Everett Washington’s Xfinity Arena and the packed house of fans filling it were treated with an impressive EnduroCross duel between the top championship contenders as defending two-time Champion Cody Webb went to the front early and held off a blitzing Colton Haaker for the win. KTM’s Webb never looked back on the soft, rutted and loose course after taking the lead on the second lap. Once again, the front-runners were so fast on the night, they lapped third-place finisher, RPM KTM’s Ty Tremaine, on the last lap. Ty Tremaine’s podium finish was his first in the Pro Class.
Webb, Haaker and Tremaine all won their respective heat races earlier in the night, each getting a bonus point on the championship standings. This was Tremaine’s second heat race win in a row and second of his career. Also transferring straight to the main out of their heat races was Beta’s Kyle Redmond and Max Gerston, KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak and Canadian brothers Wyatt and Trystan Hart. In the first LCQ, which featured Husqvarna’s Mike Brown, DA8 Training’s Cooper Abbott and Beta’s Ty Cullins went 1-2 to keep Brown out of the main event after the matrix got the best of the Husky rider for the first time this year. The second LCQ win went to Nick Thompson followed by Noah Kepple.
Haaker was arguably the fastest racer in the building all night with the fastest daytime Hot Lap for gate pick, the fastest evening Hot Lap for a championship point, and dominated his Heat Race for a win. By the time the main event gate dropped, he was sitting up two more points on rival Webb in the championship.
Webb was trying really hard to be that guy all night. He was riding possessed in both Hot Lap sessions to set the tone and, in the evening, earn any extra points he can. But his time didn’t come until the main event. However, his undeniable skills through the toughest obstacles on the track were impressive all night. Webb was clearly fastest through a brutal matrix section and was airing the sketchy obstacles-turned-jumps with the biggest names in the sport all night. In the end, he got his.
When the main event gate dropped, Haaker took the $500 Nexen Tire Holeshot award and put his trademark heater lap into motion aboard the factory Husqvarna, trying to stretch a gap to those close behind. Nearly next to him around the first turn was returning five-time champion Taddy Blazusiak. Blazusiak would be in contention for only two obstacles before going down and tangling off the track, getting back up in sixth place to start the race. Meanwhile, Webb, Tremaine and SRT-backed Cory Graffunder gave chase to Haaker. Redmond would come out in fifth as the train formed in pursuit of Haaker.
By the second lap, Webb made a pass on Haaker for the lead and didn’t look back. Haaker put the heat on over-and-over, but Webb was simply faster and more consistent, especially across the matrix section, so Haaker’s charges were always matched. Even when he would gain on the smallest mistakes by Webb, Webb erased the gains nearly as quickly.
By lap four, Webb was running into lap traffic and Tremaine was pulling a lead over the rest of the top five. By lap five, the lap traffic was getting heavier and Webb sliced through them cleanly putting more time on Haaker in second. The lap traffic slowed Tremaine in third more, as well, allowing Redmond to get close enough to pressure. Meanwhile, Blazusiak had rebounded up to pass for fifth, only to lose the position by another mistake. He would finish up in fifth place on the evening.
Before lap 10, Webb was lapping into the top five. And once he passed Redmond—who was in fourth at the time—it took Haaker two laps to get by the same position. That was really the difference for the top two spots and at this point, it was a cruise to the finish for Webb without much pressure from Haaker. In the final laps, a few mistakes by Haaker sealed the deal and Webb went to the checkers.
Again, the top two passed the entire field, including third-place finisher Tremaine, en route to their dominant performance.
“I really sent it in the Hot Lap tonight because I need to get as many points as I can,” Webb said. “Then, Colton did a near-perfect lap and beat me just barely—that kind of hurt a little bit. So, I knew I had to give it my all in the main and I came in really focused to not loose any more points. Colton made a little mistake and I was able to get by early and he hung there on my tire most of the race. The good thing is I knew I didn’t make any mistakes all night, really. And in the main that mattered because I think I only made two little mistakes and Colton made more. It allowed me to open up the gap and cruise to victory. It’s a great feeling.
“I got the holeshot—had a great start—then on the second lap I had made a mistake and lost the front end and went off the track,” Haaker said. Cody got by and I paced him for five or six laps until we started getting into some lappers. I got stuck behind one early that put me in a bad spot in the firewood. From there, I felt like I was riding well but started to loose contact and struggled on the track. It’s so soft here and not like anything we normally ride in Southern California. Overall, I had more mistakes at the end of the race and just couldn’t get through the lappers as easily as Cody did. I couldn’t battle back as easily. In the end I lost a few points but didn’t give up too much so it’s still a good night here in second.”
“It was gnarly—the track was demanding and it was definitely a rough one to say the least,” Tremaine said. “I had Redmond behind me for a long time and I think fitness set in because I’ve been working so hard. I kept looking ahead and finally saw the white flag and new I had it. The matrix was so tough, so was the firewood, but the matrix was something I dreaded every lap. I got through it but it wasn’t easy. Thankfully, I did a race in Northern California.
Graffunder raced strong to finish fourth, battling from third to fifth and finally passing for fourth in the final laps. Redmond ran in fourth most of the race and was fast all night only going to fifth in the end. Sixth place went to Blazusiak who had mistakes holding back his charge all night. Gerston finished seventh after moving up from a 10th place start. Trystan hart moved into eight by the end of the race after starting in 11th.
Nick Thompson, Cooper Abbott and Ty Cullins rounded out the top twelve, respectively.
2016 Denver AMA EnduroCross main event results:
- Cody Webb, KTM
- Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
- Ty Tremaine, KTM
- Cory Graffunder, KTM
- Kyle Redmond, Beta
- Taddy Blazusiak, KTM
- Max Gerston, Beta
- Trystan Hart, Husqvarna
- Noah Kepple, KTM
- Nick Thompson, KTM
- Cooper Abbott, Husqvarna
- Ty Culins, Beta
Heading into the penultimate round in Idaho, Haaker leads the points standings by 10 over Webb, Brown—failing to make the main event in Everett sits 42 points further back in third. Tremaine gained serious ground and is now four points out of a top-three overall in fourth.
Canada’s Shelby Turner took her fifth win in six races this weekend in the Women’s main event riding a KTM. The Canadian finished in front of Morgan Tanke, again after a great battle. Beta’s Tanke is now 14-points back in second place. Third place went to Rachel Gutish, favoring a tender knee injury suffered at the ISDE last week. Turner also raced the ISDE, representing Canada. Another ISDE racer, Tarah Geiger, had a great race back to the EnduroCross circuit falling to massive bad luck on the last lap and falling out of the top three to finish fourth.
EnduroCross events also include two support classes for Amateurs and Vet riders 35 and older. Canadian Kevin Dupuis took the win in the Amateur class. Stephen Foord—vet class stalwart—took second after a late-race charge to the front. Third went to Joel Tonsgard, a local Washington racer.
In the Vet class, Stephen Foord (also from Canada) took his second win in a row with fellow Canadian Shane Cuthbertson in second and Washington’s Jason Gitchel in third.
In the Trialscross class, Everett hosted one of the biggest turnouts of the season with thirteen racers lining up for the main event. In the end, local Washington racer Kyle Larsen took the win over young gun Anthony Johnson. Ronald Ringuette came up the final podium spot.
The series will resume Saturday, November 5 in Nampa, Idaho.