to start the main event. However, on the second lap, a piece of debris lodged in his front brake caliper, slowing the off-road star’s pace considerably. In the end, Blazusiak was only able to muster a fifth-place finish, leaving the championship chase to be settled at the series finale in Las Vegas on November 20th. “Of course I’m disappointed that things didn’t go the way I hoped they would, but that’s racing,” said Blazusiak. “It’s not really a big deal, after all it’s not like I got injured, it just means that I have to wait until the final round of the series in Las Vegas to try and win the title.”
A near full house packed the National Western Complex in Denver and most of them were Geoff Aaron fans since the 10-time national trials champ lives in nearby Bailey, Colorado. After an impressive 15-year career in trials, the 30-something Aaron has made a successful transition into EnduroCross, and in Denver he turned in the ride of his life. After Blazusiak tangled with Colton Haaker on the second lap, Aaron took the lead and never looked back. “I knew that Taddy was not directly behind me,” admitted Aaron. “I had a small fall and was able to remount quickly, but I knew that I didn’t have a ton of breathing room. Luckily, I kept charging while [Justin] Soule and [Colton] Haaker kept Taddy at bay, and I was able to take the win.”
In his rookie season on the EnduroCross circuit, Justin Soule has steadily moved up the pecking order, grabbing his first-ever podium in Oklahoma. In Denver, the Monster Kawasaki rider added another personal best by taking the runner-up finish and he now sits third overall in the series standings. According to Soule, it was all about being steady on the treacherous Denver course. “It was a dog fight at the beginning and I just tried to be steady,” said Soule. “I had some good lines and I tried to stick to those lines. It was nice pulling up on Geoff and getting to ride with him a little bit, he made a mistake that allowed me to get close but then I made a mistake on the next lap and went down. I’ve been extremely close to getting second before and it seems like something always happens, so I was pumped to make it happen tonight.”
After an impressive season in 2009, Colton Haaker had a relatively disappointing start to the 2010 season when he failed to qualify for the main event at the opening round in Vegas. Since then, however, the Lucas Oil backed rider has been stepping up his game and in Denver he nailed down a well-deserved third. “I got a really good start and I just put it down real hard on the first lap and caught up with Taddy and passed him at the start of the second lap,” said Haaker. “I took him wide and I thought it was a clean pass, but two turns later he just plowed me. We both went down, but I got going again in second behind Geoff. I really wanted to come out here and do well and I’m glad I was able to come away with a third.”
Cody Webb is another trials rider who is following in Geoff Aaron’s footsteps. The Gas Gas-backed rider won this year’s NATC/AMA National Trials Championship in early August and has since turned his attention to the EnduroCross schedule, where he has been quite impressive at times, although somewhat inconsistent. In Denver, Webb just missed transferring directly to the main event from his heat race and he to get there via the Semi, where he finished second. In the main event, Webb used his trials skills to finish a hard-fought seventh, just ahead of Ty Davis Racing Husqvarna’s Cory Graffunder.
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