Mike Brown took a hard-fought but deserving win at this weekend’s X Games Enduro X in Montjuic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, the FMF/KTM rider leading all 10 laps of the main event despite extreme pressure from Taddy Blazusiak, Colton Haaker and Cody Webb.
At 41 years of age, Brownie has as much fight as ever and fended off all threats before breaking away to claim the second X Games Gold Medal of his career.
“I got off to a good start and just kept my head down and didn’t look back,” said Brown. “I had a few scary moments, but overall I ran a good race until the last lap.”
Brown got hung up in the rocks on the final lap but managed to break free before Haaker got close.
“My arms were getting tired and I thought I could just creep though that new line without having to use my clutch, but my rear brake rotor got hung up between the rocks and it took a minute to get going,” explained Brown.
Colton Haaker ran a consistent race and took advantage of crashes by both Taddy Blazusiak and Cody Webb to finish second aboard his Rockstar Energy/Lucas Oil/JCR Honda.
“It was a lot of cat and mouse out there,” said Haaker. “There were four of us in the mix and I would gain a bit here and then lose a bit there. After Taddy and Cody went down I had second all to myself. If I had just kept pushing I might have caught Brownie when he got stuck in the rocks.
“It felt good to be up front again like I was in Vegas. Taddy and I were close at the start of the race, and for sure, there were four of us that could have won this thing.”
Cody Webb was in the running from the start, but a nasty crash took some of the wind out of the factory Beta rider’s sails. However, that didn’t stop the former national trials champ from coming out on top of a wicked exchange with Blazusiak.
“I didn’t have a great start but I was in good position in the first turn and I came out of the first obstacle pretty good,” said Webb. “I just kept charging and didn’t make any mistakes for the first few laps. There were four of us going for the lead and we were going at a pretty good pace.
“I went down really hard late in the race and when I got up I was hurting really bad but my bike was still running and I didn’t want to throw the opportunity away. My bars were super crooked, but on the last lap I saw Taddy and he obviously had crashed too because had lost a lot of steam. So I put an aggressive pass on him right before the final straight and then he came in hard and tried to punt me off the track, but I held my ground. I’m a big guy and he couldn’t know me over, so I came away with third and he got fourth.”
“It was difficult to pass out there, and Brownie took the holeshot and got away a bit,” said Blazusiak. “It was a crazy pace and I had a few close calls and Brown did too. I know, I was right behind him. I think I had something on Brown tonight, I had better speed in two places but he was blocking me good. But then I made a mistake and went over the bars on that log and went down hard. That’s what happens when you try to go for everything and try to win the race. That’s how I am.”
Once the race settled in, Husqvarna’s Cory Graffunder rode solo to fifth overall.
“I was mid-pack on the start and I got pushed wide, but I really wanted to get over that first log, I would have sucked to not get over that,” said Graffunder. “I was behind Ricky Dietrich for a few laps and by the time I got around him and into fifth the front-runners had kind of gapped us. I just couldn’t close it up and get in the mix with those guys. After that I was kind of in no-man’s land. The guys in front of me were leaving me and the guys behind me were a straight away back.”
1. Mike Brown (KTM)
2. Colton Haaker (Hon)
3. Cody Webb (Bet)
4. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
5. Cory Graddfunder (Hsq)
6. Kyle Redmond (KTM)
7. Gary Sutherlin (Kaw)
8. Bobby Prochnau (KTM)
9. Alfredo Gomez (Hsb)
10. Taylor Robert (Kaw)