2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report

Wade Young tops extreme off-road event in Pennsylvania.

Wade Young at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Wade Young’s win at the 2019 Tough Like RORR was his first victory in America. “I enjoyed the race,” he said. “I found it challenging. I was a little bit tired at the end, but just tried to keep the wheels turning and keep flowing and just make no mistakes. It was a lot of single-track and a lot of rocks. The rocks were the difficult part, and also just very tight. [There was] no place to rest. Then just trying to make it through the slippery rocks, especially with the rain and moss; that got challenging.Shan Moore

South African Wade Young topped this year’s running of the Tough Like RORR extreme off-road event in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, crossing the finish line with 36 minutes to spare over runner-up and fellow Sherco rider Nick Fahringer. Meanwhile, Jake Stapleton, an Australian living in Canada, finished third on a KTM. In addition to two qualifying races on Saturday, which served to narrow the 180-plus field down to 70 riders, this year’s finale on Sunday featured two laps of a gnarly, rock-strewn 17-mile course.

Nick Fahringer races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Nick Fahringer decided to ride a four-stroke in the race and explained his reasoning afterward. “It’s funny; I have a love-hate relationship with it,” he noted. “I want to ride the two-stroke, but I always do well on the four-stroke. Honestly, [of] the bikes I have in the garage, it was in the best shape, so I was just like, ‘Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Let’s ride the bike that’s running well.’ My two-stroke is a year old and it just needed a few odds and ends. I’m so busy with that life thing. The Sherco 300 four-stroke has always treated me well. I’ve got new suspension tuned in from SoPro that is working well. Kenda is constantly developing hard enduro tires for us, so I’m on kind of a new combination today that blew me away and really helped me ride the way I wanted to ride out here.”Shan Moore

Former pro trials rider Quinn Wentzel grabbed the holeshot to start the 34-mile final and led until Young passed him in one of the faster sections of the course. From there on, Young quickly started to put time on the field, finishing lap 1 with a 20-minute advantage over Fahringer, who had passed Wentzel for second earlier in the lap.

Quinn Wentzel races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
After the race, Quinn Wentzel talked about riding the event without brakes or a shifter. “I caught up to Nick in a gnarly rock section and next thing I know, my rear brake pedal is busted off,” he explained. “Also, my shifter was busted off all the way down to a nub, so, I was missing shifts and I could barely stop, so I really had to take it really easy on any downhill sections there were. As I was going slow, taking it easy, I got passed by fourth place. [He and I] battled for a while. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to catch back up because I just was too timid about going down hills and not being able to stop. Overall, I felt pretty good. It was a good race.”Shan Moore

On lap 2, Wentzel broke his rear brake pedal off on a rock and was forced to finish the race without the use of his rear brake. He also broke the shift lever of his Husqvarna, which put the Ohio rider in a tough position on a very rugged course. Stapleton was able to take advantage of Wentzel’s misfortune and moved up into third.

Jake Stapleton races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Jake Stapleton explained his race shortly after its conclusion. “It started off a little rough,” he said. “I got dead last off my start and got absolutely filled in with mud in the first corner. So the first sort of 20 minutes I got passed by a bunch of guys. Then once we got to the harder stuff, I just started to get into my groove and just flow a little bit and just picking off people one by one.”Shan Moore

After more than three grueling hours of racing, Young took a dominating win, followed by Fahringer, with Stapleton in third and Wentzel in fourth. Rounding out the top five was 37-year-old Stephen Edmondson.

“It definitely feels good to win it,” Young said, who pocketed $5,000 for his victory. “I think this is my first win in America, so I’m happy with that. I hope it’s not the last.”

Stephen Edmondson races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Veteran enduro rider Stephen Edmondson used his experience to finish fifth among the young guns.Shan Moore

Fahringer took home $2,600 for second.

“I got the holeshot and then somebody on a KTM went by and we both took a wrong turn,” Fahringer explained. “So I’m looking down at everybody passing us down in this gulley, so I side-hilled down into that ravine. I think I was probably in sixth or fifth place and just started picking people off.”

Michael Cook and Wade Young race at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Michael Cook (front) and Wade Young go for the same line between a tree during one of Saturday’s qualifying race.Shan Moore

Stapleton, who claimed a check for $1,500, was 12 minutes behind Fahringer for third. “I’ve just been watching this race online over the last couple years; I’ve wanted to get into this extreme enduro thing and I’ve never really done it,” Stapleton noted. “So this is sort of a first for me and I enjoyed it.”

Despite riding the final lap with no rear brake, Wentzel was able to manage an impressive fourth, ahead of Edmondson. Ed Emery was sixth on a KTM, while Tennessee extreme specialist Josh Rooken-Smith was seventh. Jason Gilleland (Husqvarna), Jarrett Mohn (KTM), and Adam Hartnagel (KTM) rounded out the top 10.

Quinn Wentzel races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Quinn Wentzel (15) grabbed the holeshot to start Sunday’s final.Shan Moore

2019 Tough Like RORR Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Wade Young Sherco
2 Nick Fahringer Sherco
3 Jake Stapleton KTM
4 Quinn Wentzel Husqvarna
5 Stephen Edmondson KTM
6 Ed Emery KTM
7 Josh Rooken-Smith KTM
8 Jason Gilleland Husqvarna
9 Jarrett Mohn KTM
10 Adam Hartnagel KTM
Nikolas Dudukovich races at the 2019 Tough Like RORR Race Report.
Nikolas Dudukovich makes a big save en route to 13th overall.Shan Moore