Ben Kelley Rocks Tough Like RORR

Kelley tops Josh Toth and Grant Baylor for extreme win

Ben Kelley took home a check for $5,000 for the win. It was the Trail Jesters Racing KTM rider’s second win at the race, having also won in 2016.Darrin Chapman

Ben Kelley capitalized on his rock-riding experience (and his long legs) to win this weekend’s Tough Like RORR Extreme Off-road Event near Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, beating out Josh Toth and Grant Baylor in the process.

Tough Like RORR is held in an active mining pit outside of town, and it features suitable obstacles for an extreme off-road race, including endless rock gardens, nearly vertical climbs, and treacherous downhills.

Kelley did a masterful job of navigating the nasty terrain, taking the lead in Sunday’s three-and-half-hour main event just two miles into the race and then pulling away to a safe victory.

“It feels really good to win,” Kelley said. “After winning in 2016 and then missing the podium altogether last year because of mechanical problems, I really wanted to win this race this year and it feels good to get it done.”

Here’s a look at this year’s race thanks to photographer Darrin Chapman.

Josh Toth rode one of the new KTM 250 XC-W TPI to second place. Toth said the new two-stroke was suited for extreme racing.  “That bike is perfect for this kind of race,” said Toth. “There’s always traction because it’s always adjusting for the conditions.”Darrin Chapman
Grant Baylor finished third, despite starting from a second wave grid position. “I broke my chain during one of the qualifying race which meant I had to start from the second row in the main,” said Baylor. “By the time I got to the first big uphill there was riders stuck all over it, so I was about last by the time I got through that mess.”Darrin Chapman
Tough like RORR was a good omen for the US Men’s Junior Trophy Team hopes, in that the top three placers at the race made up the US squad. Josh Toth (left), Ben Kelley (center) and Grant Baylor, will make up the US Men’s Junior Trophy Team at this year’s ISDE in Chile in November.Darrin Chapman
Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn led the main event after the start, but settled into fourth place at the finish. “I got a great start in the main event and led until making a mistake on a big hill and dropped to second,” said Ashburn. “A little over two hours in, I derailed my chain. After I got it back going I was dehydrated from getting hung up in numerous spots. In the 100+ degree heat indexes I was forced to cruise in with a fourth place finish."Darrin Chapman
Tely Racing’s Zack Nolan rode a steady race to finish out the top five on his KTM.Darrin Chapman
“Wild” Wally Palmer is always a crowd favorite no matter where he goes, and he had plenty of support from the fans in Pennsylvania.Darrin Chapman
An unidentified rider pushes through one of the tougher sections. Tough Like RORR consists of three two qualifying races on Saturday, one qualifying race on Sunday morning and then a main event on Sunday afternoon and each race gets progresively more difficult.Darrin Chapman
Taylor Johnston won the Women’s class ahead of Anne Lisa Davis and Jenn Woynar.Darrin Chapman
AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna’s Logan Lowrey came all the way from Missouri to claim a solid sixth place finish.Darrin Chapman

2018 250 Class Championship Point Standings

Position Rider Brand
1 Ben Kelley KTM
2 Josh Toth KTM
3 Grant Baylor KTM
4 Jordan Ashburn Beta
5 Zack Nolan KTM
6 Logan Lowrey Husqvarna
7 Nick Fahringer Sherco
8 Stephen Edmondson KTM
9 Ed Emery Husqvarna
10 Ryder LeBlond KTM