GEICO AMA EnduroCross Championship Series
Round 5: National Western Events Center
Courtesy of GEICO
Photos by Drew Ruiz
DENVER, CO, OCT. 4, 2014
Rockstar/ Lucas Oil/ JCR Honda’s Colton Haaker took his second win of the GEICO AMA EnduroCross Series in front of an excited crowd in Denver on Saturday night. Haaker’s win put a big mix into the points chase, with Factory Red Bull KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak and Haaker tied for the lead and Beta/ GEICO/ Stillwell Performance’s Cody Webb only one point back in third.
The night was intense from the beginning, as Blazusiak, Webb and Factory KTM FMF Off-Road’s Taylor Robert took fast-paced heat-race wins. The “speed” theme of the weekend continued as the Pro main-event hot laps saw Factory Husqvarna’s Mike Brown take the afternoon’s fastest hot lap and Webb lock down the main-event hot lap. Both hot laps generate a single championship point for the winners.
Blazusiak had a scary moment when he almost went down hard and went over the bars after a tricky tractor-tire step-up obstacle in the middle of the course. He recovered without losing much time, but he had everyone watching on edge of their seats.
But the action really got intense in the main event. A long, fast start had the top riders coming in hot, with Haaker squeezing his Honda 450 out of the first set of turns and into the lead and collecting the Nexen Tire $500 Holeshot Award. Blazusiak was in hot pursuit, and he put the move on early for the first spot – and he got it before the end of lap one. He would lead until nearly the halfway point, when Haaker overtook him for the point position. It only took a small mistake by Blazusiak to give Haaker enough room for a pass, and Haaker made it stick.
Behind the front two, Robert and Webb were in a brutal early-race battle. Before the halfway mark, Robert went down, allowing Brown to get by, with Webb still in third. The race settled into a fast pace, as Blazusiak would gain a little on Haaker, only to have Haaker find some speed to keep him at bay. The same went for Webb: At one point, he actually made a clean pass for second on the inside of Blazusiak, but it wouldn’t stick and he was forced to chase the two leaders to the end.
The final podium finishes went to Haaker, Blazusiak and Webb. The championship points now sit in that order as well.
Haaker was happy with his second win.
“I executed my race just like I planned and prepared to tonight,” Haaker said. “I’ve been working hard, and just like any track, this one made you ride smooth and hit your marks. It was a little faster than others, but we’re so close across the board. I didn’t push too hard and I have a lot more to give.”
Blazusiak was satisfied with second and a share of the points lead.
“It’s been a good night of racing for us,” he said. “That close call in the hot-laps session slowed me down a lot, actually, and I was slowing down before that step-up in the main. It definitely cost me some time every lap, as I focused on making sure the line worked every time. I was out front for quite a few laps, rode well with only one mistake, and with that mistake I could have been in a much worse place than second. The pace is really high now, so I’m happy with second tonight and look forward to the races being closer together for the next couple months.”
Webb kept valuable points in third.
“The track was really fast tonight and definitely not my forte, coming from a trials background,” Webb noted, “but I put in a lot of hard work, and I think it showed tonight. “I came together with another rider twice tonight, and it took me out. I never had to work this hard for third. I could reel Taddy in a bit and try to pass but couldn’t make it stick, so I had to ride to third. I think the top three rode really strong tonight for 12 laps. I felt great, but little things didn’t go my way.”
The Women’s class was also an exciting race, as defending champ Chantelle Bykerk took her third Denver win in a row. Morgan Tanke came in second, and Spain’s Sandra Gomez Cantero took third.
The evening also included a host of support classes for Amateur, Vet and Trials competitors.
In Open Amateur action, Nick Thompson took the win, over Mitch Carvolth and Trystan Hart.
The Vet-class victory went to Derek Raycraft. David Stirm and Jason Gitchel were second and third, respectively.
The TrialsCross win went to Emanual Angius from Italy. Michael Salsman and Nathan Brown rounded out the podium.
The next round of the 2014 GEICO AMA EnduroCross Championship will take place inside the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, October 11. Get your tickets now!
National Western Events Center
Results: October 4, 2014 (Round 5)
EX: 1. Colton Haaker (Hon); 2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM); 3. Cody Webb (Bet); 4. Taylor Robert (KTM); 5. Mike Brown (Hsq); 6. Max Gerston (Bet); 7. Cory Graffunder (KTM); 8. Nick Thompson (KTM); 9. Ty Tremaine (KTM); 10. Bobby Prochnau (KTM); 11. Wally Palmer (Chr); 12. Destry Abbott (Kaw); 13. Eric Rhoten (Bet).
WOMEN: 1. Chantelle Bykerk (KTM); 2. Morgan Tanke (KTM); 3. Sandra Gomez Cantero (Hsq); 4. Rachel Gutish (KTM); 5. Tarah Gieger (KTM); 6. Nicole Bradford (Kaw); 7. Melissa Harten; 8. Rily Ellinger (KTM); 9. Lexi Pechout (Shc); 10. Brittney Gallegos (Kaw); 11. Megan Blackburn (Kaw); 12. Veronica Whitesell (KTM).
OPEN AM: 1. Nick Thompson; 2. Mitch Carvolth; 3. Trystan Hart.
VET: 1. Derek Raycraft; 2. David Stirm; 3. Jason Gitchel.
TRIALSCROSS: 1. Emanual Angius; 2. Michael Salsman; 3. Nathan Brown.