Rory Sullivan was chosen for the Nathan Woods Hard Charger Award after coming from outside the top-10 to win the race.
The 2011 Big Sky XC race finished with a grueling three-hour pro event which was won by Rory Sullivan. The Southern Washington rider was tenatious as he picked off the competition and worked his way into the lead from outside the top-10. Sullivan is a journeyman racer who is racing the EnduroCross series this year. Though he's proficient at rocks and logs, the Kawasaki rider is racing for a paycheck so he'll line up on any starting line he can find. En route to Big Sky, Montana, Sullivan stopped in for a local Arenacross race on Idaho's panhandle. Then he busted over to the ski resort where he snagged a cool $2000. We chatted with Sullivan while the other podium finishers were still coming in.
Is this your first time up here?
First time to Big Sky, which I'm stoked on because I've always wanted to come up here since it started.
What did you expect coming in?
I was hoping for wet ground because that's what I ride back home and the last couple years were blessed with those conditions. I was kinda just hoping it would rain but I just kept telling myself before the race to be positive. Just stick it out and grit my teeth because there's money on the line, and who doesn't like money? A few hours of hard work is worth giving it your all.
Run me through the beginning. How did it go for you off the start?
Horrible start. I've never been good at dead-engine starts and immediately I was in first gear and sometimes stopped because I couldn't see the trail. People started tipping over and I capitalized on that. I just kept moving forward. In the rock garden on the first lap I got by a few people and I figured that it would just go that way throughout the race if I just kept steady.
What was the hardest part?
Rory Sullivan: "I just kept moving forward. In the rock garden on the first lap I got by a few people and I figured that it would just go that way throughout the race if I just kept steady."
I think just keeping your concentration. There's so many loose rocks on the trail and you can easily come into a corner and lose the front end. Just watching body position and making sure that as you get tired you aren't slipping up.
Did you have any battles?
For a couple laps I was with Devin Bolin and Cameron Weaver. Other than that it was like whenever you came up to make a pass somebody would either look back and not expect you to be there and you could just capitalize really quck. Or the would make a mistake and you would go by so really the only battle I had was with Weaver and Bolin.
What was the best feature? Did you have a spot that you really liked?
I think the whole layout is killer. We're on a ski hill, you know? You're zig-zagging up and zig-zagging down. I'm sure there are so many trail options they can do but I think they did a stellar job and had a good variety.
What about the whole Big Sky experience? Have you gotten a chance to do anything besides motorcycles?
No. I just drove up and did an Arenacross this last week at a fair in Coeur d'Alene. Then I came up and just tried to relax the last couple days. Just enjoy the scenery up here and get my bike ready and my mind ready and go win I guess. That was awesome!
Where are you going next?
Back home and then there's an EnduroCross in St. Maries, Idaho next weekend so back up kinda near this area.
Cool, well good luck.