Russell Bobbitt kicked off the 2011 Rekluse/AMA National Enduro Series with a dominate win in South Carolina over the weekend. The FMF/KTM rider won four of the six special tests and finished the race with a 48-second margin over runner-up Brad Bakken. It was a welcomed return to form for Bobbitt, a three-time national enduro champ, who claimed only one win all last year.
Russell Bobbitt was not in the best shape coming into the opening round of the national enduro series after suffering a practice crash on Tuesday and waking up in the hospital. The Georgia native admitted to being a “little fuzzy” on Friday, but things cleared up for him on Sunday and he was fast and smooth.
Brad Bakken surprised the series regulars with a runner-up finish at the opener. Bakken spent a big part of the off-season practicing with Bobbitt and, for sure, both parties benefitted from it. Bakken won the fourth test on his privateer KTM and served notice that 2011 will be good year for the Virginia Hare Scrambles champ.
Eight-time national champ Michael Lafferty would like nothing better than to get a ninth title, and he got off to his best start in years with a third at the Sandlapper. “Junior” is notorious for being a slow starter, but he seems to have found his groove on the 570 Husaberg, after splitting his time between the 390 and 450 models last year.
Cory Buttrick started the 75 mile race with a strong pace but slowed after getting ill at the halfway mark. The factory KTM rider still managed a fourth place finish on his 350 XCF and is in no way out of the hunt.
Sixteen-year-old Steward Baylor Jr. was a solid fifth, after tying for the second fastest time in the second test. This was just the fourth national event Baylor has ridden and right now he is looking like a future star of the series.
Charlie Mullins didn’t get off to the best start to his title defense, finishing sixth in South Carolina after struggling in the early tests. Being the first pro rider to start each section, the factory KTM rider (riding the 450 SXF) had trouble reading the trail and missed a few turns in the early tests. In the fifth tests he took a stick in the radiator and had to stop for repairs.
Factory KTM mechanic Tony Hall changes the triple clamp off-set from 22mm to 19mm for tight woods on Cory Buttrick’s bike. The factoy bikes are equipped with the new KTM Hard Equipment adjustable off-set triple clamps.
ISDE standout Mandi Mastin switched to Husqvarna not long before the race and she easily topped the Women’s division, beating out Kelly Hall and Louise Forsley.
Brad Bakken talks to Rekluse’s Patrick Koether before the race. Bakken ran the Rekluse manual clutch on his KTM 250 two-stroke and railed in the soft South Carolina sand.
Ted Campbell of Leo Vince was on hand to help riders with spark arrestor issues. Leo Vince will be handling the sound testing at National Enduros in 2011.