North Carolina Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Report 2016

What really happened at the Full Gas Sprint Enduro in North Carolina

Josh Strang, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Josh Strang claimed his second win in a row at the North Carolina round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series.Photo By Shan Moore

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang claimed his second win in a row in the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, taking a hard-fought victory at round five of the series held at Lost Valley Motosports Park in Hickory, North Carolina. With the win, Strang tightened up the points race, moving to within three points of series point leader Mountain MC/ATV/KR4/Arrive ‘n Ride/Husqvarna’s Thad DuVall in the championship standings.

Thad DuVall, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Thad DuVall drops out of the gate and into the Enduro Test during Saturday's action. The West Virginia rider finished second overall and retained the series point lead by three points over Strang.Photo By Shan Moore

Strang was fast and smooth on the hilly and silty North Carolina terrain and used a steady, consistent approach to beat out DuVall, and Coastal Racing teammates Ryan Sipes and Lane Michael for the overall win.

On Saturday, Sipes, who was last year’s individual overall winner at the ISDE in Slovakia, dominated the Cross Test, which included portions of a motocross track, winning all three of the races. And, of course, Sipes has plenty of experience on motocross tracks.

Lane Michael, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Lane Michael got off to a slow start but came on strong on Sunday to secure third overall.Photo By Shan Moore

On the Enduro Test, DuVall won two of the three races, while Strang won the other. At the end of the first day of racing, Strang’s consistency gave him the provisional lead after six tests. DuVall was six seconds back in the runner-up slot, with Sipes sitting third another 20 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Michael and SRT KTM’s Cory Buttrick were fourth and fifth.

On Sunday, Sipes got off to a great start, winning the first two tests of the day. However, a crash in the third test put the Husqvarna rider out of contention for the overall.

“I just lost the front end and went down,” said Sipes. “That kind of ruined it for me. I wouldn’t have caught Josh, but I think I could have been second for the weekend if it hadn’t been for the crash.”

Cory Buttrick, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
SRT KTM's Cory Buttrick turned in a solid ride for fourth.Photo By Shan Moore

Strang came on strong and won the next two tests, before Sipes and DuVall countered with wins in the fifth and sixth tests.

Sipes wound up with the most test wins at six, however, Strang’s consistency (plus Sipes’ tip-over in test three) was enough the give the Aussie the overall win by six seconds over DuVall.

“For the most part, this race was dry and silty, kinda like at home in Australia, and I felt kind of at home out there,” said Strang. “Sipes had the Cross Test dialed but I was able to make up the time in the Enduro Test and I think I just had a more consistent day.”

Ryan Sipes, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Ryan Sipes won six tests over the course of the weekend, but a crash in the third test on Sunday put him out of contention for the overall.Photo By Shan Moore

DuVall won three tests on the weekend – two on Saturday and one on Sunday – which was good enough for the runner-up slot.

“It was close both days, I think I lost by six seconds yesterday and four today,” said DuVall. “It was good to keep Strang on his toes, and including Sipes, these are the best sprint racers in the world. We all kind split the test wins up and this was good prep for Six Days, which will be on terrain similar to this.”

Despite winning six tests, Sipes dropped to fifth overall, behind Michael and Buttrick. Michael was a bit off the pace on Saturday but came on strong on Sunday with a few third place finishes to land on the final step of the podium.

Buttrick finished fourth, less then three seconds ahead of Sipes.

Billy Schlag, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Billy Schlag was close to cracking the top five and came away with sixth.Photo By Shan Moore

KTM rider Billy Schlag won the Open A division and finished sixth overall, beating out Argentinian Luciano Benavides.

Former Supercross great, Damon Bradshaw, came away with eighth overall in his first attempt at a Sprint Enduro. The former Yamaha factory rider got fastest as he got more seat time and, naturally, was particularly fast in the Cross Test. Meanwhile, Braxton McGee and Conner Smith rounded out the top 10.

With five races in the books, Thad DuVall leads the series standings with 216 points, followed by Strang with 213 and Daniel Milner with 165.

Damon Bradshaw, North Carolina Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Former Supercross great Damon Bradshaw gave the Sprint Enduro Series a try and came away with eighth overall.Photo By Shan Moore

OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Josh Strang (Hsq)

  2. Thad DuVall (Hsq)

  3. Lane Michael (Hsq)

  4. Cory Buttrick (KTM)

  5. Ryan Sipes (Hsq)

  6. Billy Schlag (KTM)

  7. Luciano Benavides (Hsq)

  8. Damon Bradshaw (Yam)

  9. Braxton McGee (KTM)

  10. Conner Smith (KTM)