West Virginia Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Race Report 2016

We check in on what really happened at the Full Gas Sprint Enduro in West Virginia this weekend

Lane Michael West Virginia Sprint Enduro 2016
Lane Michael surprised a lot of people by winning this weekend's Full Gas Sprint Enduro round in West Virginia. It was the Coastal Racing Husqvarna rider's first entry into the series so far this year.Photo By Shan Moore

Round three of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series took place this weekend in Romney, West Virginia, where Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Lane Michael came out on top of a hotly contested battle with Daniel Milner to claim the overall win.

If you’re not familiar with the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, it’s a two-day event that consists of two tests, each ridden three times a day. One of the tests is a Cross Test, which features fast, sweeping turns, similar to a grass track at the ISDE. The other test is an Enduro Test, which is more of a “woods” test, with rocks and a few obstacles thrown in for good measure. The Enduro Test in West Virginia was particularly tough, and featured fast and rocky terrain. Meanwhile, Milner characterized the Cross Track as very “European”, and, being an ISDE specialist, the N-FAB/AM Pro Yamaha rider had his best rides in that test. In fact, he won all three of the Cross Tests on Sunday and one of the Cross Tests on Saturday.

Michael, however, was especially good in the Enduro Test, which balanced things out, and he actually held a 31-second lead over Milner at the end of Day One’s action, having won two of the six tests outright. On Sunday, Michael and Milner traded wins throughout the day, with Michaels winning two of the three Enduro tests while Milner swept the Cross Test.

“The Enduro test was my strong suit, for sure, and I just concentrated on that, and then just tried to maintain in the Cross test, because Milner was killin’ it in that test,” said Michael. “The only person to get close to him in the Cross test was Sipes and he didn’t ride on Sunday (due to a broken finger he suffered on Saturday). Milner was gaining six to ten seconds on me each time in the Cross test but I was able to counter in the Enduro test. In fact, I wound up beating him enough in the Enduro tests to take the overall win.”

“I’ve always been a really good sprinter, even when I was young,” added Michaels. “I didn’t really know what I expected coming into this race. I knew Milner was going to be tough, and I know the guys who’ve been riding the series were familiar with the format and the flow of the tests, so I wasn’t sure where I would fit in.”

Daniel Milner, Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Daniel Milner now has two firsts and a second in the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series and sits atop the series standings.Photo By Shan Moore

Milner was almost unbeatable in the Cross Test, but a bit hesitant in the Enduro Test, which probably cost him the win.

“That test scared me,” said Milner, who is used to the sand tracks of Australia. “It was fast and rocky and I just wanted to come away from here in good health and move on to the next round.”

Thad DuVall, Full Gas Sprint Enduro
Thad DuVall is overdue for a win in the Sprint Enduro Series, and he was once again in the running in West Virginia.Photo By Shan Moore

Thad DuVall finished third overall for the weekend, the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Husqvarna winning one of the Enduro Tests on Sunday.

“I thought we were going to have a mud race after all the rain we got on Friday but it dried up pretty good and Saturday’s course was great, though a little sketchy in the Enduro Test,” said DuVall.

Josh Toth, Sprint Enduro 2016
Jester Racing's Josh Toth was fourth overall and top LOI rider.Photo By Shan Moore

The West Virginia event also doubled as one of this year’s two AMA ISDE Qualifier events, the other taking place in Idaho, and Jester Racing’s Josh Toth was top-finishing “Letter of Intent” rider with his fourth overall finish. Toth is from Connecticut and the rocky terrain in West Virginia was right in his wheelhouse.

“I really liked the track, it was similar to what I’m used to riding,” said Toth, who also said that the Enduro Test was his favorite.

The rules were changed a bit for this year’s ISDE qualifying process and instead of the top three in each class qualifying for club teams, the top seven Letter of Intent (LOI) riders overall qualify from each of the east (West Virginia) and west (Idaho) events, regardless of class. In the Senior divisions, which consists of three riders, one rider qualifies from the east event, and one from the west event, and then the AMA selection committee picks the third rider to fill out the team.

Broc Hepler, Sprint Enduro 2016
Former Motocross great Broc Hepler is making a comeback in the off-road scene.Photo By Shan Moore

Fifth overall went to former motocross great Broc Hepler, who has been riding quite a few off-road races the last few years and recently signed a deal with the U.S. Gas Gas importer.

RESULTS

  1. Lane Michael (Hsq) 1:33.17.838

  2. Daniel Milner (Yam) 1:34.01.806

  3. Thad DuVall (Hsq) 1:34.22.323

  4. Josh Toth (KTM) 1:35.00.162

  5. Cory Buttrick (KTM) 1:36.13.938

  6. Broc Hepler (GG) 1:36.33.015

  7. Sam Evans (Yam) 1:36.58.708

  8. Jason Klammer (KTM) 1:37.38.743

  9. Craig DeLong (Hsq) 1:37.54.423

  10. Drew Higgins (KTM) 1:37.55.927