“It feels really, really good to get this win,” said DeLong. “I was telling Fred I don’t even know if it sank in yet. I race against so many of my heroes in the national enduros – I’ve looked up to these guys for so long, and I can’t believe I actually beat them. Hopefully I can carry this momentum and attitude into the rest of the series and keep moving up.”
DeLong had plenty of obstacles on his way to victory. In Test 3 he went down and then had a stick jam in his brake pedal, but he trudged on and was able to finish the test in fourth. Later, he had a scare when a deer came out of the brush unexpectedly, jumping in front of him and then running alongside until finally turning tail. Notably, DeLong didn’t score a test win in any of the six special sections at Concho, but his consist finishes within the top-five were enough to secure him the overall.
Bobbitt trailed DeLong by only six seconds in combined time, making a valiant push in the final test, which he won. His struggles in the third test, where he went down more than once, and his seventh-place finish in the fifth test left him just short of the win.
“I felt good all day,” said Bobbitt. “Unfortunately, I suffered a couple crashes in the third test section which cost me a lot of time. I was able to make up a few seconds in the final two sections but wasn’t able to get the win today.”
Fahringer notched a test win in the third section, but a dismal start left him with too much time to recover to hope for the runner-up spot.
KTM riders Ian Blythe and Grant Baylor took fourth and fifth, respectively, and Husaberg’s Michael Lafferty finished in sixth. Lafferty crashed in the first and fourth sections, but was able to score a high-point on the day when he finished second in Test 3.
Three Yamaha riders claimed the seventh, eighth and ninth-place spots: Jesse Groemm, Josh Weisenfels and Brad Bakken. Husaberg’s Kyle McDonal rounded out the top-10 followed by current National Enduro points leader Charlie Mullins of KTM.
Mullins got off to a strong start, earning second-place in the first test and winning the second. In the transfer from section two to three, a mechanical issue came up and caused him to show up four minutes late for Test 3. He was penalized the four minutes and lost additional time in the test, dropping him down the ranks significantly. He rallied back in the final three sections and was able to salvage nine points on the day.
“I was definitely bummed that we had the mechanical issue today,” said Mullins. “Once we had it worked out, I knew I needed to ride as hard as I could to gain each position within reach. I am happy I was able to get back into point earning positions to earn enough points to maintain my lead heading to the next round.”
Mullins now sits six points ahead of Bobbitt, who is second overall. Fahringer is in third, now followed by DeLong, who moved up to fourth. Lafferty rounds out the top-five. The next National Enduro showdown takes place in Forest Hill, Louisiana on April 14th, 2013.
Concho National Enduro Results 2013:
1. Andrew DeLong (Husqvarna)
2. Russell Bobbitt (Husaberg)
3. Nick Fahringer (Husaberg)
4. Ian Blythe (KTM)
5. Grant Baylor (KTM)
6. Michael Lafferty (Husaberg)
7. Jesse Groemm (Yamaha)
8. Josh Weisenfels (Yamaha)
9. Brad Bakken (Yamaha)
10. Kyle McDonal (Husaberg)
11. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
12. Martin Howell (KTM)
13. Hayden Franklin (KTM)
14. Nathan Ferderer (Husqvarna)
15. Zach Ingram (Yamaha)
AMA/Rekluse National Enduro Championship Points 2013:
1. Charlie Mullins, 70
2. Russell Bobbitt, 64
3. Nick Fahringer, 62
4. Andrew DeLong, 58
5. Michael Lafferty, 56
6. Grant Baylor, 44
7. Brad Bakken, 43
8. Ian Blythe, 38
9. Thad DuVall, 32
10. Jesse Groemm, 29