The Season that Almost Wasn't - Dirt Rider Magazine

When you have a rider that is extremely talented and that rider dominates almost every Geico EnduroCross event he contests, you expect that he will be appearing at the opening round of said series, right? Well, it almost didn't happen for Taddy Blazusiak and the 2009 EnduroCross Series. As one of the biggest personalities of the sport, the jovial "Kid from Poland," Tadeuz Blazusiak had to fight like crazy to retain his factory ride to come over and ride the gnarliest series in the U.S. Here's why: KTM had sponsor commitments to race in the 2009 Geico EnduroCross presented by E3 Spark Plugs season with a factory rider. Although Taddy was the obvious choice, with the U.S. economy taking a nosedive and some clashes with his personal sponsors, KTM decided to only send motocrosser-turned-off-roader Mike Brown. Taddy was informed he wasn't needed for the series.However, before we go any further in this story, let's take a trip back to 2007: Maxxis EnduroCross was being dominated by KTM's David Knight, the off-road phenom from the Isle of Man. For the Vegas Finale, KTM brought over a virtually unknown Polish trials rider named, (yes, you guessed it) Tadeuz Blazusiak who had just won the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria and impressed the right people at the company.Why was he brought over, you ask? Pretty much to help Knighter win the Championship. David won the championship, but lost out on the $50,000 Geico Triple Crown payout. Knighter was the only rider who could win it because he had already won the two out of three designated "money rounds." Vegas was the final round. He didn't win. Taddy did.Team tactics were never discussed before the race; they were assumed. In the race, Knighter went wide in a corner and Taddy took the inside line and got around him. Knighter expected that Taddy would slow down and let Knighter pass for the lead and the loot. Taddy had a lot riding on this race and knew it (a possible factory ride and an opportunity to contest the 2008 series, again, on a factory bike and contract). Why would he slow down? A split second decision saw Taddy take control of the race and Knighter fall apart. By the way, think of the thought process that had to have been going on in Taddy's head weighing the pro's and con's of "Do I win," or "Do I take second place and what are the end results," all the while engrossed in a battle for the lead!? Impossible for anyone else.It proved to be a pivotal move for Taddy as he was later named as a factory rider to contest the 2008 series. It started out very well for Taddy as he collected the first win of the series in Las Vegas. He was fit, fast and motivated. Then, one week before the second round of EX, Taddy suffered a serious facial injury at a WORCS race which required extensive reconstructive surgery. Taddy walked out of the hospital with a brand new terminator, er...I mean, titanium eye socket, both cheek bones and his upper jaw and was forced to sit out until round four in Denver, CO where he finished third. Six months of hard work disappeared in one day. His obvious disappointment at being unable to make a full attack on the complete series was evident. However, as my Grandmother used to say, "he picked himself up by the bootstraps," and continued to impress fans and pounded away on the track to win the next three rounds.So, imagine it is a few months before the Geico EnduroCross presented by E3 Spark Plugs kicks off in July and you the rider are told, "You're not going." What do you do? Well, if you are Taddy Blazusiak you fight like hell to retain your ride. And that's what he did. Taddy made some personal calls to Red Bull and was able to work out a deal with them to cover some of his racing expenses. KTM North America agreed to supply and transport his bikes, and KTM Austria supplied factory parts. Taddy will pay for the rest. This young and gritty racer is so determined to hold that number one plate at the conclusion of the 2009 EnduroCross series that he has up-rooted his life and moved 6,000 miles from Poland to the States to be able to ride and practice all the time. He pays his own rent, truck payments, travel expenses and has some partial race expenditures.We are now two rounds into the series and guess who has been on top of the box both times? Yep. Taddy has won Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Of course, there is no predicting what's going to happen for the remaining four rounds because the caliber of talented riders we have in this series is staggering. However, Taddy would probably be able to guarantee you that he'll come out fighting like a man possessed to be on that podium. It looks like the one-man battle he took on to retain his ride was well worth the sacrifices he has made. Sometimes, the word "No," just means, "find a different way."_Laurette Nicoll is a passionate and hard-working motorsports aficionada. Nicoll has been announcing two and four wheeled sports since 2003 and being an active motocross rider herself gives her the inside line on bringing the racers' perspective to fans. Laurette co-hosts the live in-arena broadcasting of EnduroCross events.__Check out Laurette's website for more about this busy, motorcycle loving lady._