RACE REPORT: Denver EnduroCross 2015

Things A Moto Guy Learned, Saw, and Experienced At The Denver EnduroCross

I am a motocross rider at heart but I love to challenge myself at different types of events. EnduroCross is unlike any other type of off-road event out there! Rocks, logs, jumps, tractor tires, water pits, you name it endurocross has it. The Geico EnduroCross Series is quickly becoming one of the most exciting off-road experiences a dirt bike fanatic could want. If you are a just a fan and want to watch, you can see dozens of lead changes, crashes, and even the occasional on track heated tussle between two riders. If you are an off-road racer that dreams of racing in front of thousands of people, you can even try your hand and sign up to race an event! I dabble in endurocross from time to time when a project arises here at Dirt Rider, so last weekend I was able to race the Denver, Colorado round for an upcoming article, on a project 2015 Husqvarna FE250 that Full Factory Off-Road built for me. I wanted to give you an insider perspective on what it's like racing and watching a Geico EnduroCross.

I have said this numerous times to other people but the off-road crowd is a more laid back, down to earth, type of crowd than your average moto type. You have your factory teams on hand but most of the paddock is filled up with your blue-collar weekend warrior type of off-road riders. You will see mix-matched gear sets, with three to five year old bikes that are barely running and everyone has a great big smile on their faces. It’s like no one cares what they look like or how their gear looks, but they are there to race and ride their dirt bike, and have a great time battling with their rivals. Yes, the factory off-road guys are there as well, but what is weird is that they are all talking to one another and will go and hang out in each other’s pit areas! What? You will not see that at a Supercross! They even have a special Friday night “rookie” practice session where Destry Abbott and other top pros help less experienced riders learn to ride the track before Saturday. They will give them tips and pick you up when you fall, and you will fall, trust me!

Now as a moto guy that races regularly you would think racing endurocross would come easier to me than others that don’t ride motocross! Not true! I believe it is easier to learn to ride motocross than it is to learn to ride endurocross. Endurocross takes patience, (which most moto guys DO NOT have), balance, throttle control, bike handling, and quick reflexes (when the guy in front of you gets whiskey throttle and makes a sudden lane change). I managed to qualify for the Vet and Amateur main event. Yes, the amateur main. In endurocross you can race amateur and expert classes (until you win an amateur main then you must race in expert/pro only). Although my lap times were some of the fastest in my respective classes, I couldn’t muster up a decent finish. Again! I had several crashes most were my own fault and some were the cause of other riders, but I learn a lot every time I race an event. It’s the only time I come off of the track (after a race), and although disappointed from not winning, I am smiling because it was an insanely fun time. I guess when you’re not that good at something and your learning curve is huge, the fun factor seems to go up!

Watching the top guys race is a sight to be seen! I have seen guys like Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, Kevin Windham, and James Stewart ride and not one of them impresses me more with their bike skills like these endurocross riders do. The things they can do on a dirt bike are amazing. I witnessed Cody Webb (2014 Geico EnduroCross Champion) jump up over a huge tractor tire, in the middle of the race, just so another rider that closed his line off wouldn’t pinch him off! I watched Max Gerston (factory Beta rider) pivot his bike 180 degrees (in a corner) simply by letting his rear tire land on top of a slippery log, while gently tapping his rear brake to slide his bike completely around, and blast off down the next straight! Its mind-blowing folks! These guys are not doing this at slow speeds neither I might add. This is all happening at race pace people!

Denver’s main event was a nail biter and the lead changed several times during the 15 lap main event. The lap times were so long that the race ended up being the longest main event in EnduroCross history! Over 25 minutes long! Can you say Anaerobic! Below are the results of the Geico EnduroCross main event from Denver. This is what I observed and found out from each rider on this night!

Denver EnduroCross Results 2015

1. Colton Haaker (Hus)

Colton was relentless in Denver. He crashed hard in the first corner in his heat race and was almost a lap down only to finish second! In the main he crashed twice and still came back to pass Cody and take the win. Colton has moto style sprint speed and he seems to keep that pace the entire 15 lap main event. Sometimes it bites him, as he will crash a lot, but on this night it seemed to work out in his favor.

2. Cody Webb (KTM)

Like I said earlier Webb packs an unreal talent that few possess. Coming from a trials background the tall, friendly KTM rider excels when the track is technical. His bike handling skills are almost unreal to watch and it will make you feel like you have never ridden a dirt bike a day in your life. Cody washed his front end in a flat corner only to have Colton pass him. He couldn’t match the speed of the Husky rider and finished a smart second. Did I mention he is in college and is studying to be a mechanical engineer as well! What a smart dude.

3. Taylor Robert (KTM)

Have you seen Taylor Robert’s stomach? If you haven’t you should ask to see it next time you are at an endurocross. It’s like a huge zipper gateway to his internal organs. Gnarly! Taylor rode consistent all night and came away with a podium finish. Robert is one of the few riders in the series that can haul the mail on a moto track as well. He was the only other one doing that Max Gerston log trick that is supposedly called the “banana split”.

4. Kyle Redmond (Beta)

Kyle is another technical rider. He shines when the track is slower with tons of rocks. He worked his way through several riders in the main event and just kind of settled into fourth place (which is a great result for the silent but kind hearted rider from Lake Hughes, CA.)

5. Geoff Aaron (Gas Gas)

Yes, another trials guy did great at Denver. You see the pattern here. It was a slippery, very technical track. Geoff is like 8’7 and uses his legs to soak up everything on the track. It’s like he is riding an 85 around! He pumps his Gas Gas over each rock and gets traction where others find it difficult.

6. Max Gerston (Beta)

Do you like country music? Do you like knives? Then this is the rider you need to cheer for next time you’re at the races! The extremely likeable Arizona country boy has got massive amounts of energy and talent to go with it. His banana split maneuver was impressive and what was even more impressive is that he had a name for it when I asked him about it!

7. Mike Brown (Hus)

Brownie won his heat going away but a couple mishaps in the main lead to an unimpressive finish. His result doesn’t show how fast he was going around the track. With the slippery track however it was quick to bite the X-Games gold medalist. He wasn’t happy after the race let me tell you. He will bounce back. Trust me!

8. Nick Thompson (KTM)

I don’t know much about Nick. I do know he is a privateer that has been going fast all year and results keep improving every week.

9. Eric Rhoten (Yam)

The only Yamaha rider in the main event. You can’t say that at a supercross race these days. Eric was a Denver local and gave the fans what they wanted to see.

10. Destry Abbott (Kaw)

Destry got stuck in the rocks in his heat race and DNF’d. He came back to win the LCQ and rode well for another top ten in the main. Dez is a busy man these days with his DA8 training and gym, so that leaves him not much time for riding. But, when its time to race he find ways to get the job done. Impressive for an old man.

Geoff Aaron, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Mike Brown, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Destry Abbott, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Max Gerston, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Colton Haaker, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Kyle Redmond, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Eric Rhoten, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Taylor Robert, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz
Nick Thompson, Denver EnduroCross 2015
Colton Haaker and Cody Webb, Denver EnduroCross 2015Photo by Drew Ruiz