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, a little GNCC versus Enduro.
Charlie Mullins took a giant step towards his first GNCC title with an impressive win at the Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Once again, his main rival in the title chase, Josh Strang, suffered a bit of bad luck when a rock jammed up the rear brake caliper on his FMF/Rockstar Makita Suzuki and cost the defending series champ valuable time in the pits. Mullins battle early on with his FMF/KTM teammate Kailub Russell, but then wicked it up near the end of the race and finished out with a minute-and-a-half lead at the checkers. This is a big week for Mullins since this coming Saturday is the final round of the Rekluse/AMA National Enduro Series in Upland, Indiana, and Mullins leads three-time champ Russell Bobbitt by a single point in the championship standings. It’s always exciting when championships are won on the track and at the final round, and which ever rider finishes ahead of the other at this one will take home all the marbles. Also, Keith Obermeyer of Obermeyer Yamaha in Jasper, Indiana, will be bringing a pre-production 2012 Yamaha WR450 to the Indiana enduro finale this Saturday, so for sure, we’ll be checking it out.
In the continuing saga of two-stroke versus four-stroke in eastern off-road race, eight-time national enduro champ Michael Lafferty, who recently dropped his 450 Husaberg for a 300 two-stroke in the enduro series, traded in his big 450 for a two-stroke at the Mountain Ridge GNCC. This was a huge move since GNCC races are much faster and more wide-open than enduros, so more horsepower usually trumps lighter and more nimble. But not only did “Junior” make the switch to the two-stroke, but he switched to a 250 instead of the 300 he’s been riding in the enduro series. “I was planning on riding the 250 at Indiana anyway, and this seemed like a good chance to try it out,” said Lafferty. “The 300 just seems to quick for the really tight stuff and I think it helped me today in the rocks.” Lafferty finished a respectable sixth in the slippery and rocky race.