Gobbler Getter National Enduro Race Report
Steward Baylor topped the Gobbler Getter National Enduro—the ninth and final round of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Stanton, Alabama, and by doing so claimed his second National Enduro title.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad DuVall came into the final round sitting two points behind Baylor in the series standings, so basically, the Alabama round amounted to a winner-take-all affair. However, the tone for the race was set in the very first test when Baylor turned the fastest time by 11 seconds over DuVall.
“The day started surprisingly well,” Baylor said. “I think in all the years I’ve been riding national enduro, I’ve probably won the opening test maybe less than five times, so to start off with the win in test one was huge for me.” DuVall came back to edge Baylor by six-tenths of a second in test two, though FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Russell Bobbitt turned the fastest time by six seconds ahead of DuVall. Baylor came back to win tests three and four, which allowed him to build nearly a 30-second lead over DuVall heading into the final two tests.
“I was able to gap those guys by quite a bit after the fourth test,” Baylor said, “and I knew I could relax a little in the last two tests, but I made a mistake in test five and it set me back a little. I went down and I was counting as I was trying to get going and I counted to seven so I knew I was still in decent shape. Thad ended up getting me by 12 seconds in that test and at the end of the day, only 12 seconds separated us in the final scoring so I’m super happy with how the day went.”
After six tests, the nine-round Kenda AMA National Enduro Series came down to just 12 seconds at the finish, with Baylor grabbing four race wins on the season, while DuVall also won four rounds.
“It was a hard-fought series,” DuVall said. “It’s funny because I came into the series not exactly feeling comfortable with the enduros, but over the season I have come to really enjoy it, and though I’m not exactly happy with second overall in the series, I feel I rode the best I could. I just wish I could have ridden the way I did today in the last two rounds when I was nursing my wrist injury.”
Integrity Acquisitions-backed KTM rider Evan Smith, who grabbed his first-career podium at the Gobble Getter, has been steadily improving over the course of the year. The Georgia rider finished 15th at the opener in Sumter, South Carolina, which is a far cry from the third-place finish he turned in in Alabama.
Fourth went to FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Russell Bobbitt. Bobbitt turned in one of his best rides of the season, edging SRT Racing’s Cory Buttrick by six-tenths of a second. Solid Performance Racing’s Jesse Groemm came in sixth, while Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Ben Kelley made a rare appearance at the enduro series to finish seven. Moose Racing’s Zack Hayes was eighth, with SRT Racing Gas Gas’ Ron Commo III and Rekluse Expert/AA winner Thorn Devlin rounding out the top 10.
Devlin was perfect on the season by winning all nine rounds of the Rekluse/Expert AA class. He won the Gobbler Getter round with a minute to spare over AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna teammate Tyler Vore, who was second in class and 13th overall. “It was rough out there,” Devlin said. “My arms pumped up so I just tried to ride as smooth as I could but still fast.”
KR4 Arrive-n-Ride Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones grabbed her seventh win of the season in the Women’s Elite class, beating Jessica Delee (KTM) by nearly seven minutes. Allie Spurgeon was third on a Yamaha. “I had a good day,” Jones said. “I think I’m starting to get the hang of the enduros, though I still struggle with the tight stuff.”
Allie Roland won the Women’s C class on a KTM, while the A 55+ class was won by Greg Roberts.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series recently announced its schedule for the 2018 season. For more information on the series go to www.nationalenduro.com.
2017 NEPG Round 9 Results
- Steward Baylor (KTM)
- Thad DuVall (Hsq)
- Evan Smith (KTM)
- Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
- Cory Buttrick (KTM)
- Jesse Groemm (KTM)
- Ben Kelley (KTM)
- Zack Hayes (KTM)
- Thorn Devlin (Hsq)