Phoenix EnduroCross Race Report 2016

Colton Haaker extends points lead with win, Taylor Robert graces podium during his hometown Endurocross round and Cody Webb pushes his bike to third place in Phoenix, Arizona at Round 4.

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Haaker didn't have a great start but positioned himself to make an early move with Robert and Webb.Photo by Ian Reid

The first ever Phoenix EnduroCross was a huge success as the sold-out WestWorld arena saw Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker take a big win. It appeared that Cody Webb, his title nemesis would finish second until his chain broke on the last lap. That allowed KTM’s Taylor Robert to take second. Webb still finished third as Haaker had lapped the fourth placed rider.

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Robert took the Nexen holeshot Haaker with Haaker in tow, Gerston was in position to follow Webb and then got tapped from the back driving his wheel into the soft outside and went down ending his night for the podium.Photo by Ian Reid

Haaker, Robert and Webb won their respective heat races to earn the bonus point that goes with a heat win. The top two riders from each heat race then faced off later in the evening for a single hot lap against the clock for an additional bonus point and first gate pick for the main. The same three riders set the fastest three times with Haaker, Robert and Webb in that order.

When the final race of the night lined up, Robert jumped out front first to take the $500 Nexen Tire Holeshot award and held the early lead. Haaker was close behind with Webb in third to set up an epic battle for the win. Robert and Haaker put on an amazing show as each of them made some spectacular leaps completely over the firewood pit and water hole, sometimes in unison and sometimes to regain a small advantage as the other missed the challenging leaps.

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Haaker and Robert would battle at the front until Haaker had enough to make the pass on Robert in the matrix.Photo by Ian Reid

On lap five of fifteen. Haaker finally found a way past Robert in the tricky double rock section. At that point, he slowly pulled away from Robert, who was competing in his first EnduroCross of the season due to his Enduro World Championship commitments. Webb rode a steady and fast pace to pass Robert on lap seven and held a fairly consistent gap of about eight seconds until lap fourteen. Haaker took the win, his third in four races so far this season.

On lap fifteen, Webb’s chain broke and although he managed to push his bike to the finish with some outside help from a few other riders, he missed some obstacles and was only credited with fourteen laps, which was still good enough for third. Robert passed Webb to take second.

“I came in a little rusty due to an injury so I was glad we had a weekend off,” said Haaker of the solid evening. “I had an awesome battle with Taylor and we were jumping the water and some awesome stuff so that was a really fun race and I am happy to do what I need to do.”

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Trystan Hart battled at the front all night, before succumbing to the pace of lead group.Photo by Ian Reid

“The track was awesome tonight, really fun and a great venue,” said Webb. “I made a huge mistake in the matrix on the first lap and but was able to work my way past Taylor. When my chain broke, I knew we had lapped a lot of riders but I still felt that I needed to push the bike to the finish.”

“This is the gnarliest two wheel sport we have and I only had three days of EnduroCross practice.” Robert said. “That is not how I wanted to get second but I am still happy to be up here on the podium with these guys and show that I can still mix it up with them.”

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Cody Webb broken but not done would continue to push his bike to the finish with the help of team mate Taylor Robert. Webb would still get a third on the podium, producing some valuable points.Photo by Ian Reid

Husqvarna’s Mike Brown recovered from a bad start to finish fourth. Canada’s Trystan Hart had a breakthrough event to finish fifth. The nineteen year old Canadian has been progressing rapidly. SRT Racing’s Cory Grafunder finished sixth. Beta’s Kyle Redmond was seventh. Cooper Abbott had his best ever finish with an eighth. GasGas backed Geoff Aaron finished ninth and Wyatt Hart, Trystan’s older brother, finished tenth.

Noah Kepple, Max Gerston, Ty Tremaine and Taddy Blazusiak finished eleventh through fourteenth respectively. This was the third race in a row where Blazusiak struggled since injuring his thumb in round two.

Haaker opened up a seven point lead over Webb in the championship, with 101 and 94 respectively. Brown currently holds third with 77 points.

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Ty Tremaine and SRT's Cory Graffunder duking it out in Phoenix. Tremaine sits in forth and Graffunder had a solid race in Phoenix.Photo by Ian Reid
Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Cooper Abbott currently sits in 12th, his 5th fastest time in Practice shows this kid means business.Photo by Ian Reid
Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
11 ladies took to the line in Phoenix. the women's class is stocked with solid competition this season.Photo by Ian Reid

Canada’s Shelby Turner took her third win in four races in the Women’s main event riding a KTM. Morgan Tanke finished second on a Beta and those two are currently first and second in the points in that order. Melissa Harten, another Canadian finished third on a Beta.

EnduroCross events also include two support classes for Amateurs and Vet riders 35 and older. Spenser Wilton took the win in the amateur class with a last turn pass on Joseph Bridges. David Stirm rounded out the podium.

In the Vet class, Kurt Nicoll won the event on an Alta electric bike, the first ever win for an electric powered motorcycle. Ironically, Nicoll made up a lot of time on early race leader Stephen Foord when he stalled his bike and then passed him when he stalled it a second time in the final corner. Jason Gitchel and Wayne Dickert also passed Foord to take second and third.

The series will resume next weekend in Denver, Colorado on Saturday, October 1st.

Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Robert was the first to make the log pit air clean, Palmer was the first to shoot it and that did not turn out too good for the wild man.Photo by Ian Reid

2016 Phoenix AMA EnduroCross Results

  1. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
  2. Taylor Robert, KTM
  3. Cody Webb, KTM
  4. Mike Brown, Husqvarna
  5. Trystan Hart, Husqvarna
  6. Cory Graffunder, KTM
  7. Kyle Redmond, Beta
  8. Cooper Abbott, Husqvarna
  9. Geoff Aaron, GasGas
  10. Wyatt Hart, Husqvarna
  11. Noah Kepple, KTM
  12. Max Gerston, Beta
  13. Ty Tremaine, KTM
  14. Taddy Blazusiak, KTM
Phoenix EnduroCross 2016
Haaker all smiles with 7 points over Webb going into round five of 8 next week in Denver.Photo by Ian Reid