Grant Baylor claimed his second national enduro win of the season and third in a row dating back to last year after taking a come-from-behind victory at the Rekluse Knuckle Buster National Enduro in Maplesville, Alabama – round two of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series powered by Moose Racing. The N-Fab/Am Pro Yamaha rider came on strong in the final test of the day to edge out FMF/KTM’s Russell Bobbitt for the victory.
As he usually does, Baylor got off to a slow start in the morning, posting the fifth-fastest time in the opening test of the day. However, the South Carolina rider picked up the pace starting with test number two, and by the time the sixth and final test rolled around he was sitting just five seconds down from Bobbitt.
“I knew I had to be fast and keep it on two wheels in the final test to beat Russell and I was able to do that,” said Baylor, who tends to get stronger as the day progresses.
In the end, Baylor won the last test by 26 seconds over Bobbitt, giving him two tests wins on the day. In the final tally, Baylor beat Bobbitt by 21 seconds for the win.
“Today went pretty smooth,” said Baylor. “I never hit the ground all day and just stayed smooth and consistent. I was a little tight in the first test, and it ended up being close between me and Russell all day, so I’m happy to come away with the win.”
With two rounds in the books, Baylor now leads Bobbitt by 10 points in the series standings.
“I’m hoping I can keep this momentum going and we’ll see where we finish up at the end of the year,” added Baylor.
Despite winning two tests, Bobbitt was disappointed in the outcome, considering he was in position to take the win heading into the final test.
“I made a small mistake in test six and that cost me,” said Bobbitt. “I feel like I rode okay, but Grant just put in a fast time and knocked me out of the win. It’s disappointing to get second for the second-straight race, but we’re still in decent shape in the points and there’s still a lot of racing to go.”
Third went to Grant Baylor’s brother, Steward, who was the 2012 National Enduro Champ. The SRT/KTM rider was second fastest in the final three tests after struggling in the early tests.
“I was on my head a couple of times in the morning and I really struggled until the fourth test, when I started to turn in around,” said Steward. “It was awesome to give SRT/KTM their second podium in a row. It definitely gives us some momentum going forward and hopefully we can keep it going in Louisiana.”
Josh Strang finished fourth, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing-backed Aussie finishing 49 second behind Steward Baylor. Strang was second quickest in the second test, but was outside the top five in two of the tests, which landed him just short of the podium.
Charlie Mullins kicked off the day by winning test number one, which was encouraging, but mistakes in the second and third tests cost the Red Bull KTM rider valuable time and eventually dropped him to fifth in the final results.
“I’m kind of bummed with fifth, but this was the first race where I really felt like I was healthy in 22 months,” said Mullins. “I think I met my expectations, though, and this is a good place to build from and I want to get back on top.”
Mullins said his wrists didn’t hurt him, but they “don’t work like they used to”.
RPM Racing KTM’s Evan Smith posted his career best finish in the series with a sixth. The Pro class rookie turned in a consistent performance all day, and kept mistakes to a minimum.
Jesse Groemm, who finished third at the series opener in South Carolina, was second behind Mullins in test one, but things went downhill from there after the factory Beta rider collided with another rider in a transfer section, putting him in seventh at the end of the day.
Drew Higgins, another rookie to the Pro class, was eighth on his RPM KTM, while AirGroup Racing Husqvarna teammates Ryder Lafferty and Nick Fahringer rounded out the top 10.
Pro Action KTM’s Jake Froman took the win in the Rekluse Expert-AA division, topping the class standings by 41 second. Froman was three seconds off the lead after test one, but led the remainder of the event after posting an exceptional time in test two.
“I just happened to find my groove today and brought it home for the win,” said Froman.
GNCC regular Adam Bonneur finished second on a Suzuki, with Zac Brown rounding out the podium on a KTM.
In the Women’s A/B division, FMF KTM’s Kacy Martinez took her first win of the season ahead of round one winner Shawn Davidson and fellow KTM rider Rachel Gutish. The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes action on April 10th in Forest Hill, Louisiana for the Cajun Classic National Enduro. For more information on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series check out www.nationalenduro.com .
RESULTS 1. Grant Baylor (Yam) 2. Russell Bobbitt (KTM) 3. Steward Baylor (KTM) 4. Josh Strang (Hsq) 5. Charlie Mullins (KTM) 6. Evan Smith (KTM) 7. Jesse Groemm (Bet) 8. Drew Higgins (KTM) 9. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq) 10. Nick Fahringer (Hsq