2019 Chestnut Corner Full Gas Sprint Enduro Race Report

Ryan Sipes tops the best from the East and West at the series finale.

Ryan Sipes hadn’t raced a Sprint Enduro in more than a year, so he wasn’t sure where he would stack up against the pro talent who showed up in South Carolina.
Ryan Sipes hadn’t raced a Sprint Enduro in more than a year, so he wasn’t sure where he would stack up against the pro talent who showed up in South Carolina.Shan Moore

The Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series wrapped up its 2019 schedule with the Chestnut Corner round in Laurens, South Carolina, which also doubled as this year’s US ISDE camp. All three of the US Trophy Teams (World, Junior, and Women’s) showed up to race the finale and participate in the ISDE camp in preparation for the 2019 event in Portugal this November 11–16.

After two days of racing, Red Bull KTM rider Ryan Sipes came out on top of a fierce battle with FMF KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell for the overall win, topping the multitime GNCC champ by 22 seconds. As usual, Sipes drew on his motocross background to dominate the Cross test, posting the fastest time on five of his six runs.

“I had no clue where I’d be against these guys since I haven’t raced one of these all year; I didn’t know where my speed would be, so I’m really happy,” Sipes said. “I knew I would do okay in the Cross test, I just wasn’t sure about the Enduro test. I got a little lucky with this woods test. It was technical, but not very tight, so that played to my strengths.”

Kailub Russell kept the pressure on Sipes all weekend and even led the event on a couple of occasions.
Kailub Russell kept the pressure on Sipes all weekend and even led the event on a couple of occasions.Shan Moore

Meanwhile, Russell won the Enduro test three of six times en route to second overall.

“I made a lot of mistakes,” Russell admitted. “It was tough—super dry and slick—and I just couldn’t keep it off the ground. I’ve only fallen like two or three times all year at these races and I probably had four falls this weekend. It’s hard to compete for the win when you’re on the ground. Ryan was in a league of his own on the Cross test, but I had some fast times in the Enduro test. I got in the lead on Monday after the Enduro test, but then I fell in the Cross test and threw it away. Then I was close going into the final test, so I went for it and fell again.”

Taylor Robert had a short adjustment period to the woods section.
Taylor Robert had a short adjustment period to the woods section.Shan Moore

Third overall went to Taylor Robert, who won the ISDE Individual overall award in 2015 in Spain. Robert got off to a slow start on day 1, and was sitting in 10th after two tests. However, the FMF KTM Factory Racing rider worked his way up into third by the end of the day.

“Even though this woods section wasn’t very tight, it’s still tighter than anything I ride, and it’s mainly the tree roots [which] I don’t get to ride, but it’s good prep for Six Days and it’s always good to practice something different,” Robert said.

Steward Baylor rode a KTM 500 to fourth place overall.
Steward Baylor rode a KTM 500 to fourth place overall.Shan Moore

Steward Baylor rode a KTM 500 to fourth overall. The Tely Energy Racing KTM rider competes on a 450 in GNCC and National Enduro competition, so he spent most of the first day adjusting to the big KTM.

“The 500 is a big change, and I’ve been trying to adapt to it,” Steward explained. “It didn’t help that I stuck my bad knee into the ground on the first day. I always start slow anyway, so I picked up the pace on the second day and was riding pretty good.”

Thad Duvall was fourth overall and finished the season second in the point standings.
Thad Duvall was fourth overall and finished the season second in the point standings.Shan Moore

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall rounded out the top five, which solidified his runner-up status in the series final standings. Meanwhile, Grant Baylor rode a KTM 500 to sixth overall. Like his brother Steward, the Tely Energy Racing-backed rider will be racing a 500 in Portugal, though on the Junior Trophy Team.

Evan Smith won the Pro2 class with a seventh place overall finish.
Evan Smith won the Pro2 class with a seventh place overall finish.Shan Moore

Evan Smith topped the Pro2 class with a seventh place overall finish. The Max Motorsports/FXR/Husqvarna rider also went home with the Pro2 title for 2019.

“This was kind of a sketchy track, so it was important to be consistent and not make any mistakes, and aside from a couple of crashes on the first day I was able to do that,” Smith shared.

Jordan Ashburn put his KX450 into eighth overall and fourth in the final series standings.
Jordan Ashburn put his KX450 into eighth overall and fourth in the final series standings.Shan Moore

Rounding out the top 10 were Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn, Trail Jesters KTM’s Ben Kelley, and GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin, respectively.

Josh Hill made a surprise appearance at the Chestnut Corner Sprint Enduro.
Josh Hill made a surprise appearance at the Chestnut Corner Sprint Enduro.Shan Moore

Making a surprise appearance was Josh Hill. The former Supercross star finished 13th in the first Cross test and 12th in the Enduro test, but then withdrew due to an issue with his eye.

Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang went down in the second test of the weekend and injured his shoulder.
Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang went down in the second test of the weekend and injured his shoulder.Shan Moore

Also of note, Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang, the defending series champ, crashed in the second test and dislocated his shoulder.

MacKenzie Tricker topped Brandi Richards and Tayla Jones to win the Women’s Pro class.
MacKenzie Tricker topped Brandi Richards and Tayla Jones to win the Women’s Pro class.Shan Moore

MEP MX KTM’s MacKenzie Tricker switched to a KTM 350 instead of her usual 250 and came away with her first win of the season. Brandi Richards finished second, while newly crowned Women’s champ Tayla Jones was third on a Husqvarna.

“I started off the first day with a couple of test wins, but I crashed a couple of times and Tayla won the day,” Tricker said. “I was able to get it together on the second day and come away with the overall, so I’m pretty happy since it’s my first overall win in this series in over a year.”

Brody Johnson won the Pro-Am class in 18th overall, ahead of Zach Nash (20th overall) and Brewer Cawley (23rd overall).

2019 Chestnut Corner Sprint Enduro Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Ryan Sipes KTM
2 Kailub Russell KTM
3 Taylor Robert KTM
4 Thad Duvall Husqvarna
5 Steward Baylor KTM
6 Grant Baylor KTM
7 Evan Smith Husqvarna
8 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki
9 Ben Kelley KTM
10 Thorn Devlin GasGas

2019 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Championship Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Kailub Russell KTM 442
2 Thad Duvall Husqvarna 348
3 Josh Strang Kawasaki 307
4 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki 254
5 Craig DeLong Husqvarna 201
6 Josh Toth KTM 168
7 Layne Michael Husqvarna 131
8 Ben Kelley KTM 90
9 Steward Baylor KTM 75
10 Grant Baylor KTM 61