Aussies Impress at Full Gas Sprint Enduro Round 1 | News
Kawasaki rider Lyndon Snodgrass won Pro2 class and finished fourth overall while his teammate, Josh Strang finished fourth in Pro class.
Husqvarna rider Tayla Jones kicked off her title defence with clean wins on both days of racing.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell drew first blood in the 2020 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series presented by AOMC with a decisive victory at the opening round at the GTR Complex in Gaston, South Carolina.
Kailub celebrated his 30thbirthday on Saturday after topping the time charts by nearly a minute over Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Ricky Russell, while Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang finished third.
Kailub backed up that performance on Sunday by winning five of six tests for the overall victory.
“I felt pretty decent and I was pretty happy with where I was on the track and physically,” said Kailub. “Everything was kind of flowing and I was not trying overly hard to put in the times that I was putting in. So that was a plus. We made a bunch of changes throughout the weekend with the bike, playing around with it. Just trying to figure out which direction to go when the track gets a certain kind of condition. We went back and forth and made a bunch of changes and everything seemed to work pretty well all around for the most part. It was a really solid weekend of tuning and testing and having good results, too.”
On Saturday, Kailub won four of the five tests, finishing second in test three when he dropped his front wheel in a hole and went down. Am Pro Yamaha’s Layne Michael took advantage of the situation to nip Kailub by about 1.5 seconds at the finish for the test win.
Kailub took Saturday’s win by 6.3 seconds over Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Ricky Russell, who went 6-2-6-3-2 in the five tests. His worst two scores (two sixths) came in the Cross Test.
Strang rounded out Saturday’s top three, about 4.5 seconds behind Ricky Russell, while Layne Michael, Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong, Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Liam Draper and Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Jordan Ashburn finished out the top seven.
On Sunday, Kailub showed he meant business by winning the opening test by nearly eight seconds over Ricky Russell. Draper turned in one of his best performances of the weekend for third.
For the rest of the day, Strang, Michael and Ricky Russell battled over second, while Kailub dominated out front.
In the final test, with the race well in hand, Kailub finished second to a hard-charging Michael, who grabbed his second test win of the weekend.
Kailub, of course, took the overall, with Ricky Russell edging Michael by 5.3 seconds for the runner-up slot.
Strang was frustrated with fourth overall. The 2018 series champ had looked as though he would finish second on Saturday, but test five had to be thrown out for the Pro class due to a banner that got taken down, which dropped him to third.
“It was a bit disappointing,” said Strang. “I think I might have finished third if we had that test in. I struggled a little bit all weekend, but other than that, it’s good to be back racing. The track got really rough this weekend, so I think compared to last year it was maybe rougher. The sand was a little wetter than normal and it created some more bumps. But it was good. For the most part I felt decent, but not as good as I feel like I should have. But it’s all right.”
Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Lyndon Snodgrass won the Pro2 division on a by 7.4 seconds over Trail Jesters KTM’s Johnny Girroir.
Snodgrass won every test on Saturday except for the final Enduro test, which was won by Girroir.
On Sunday, Snodgrass and Girroir went back and forth, with Snodgrass taking the overall thanks to his strong performance on Saturday.
“Johnny beat me by a few seconds today, but we’ve got the overall for the weekend, so that’s pretty cool,” said Snodgrass. “I’ve enjoyed myself out here. We finished up with no injuries or nothing, so that’s good as well.”
Despite getting stuck in a mudhole on Saturday and losing considerable time, Rockstar Husqvarna Lan Mills XC rider Tayla Jones beat out BABS Racing/Maxxis/Fly Yamaha’s Becca Sheets by nearly 15 seconds for the win in the Women’s Pro class. On Sunday, Jones won every test.
“The tracks are super rough, but overall I had a lot of fun,” said Jones. “The first race of the season went really well, so I can’t really complain. Saturday, I ended up getting stuck in a mud hole and lost like a minute thirty, so I had to come back from that. So that kind of sucked and put me behind going into the last couple tests, but I ended up making up the time. I won yesterday and today, so I’m pretty stoked.”
New Zealand’s Rachel Archer was third on an AmPro Yamaha, while Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish finished fourth and Canadian Shelby Turner was fifth.
The Open A class was won by Andrew Matusek, with Cope Beckert in second and Zack Tussell in third.