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 an underground bunker in northeastern Oklahoma, where I’m holed up, and waiting out the weather.
A break in the GNCC, National Enduro and WORCS schedules over the past weekend made for a strong field at the 10th annual Gas Gas Off-Road Perry Mountain Challenge in Maplesville, Alabama, where FMF/KTM/Cycle Specialty took a dominating win over a large contingent of teams. Kailub Russell, Brad Bakken, Steward Baylor, Russell Bobbitt, Mike Brown, and Cory Buttrick teamed up to turn in the winning ride, marking the eighth time Team KTM has scored the overall victory. At one point, the factory guys in orange held a four-lap lead over runners-up Quality Time KTM, which featured John Dowd among its riders. In the end, Dowd and crew finished second ahead of the Cole Kirkpatrick-led Gas Gas Offroad entry.
In my humble opinion, Mike Brown is the most versatile rider on the planet, just a smidge ahead of David Knight. Brownie does moto, however, in addition to just about everything else, which makes him KTM’s go-to guy for out-of-the-ordinary events like the 24-hour. And like Knight, Brown is an animal and he more than carried his weight at Perry Mountain. During one of his stints, the former 125cc MX national champ had to stop periodically to kick the front axel back in after losing the axel nut. Once the axel was secured in the pits, Brown got back to rippin’ it.
The Gas Gas Offroad team (Cole Kirkpatrick, Carsten Cagle, Haydn Franklin, Jeff Melik, Stephen Edmondson and Ben Hobbs) suffered a mid-race mishap when the top shock bolt worked loose and fell out on the team’s Gas Gas XC 300 Race model, forcing team member Stephen Edmondson to be towed back into the pits. Amazingly, crew chief Ben Weathers and crew got Edmondson back on course in just 13 minutes, but the time lost still dropped the team outside of the top five overall. After a strong ride through the night segment which moved Gas Gas Offroad into fourth, Ben Hobbs made a pass on Team Action Kawasaki to move the Spanish bike into third overall for the race and securing the final step of the podium.