2019 Sumter National Enduro Race Report

Russell Bobbitt takes a surprise win in South Carolina

Russell Bobbitt
Russell Bobbitt won the first three tests and then held on to take his first national win since 2016 ahead of Steward Baylor at the Sumter National Enduro.Shan Moore

Russell Bobbitt took a surprise win at the Sumter National Enduro in Wedgefield, South Carolina, round 1 of the 2019 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing. The 33-year-old Georgia rider retired from full-time racing for nearly two years and came into the Sumter event with no expectations. The Gnarly Routes KTM rider last won a national event in 2016.

However, at the Sumter event Bobbitt was at the top of his form while outrunning defending national champ Tely Energy Racing’s Steward Baylor by 16 seconds after six tests and 64 miles of racing. Bobbitt got off on the right foot by posting the fastest time in the first three tests of the day. Heading into the fourth test, Bobbitt enjoyed a 54-second advantage over Max Motorsports/FXR Racing/Husqvarna’s Evan Smith, with Baylor another four seconds back.

Steward Baylor
Baylor won the final three tests of the day and was able to move ahead of Evan Smith, but he was unable to catch Bobbitt and had to settle for second overall.Shan Moore

Baylor, who has been dealing with a nagging knee injury, made things worse when he took a practice crash a week before, but he was still able to get settled in during the second half of the race and started reeling off test wins in an effort to catch Bobbitt. Baylor would catch and pass Smith in the final test of the day, but he would come up 16 seconds short of catching Bobbitt. The final tally showed Bobbitt with the win, followed by Baylor in second, and Smith in third.

“It was super fun to be back on the two-stroke,” Bobbitt said. “It felt like old times. The first three tests went well and I kept it clean. The wet sand conditions make up some of my favorite style of terrain to ride. I caught a flow early on and rode well all day. The last three tests went well too, with good times, and I was stoked to be in the top five.”

Evan Smith
Smith overcame a couple of crashes to matched a career-best with a third overall.Shan Moore

Baylor was happy with second after finishing 2-4-5 in the first three tests.

“I started the day off riding very tight and almost with a mental block,” Baylor said. “I really found myself struggling in the first half, but for the final half of the race, I was able to turn the day around and win the final three tests. It just wasn’t enough to close the gap that I had lost in the first three.”

Zach Hayes
Zach Hayes (KTM) overcame a crash in the second test to finish seventh overall and first in the NEPro2 class. “Seventh overall is a personal best, so I’m really happy with that,” Hayes said. “After I crashed, I just put my head down and started charging.”Shan Moore

Smith matched a career-best with his third-place finish.

“I rode tight most of the day and I just didn’t have that comfort level I was looking for, but I think I was capable of going faster,” Smith said. “I had a couple of crashes that cost me some time, but I picked up some good lines and for the most part it was a clean day. I was ahead of Steward going into the last test, but I jammed my wrist and struggled to hold on.”

This year’s Sumter Enduro was highly anticipated since it marked the 50th anniversary of the event, and the SERMA Club did not disappoint, putting on a near-perfect event. The turnout was massive, as well, with more than 800 riders filling the start grids. In fact, the event sold out within 10 minutes after sign-up opened on the internet, which is another sign that National Enduro is alive and well in the USA.

Mike Lafferty
Eight-time National Enduro champ Mike Lafferty came out of retirement to compete, riding a KTM 500 EXC-F to the win in the AA division. Mike thrilled fans with his go-for-it style and his trademark smile.Shan Moore
Thorn Devlin
GasGas North America’s Thorn Devlin looked impressive all day and rounded out the top five, finishing 36 seconds ahead of Ohio Husqvarna rider Cory Buttrick. “The day started off a little rough,” Devlin said. “I was trying some things out. I lost my brakes in the first test, so I was like a pinball going through those tight trees. We got things sorted out and the rest of the day went great. I’m super happy to finish fifth and I feel like I’m a step ahead of last year.”Shan Moore
Mike Witkowski
Mike Witkowski turned in a career-best ride with fourth overall. The Beta USA rider also finished second in test four, which is another first for him. “I rode well in the first four tests,” Witkowski said. “I struggled a bit in the last two tests. I think I just got tight. Those tests were definitely rougher and a bit tighter. We had a good day, for sure, and I think we improved over last year’s finishes.”Shan Moore
Liam Draper
New Zealand’s Liam Draper put his Tely Energy KTM into ninth overall, which was good enough for second in the NEPro2 division.Shan Moore
Mackenzie Tricker
Mackenzie Tricker (KTM) got the season off to a good start with a big win in the Women’s Elite class, topping defending champion Tayla Jones (Husqvarna) by more than a minute.Shan Moore

Sumter National Enduro Overall Results

| 1 | Russell Bobbitt | KTM | | 2 | Steward Baylor | KTM | | 3 | Evan Smith| Husqvarna | | 4 | Mike Witkowski | Beta | | 5 | Thorn Devlin | GasGas | | 6 | Cory Buttrick | Husqvarna | | 7 | Zach Hayes | KTM | | 8 | Jake Froman | Husqvarna | | 9 | Liam Draper | KTM | | 10 | Tegan Temple | KTM |

2019 Kenda AMA National Enduro Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Russell Bobbitt KTM 30
2 Steward Baylor KTM 25
3 Evan Smith Husqvarna 21
4 Mike Witkowski Beta 18
5 Thorn Devlin GasGas 16
6 Cory Buttrick Husqvarna 15
7 Zach Hayes KTM 14
8 Jake Froman Husqvarna 13
9 Liam Draper KTM 12
10 Tegan Temple KTM 11