Cody Webb Waltzes To Last Dog Standing Three-Peat

Mark Kariya brings you the down and dirty race report on what happened at the 2016 Last Dog Standing hard enduro at Glen Helen Raceway.

A few weeks after his career-best runner-up finish at the famed Red Bull Hare Scramble Erzberg Rodeo, Red Bull KTM’s Cody Webb demonstrated those same refined moves by waltzing to his third win in the Prairie Dogs Motorcycle Club’s Sixth Annual Last Dog Standing at Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino, California. And he did it despite choosing the wrong rear tire for the conditions.

Instead of Erzberg’s rocky, forested hills and overcast skies, the 120 who signed up for Last Dog faced temperatures nudging 100 degrees with hills made more difficult by the powdery soil on the steep climbs.

In fact, the 15 who qualified for the two-lap final (cut from three due to the heat) faced one hill in particular that had in the past been used for hill climb events. Since Last Dog riders didn’t have extended swingarms and paddle tires, it proved impossible to surmount without assistance, with the Prairie Dogs ready for that possibility by providing helpers equipped with ropes to pull each rider up, one at a time.

“I ran the wrong tire today, too,” Webb admitted. “I should’ve been running a standard tire, but I ended up running one of those [super-soft EnduroCross] spec tires that was so soft, it just doesn’t work that good in the silt.”

Cody Webb, Last Dog Standing 2016
Cody Webb wheelies the final section en route to winning Last Dog Standing for the third consecutive time.Photo by Mark Kariya

He added, “In that final race, it really didn’t feel like a fair race, to be honest. That first hill was just ridiculous and kind of uncalled for. It should’ve been watered and cleared out. There was just nowhere for us to go so that was unfortunate. (According to Craig Hunter of the Prairie Dogs, Webb, Graffunder and Redmond all made that first climb on the second lap when riders who were stuck there trying to make it the first time helped pull them up by rope.)

“Kyle [Redmond] and I got up it first. Kyle and I, actually, had an awesome battle going into that second big hill climb so that was fun. That was the funniest part of the day for me, to be honest.”

Unfortunately for Beta’s Redmond, it took him longer to make it up that second hill and after reaching the summit, he rode straight to the pits to address a clutch issue, losing even more time.

Kyle Redmond, Last Dog Standing 2016
Shortly after riding off the teeter-totter, Kyle Redmond passed Webb as they exited over the tractor tires to briefly lead the final. However, the Beta rider had to pit shortly afterward to address a clutch issue and had to settle for third—the last man to complete two laps.Photo by Mark Kariya

He wasn’t the only one. SRT KTM’s Cory Graffunder also pitted, though this was before the teeter-totter water hole preceding the second hill; he too had started with a super-soft rear but swapped that out for the standard one he’d used in the earlier qualifying rounds.

“I put a different tire on with a really soft mousse and it was just not working at all,” he said. “I went back to the tire I was using in the race before. It was working; I don’t know why I decided to change it. It was a stupid idea, but I went back to what I knew worked and it worked great for the rest of the race.”

Cory Graffunder, Last Dog Standing 2016
Though the soft rear tire combo he chose might’ve been better on obstacles like Tire Mountain, it didn’t work as well for eventual runner-up Cory Graffunder on the more critical powdery hill climbs.Photo by Mark Kariya

Graffunder made up enough ground to catch and pass Redmond later, securing second place with Redmond third after a fairly rough day, seemingly recovering from crash after crash. “It was a tough day,” Redmond admitted. “I made it extra-tough [on myself], as usual.

“I had a really good beginning; I got to lead a little bit. I started third then I passed [Graffunder and Webb] on this [first] uphill, then Cody passed me back because I stuffed it in the Matrix over there. He was right behind me up the hill.

“Then I did what was probably the coolest pass I’ve ever done in my life and passed him back after the teeter-totter. I splattered the tires after the log and passed him there. He was on the same tire, kind of, so I almost hit him! It was cool. But then right after that my clutch went out.”

KTM-mounted Mitch Carvolth earned fourth overall by completing one lap followed by Garett Carlson, the only Expert to make it around an entire lap, earning the unofficial True Grit Award and, no doubt, bumping himself to the Pro class next year when Webb will likely aim for win number four.

Last Dog Standing 2016
The first elimination round provided a prelude of things to come. More than any other factor, a couple of key powdery hills as well as heat helped determine the outcome of the final, though only 15 reached it.Photo by Mark Kariya