In all, DeLong won outright or tied for the win in three of the six tests and finished the event with a 20-second margin of victory over runner-up finisher Steward Baylor.
DeLong’s win extended his lead in the series standings to 17 points over Maxxis/Klim/DirtWise KTM rider Jesse Groemm, who was third in Colorado.
“This was a tough event, but I think I did a good job of deciding where to go for it and where to take it easy,” said DeLong. “There were some parts of the trail that were a little sketchy and you didn’t want to go down in those spots.”
The event was held at an elevation of over 7500 feet, which put additional stress on the riders.
“The bikes didn’t have as much power as they do at lower altitudes, so that was just one more thing you had to adjust to,” added DeLong.
Baylor got off to a relatively slow start, finishing test one over 40 seconds off of DeLong’s time. However, the FMF/KTM rider picked up the pace midway into the race, and thanks to test wins in three tests he was able to work his way back up into the runner-up slot by the end of the day.
Groemm, who won the previous round in Pennsylvania, wasn’t really in the hunt until the late in the race. Groemm topped off his day by winning the final test, which moved him ahead of KTM support rider Grant Baylor for third overall. Meanwhile, Colorado off-roader Ian Blythe tied for the fastest time in two tests and rounded out the top five on his KTM.
Nick Fahringer nursed an injured knee to sixth overall but lost valuable points to DeLong in the championship chase. The AirGroup Racing Husqvarna rider led the series point standings two rounds ago, but tore the MCL in his left knee two days before the Pennsylvania round and has been off the pace at the last two rounds.
Current AMA EnduroCross points leader Cody Webb made the drive from California to make his first ride in a national enduro and the Beta USA-backed rider came away with seventh overall. The former national MotoTrials champ says he’ll be back to ride an eastern round in the near future.
N-Fab/AM Pro Yamaha’s Brad Bakken had an up and down day, but still managed a solid overall finish for eighth, edging out AirGroup Racing’s Ryder Lafferty by just nine seconds.
Not far behind Lafferty, Beta USA’s Max Gerston, another EnduroCross standout, rounded out the top 10.
With just two rounds remaining, DeLong holds a 17-point lead over Groemm, 170 to 153, while Fahringer sits in third with 152.
Colorado’s Cody Shafer took the win in the Rekluse Expert-AA class. The Kawasaki rider tangled with a lapper in the second test and badly bent his header pipe, but still managed to top Husqvarna support rider Craig DeLong by just six seconds, despite riding the next two tests with the bent pipe.
Third in the Rekluse Expert-AA class was KTM rider Kaleb Ramsay, while Nathan Ferderer (GG) and Drew Higgins (KTM) rounded out the top five.
DeLong sits atop the Rekluse Expert-AA class standings with 191 points, with Higgins in second with 153 points and Caleb Haynes in third with 97 points.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes action on August 31st for the Little Brown Jug National Enduro in Union, South Carolina. For more info go to www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Andrew DeLong (Hsq)
2. Steward Baylor (KTM)
3. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
4. Grant Baylor (KTM)
5. Ian Blythe (KTM)
6. Nick Fahringer (Hsq)
7. Cody Webb (Bet)
8. Brad Bakken (Yam)
9. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)
10. Max Gerston (Bet)