Welcome to The Weekly Dirt, the place to go each Wednesday to catch up on the latest happenings in the realm of off-road motorcycling. This week’s Dirt is coming from the storm-ravaged Midwest.Two weekends ago the Indy 100 GNCC was canceled at the last minute due to torrential rains, which turned the parking area and pits into something resembling clam chowder. This past weekend the Train Robber National Enduro took place under similar conditions, although the soil in Bismarck, Arkansas, where the event was held, was better suited to handle the deluge.
KTM’s Charlie Mullins was ready for the conditions at the Train Robber and turned in a nearly flawless first test, as a driving rain filled the creeks and limited visibility. Mullins finished the first 12-mile test a full 19 seconds faster than Husaberg factory rider Michael Lafferty. Mullins steadily built on his lead over the rest of the 76-mile race and ended the race with a 30-second advantage over runner-up finisher Cory Buttrick.
Cory Buttrick has ridden the last few races while struggling with a mysterious stomach aliment. In Arkansas, the FMF/KTM rider was feeling much better and he results showed with a solid runner-up finish. Buttrick won the second test and overtook Lafferty in the final test to grab the second step of the podium over the eight-time champ.
Michael Lafferty finally has his big FE 570 Husaberg dialed into his liking and looked like he might finish second, although a slip-up in the final test dropped him to third. Lafferty is still fast as stink and is especially good when the going gets really tough. Don’t count “Junior” out for a win this year, he still has a few left in him.
Kiwi Rory Mead turned a few heads with a sixth place finish in his first-ever American enduro. Mead came to the United States to ride a few events and test the waters for a full-on assault in 2012. BTW, Mead was riding a YZ450F he borrowed from friend and fellow New Zealander Paul Whibley. The bike Mead rode was Whibley’s practice bike, which makes Mead’s finish even more impressive.
If you’re wondering where Russell Bobbitt finish, the three-time champ was down in seventh, riding with a brace on his left arm after tearing a ligament in his wrist while riding a local race. Bobbitt should be back up to full strength by the next round in Wyoming, but in the meantime, Mullins took the points lead from Bobbitt with his win, although it’s still just a three-point gap at the top.