Pro Diary: Jason Raines' AMA National Enduro Race Report - Dirt Rider Magazine

Series: AMA National EnduroLocation: Forest Hill, LADate: April 5, 2009The 4th round of the AMA National Enduro series made its way to the southern part of Louisiana and the conditions where absolutely perfect. The race had originally been scheduled for the weekend before (May 29) but after massive rainfall slapped the southeast, the race had to be canceled and re-scheduled for the next weekend. I was amazed at how good the conditions where considering just one week before the parking area was underwater!The soil has a mix of sand and medium-hard soil. This was by far the most open of the enduros up to this point. All the sections had a good flow and the temperatures hovered in the mid 70's, with humidity pretty high.We had a mile transfer heading into the first section which where all woods. It was a good warm-up prior to the first section. I thought I was warm-up and ready heading into the first test, but I was wrong.The first test was about 5 miles in length and I just couldn't get into a rhythm. I crashed pretty good 2 times and in such a short test, little mistakes put you way off the pace. At the end of the test I was 5th fastest, but lost 45 seconds to Lafferty in Bobbitt. I tried to keep positive and head to the next test to try and improve.The second test was 9 miles in length and had some long sand washes. I made one little mistake and tipped over in a turn. I felt like I was trying super hard, and thought my time would be better. I was 4th fastest in this test but still lost 20 seconds to the leaders. I knew the way I was riding was too aggressive and even though I "felt" fast, I wasn't going forward.The third section was the turning point for my day. I rode the 12 mile test smooth and focused on maintaining momentum and less on trying to charge so hard. I didn't make any mistakes and wound up 3rd fastest in this test and only lost 10 seconds to he leaders.Section 4 was 11.5 miles long and this test went perfect with zero mistakes again and in this test I felt more confident in my pace and just focused ahead instead of worrying about what everyone else was doing. I was 2nd fastest to Lafferty in this test (he had a 7:42 and I had a 7:48). I gained 40 seconds on Bobbitt and 12 seconds on Bakken. Much better.The fifth section was 8.5 miles long and I rode the same as before and was amazed a the slower I went, the faster my times! I was 2nd fastest to Bakken in this test (he had a 5:55 and I had a 6:05). I tied Bobbitt and gained 38 seconds on Lafferty.Going into the 6th and final section, I knew I would have to have a really good time to get on the podium and I was ready and confident I could put in a good time. I rode the entire 10.5 mile test smooth and fast with no mistakes. This test was the funnest of the day and was really open with a good flow. My time was good enough for 2nd fastest again (Lafferty had a 4:16 and I had a 4:19). I was able to make up about 10 seconds on Bobbitt and Bakken but it just wasn't enough to get me on the podium.The top 4 ended the day about 1:00 apart (20 seconds between each guy). This was a big improvement for me considering I have been around anywhere form 4-6 minutes off the pace at the other rounds!I made up time on different riders after I settled down and started riding smoother, but the first 3 sections killed my overall finish. The next round in Tennessee on April 26 I feel a lot more confident I will eliminate those mistakes in the beginning and just focus on smooth instead of just trying to hammer everything and go fast. The old saying of slow down to go fast is what I am going to try to do!Results:
1-Michael Lafferty
2-Brad Bakken
3-Russell Bobbitt
4-Jason Raines
5-Cole Kirkpatrick
6-Nick Fahringer