All content © Bob MuIIi
Aces Hidden Valley Golf Course Sprint Enduro
AmPro Yamaha’s Layne
Michael claimed his third win in a row in the Kenda US Sprint Enduro Series
victory with a dominating performance at this weekend’s Hidden Valley Golf
Course Sprint Enduro, round five of the series in Glen Daniel, West Virginia,
and by doing so wrapped up the Pro championship with one round remaining on
Rain off and on all
weekend made for a very slippery course, but Michael was unphased, winning
nine of the 12 tests (all six on Saturday and three on Sunday) to outdistance
runner-up Thad DuVall (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) by 49 seconds over the
course of the two-day event.
“To win the
championship is pretty cool,” said Michael. “I’ve been chasing a
professional championship for a while now, so this is a stepping stone. I’ve
been close. Last year I was close with Kailub, I just struggled in the
beginning of the season and wasn’t there, but at the end I was battling for
wins. I knew coming into this year this was definitely one I was wanting to
wrap up. To get it done a round early is pretty cool.”
After an extended time
off the bike due to injury, Duvall has been riding himself back into form
during the last few weeks and looked especially good on Sunday, where he won
two of the enduro tests.
“I rode much better
weekend this weekend, especially today; I felt like I kept Layne pretty honest
today. Yesterday he was hammering us in the cross test,” said DuVall. “I
feel like I’m getting more comfortable riding that edge that it takes to win
these things. I just kind of found some lines this morning and went with them
and they worked out pretty good.”
Johnny Girroir wrapped
up the Pro2 title a race early with a third overall. The Coastal Racing GasGas
rider swept all 12 tests in the Pro2 division and even won the final cross
test outright against the Pros.
“It feels good, a big
weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Girroir. “I’m excited to be a
back-to-back champ in sprint racing. I really enjoy this kind of racing. I
kind of was struggling in the grass track a little bit. Kind of just fighting
myself. But the last grass test, I aced it. I did it as perfect as I could. I
actually ended up getting the overall win on that last grass test, so that
felt really good.”
Tely Energy KTM’s
Liam Draper was third in the Pro division and fourth overall. Draper was in
the hunt all weekend for second overall, mixing it up with DuVall and Girroir.
“Layne put it to us
again, but me and Thad were like one second apart in some tests,” said
Draper. “I crashed in the first enduro test today and then crashed again,
which cost me a lot of time. So it was a rough today but I was still close and
I was happy with the last test for the day.”
As usual, Ben Nelko was
super-fast in the cross test, but this weekend the Seven Sixty Racing
Husqvarna rider found his groove in the enduro test, which propelled him to
fifth overall and second in the Pro2 division.
“I finally figured
out the enduro test,” said Nelko. “I’ve been working with Stew Baylor at
the Shoals MX a lot, focusing on the woods more than riding moto like I’ve
been in the past. It was good. I know that I'm always going to be solid on the
cross test, so we just worked the woods mainly and it worked out. It was a
Rounding out the Pro2
podium with sixth overall was Max Sports/FXR/Husqvarna’s Evan Smith, who was
racing his first sprint enduro in two years.
“It was good
returning to the sprint format,” said Smith. “They’re a lot higher
intensity than I was ready for. I haven’t done anything like this practicing
in two years since I raced them. So it was a bit of a learning curve. I got a
lot better towards the end of the weekend, but I fell down a few times and
came out of some tests not breathing that heavy, knowing I didn’t try hard
enough. But all in all, it was really fun.”
Second in points in the
Pro2 division, Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Jesse Ansley was disappointed in
fourth in class and seventh overall.
“Definitely not the
greatest, that’s for sure but we lived to see another day,” said Ansley.
“I’ve just got to get better at slick conditions. I’m still sitting
second in points right now and it’s getting pretty close to the last round,
but we’ll go back and regroup and just try to figure it out.”
Brendon Poling made his
first appearance of the year and came away with fifth in the Pro2 class and
eighth overall on a Kawasaki. Meanwhile, Coastal Racing GasGas’ Cole Whitmer
was top Amateur in ninth overall and first in the 250 A class despite hitting
a tree in the final test of the weekend and injuring his knee.
“I was trying to ride
high on a bank and kind of lost traction and my rear end started going down
towards a tree and kind of split it right in the middle and wrapped my leg
around the tree,” said Whitmer. “I pretty much rode solid all day, except
for that last test crash.”
West Virginia rider
Tyler Braniff rounded out the top 10 overall and first in Open A on a Yamaha.
Dalton Seals (Yam) took
top honors in the Pro-Am class after sweeping all 12 tests. Seals topped
runner-up Zach Nash (KTM) by 1:32, while Earl Luhn III was third, just over
two minutes back.
Bandy Richards (KTM)
travelled all the way from Arizona to win the Pro Women’s class. It was her
first race on the east coast in over a year.
“I was a little
nervous coming in because I saw there was rain,” said Richards. “Back west
we don’t have rain, so it’s all dry and dusty. I was a little nervous but
excited to get the time in in the mud. The first enduro test was a little
hectic. I got a little stuck on some tree roots and stuff and just kind of
getting used to the slick, tight stuff really. Just kind of progressed
throughout the weekend. Day two, today, I felt phenomenal all day, really,
especially in the woods. I was just picking up some good speed, getting a lot
more comfortable in that slick stuff. So I'm extremely happy with how the
Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones was second, which was good enough to clinch the Pro
Rachel Archer wrapped
her AmPro Yamaha around a tree in the first test and rode the remainder of the
event with a bent bike to finish third, with Allie Spurgeon (Hsq) and Britney
Gallegos rounding out the top five.
Cole Forbes was the
class of the morning Youth races, taking a dominating win in the Super Mini
Sr. (14-15) 80-112cc Two-stroke/75-150cc Four-stroke class. The KTM rider won
all 12 tests in his class.
Best in the Super Mini
Jr (12-13) 80-112cc two-stroke/75-150cc four-stroke class was Peyton Feather
on a KTM.
rider Jonathan Snyder took first in the 85 SR (12-15) 66-85cc
Two-stroke/75-125cc Four-stroke class.
The Kenda US Sprint
Enduro Series resumes on July 17-18 for the sixth and final round of its
series at the Wassell Works Sprint Enduro in Westernport, Maryland. For more
information on the Kenda US Sprint Enduro Series go to www.ussprintenduro.com
1. Layne Michael (Yam)