JOSH TOTH WINS CHEROKEE NATIONAL ENDURO

Story by Shan Moore

 

Josh Toth: “Going into the last test I knew it was going to be a tight one and they (the Baylor Bros) were strong in it. I put my head down and charged. Fortunately, there were some roots and rocks and stuff as well as the tight stuff, so I was able to lay down a heater in the last test and hold Stew off.” Photo Shan Moore

Josh Toth took a well-deserved win, his first of the year, at this weekend’s Cherokee National Enduro in Greensboro, Georgia, grabbing the lead in the first test and then holding it all day to beat out series point leader Steward Baylor by 19 seconds at the finish.

The FMF/KTM rider only topped two of the seven tests all day, but the two he did win he did so by big margins, while his remaining test times saw him sticking tight to his top two challengers, Steward (AmPro Yamaha) and Grant Baylor (KLM/Milwaukee/GasGas).

“Josh had a good lead after the first test,” said Grant Baylor. “I clicked away a little bit on that one in the second and third test there. Then I think it was test five, I was coming down the straightaway behind one of the faster pro women riders and the rider in front of her moved off the trail for her, and then instead of looking to pull back out in the straightaway, they just pulled right back out into me and I hit them going thirty or forty miles an hour. My bike was all mangled up. I instantly crashed again after that. Just wasn’t focused.” Photo Shan Moore

Grant and Steward were in a tight fight for second after the first test, but then Grant took a clear lead over his brother after winning tests two, three and four. However, a mishap in five cost Grant considerable time, leaving Steward to chase Toth to the finish.

“Josh had a good lead after the first test,” said Grant. “I clicked away a little bit on that one in the second and third test there. Then I think it was test five, I was coming down the straightaway behind one of the faster pro women riders and the rider in front of her moved off the trail for her, and then instead of looking to pull back out in the straightaway, they just pulled right back out into me and I hit them going thirty or forty miles an hour. it sent me and them flipping over the bars. It took me a while to get up after that. I ripped the whole of my starter button. My bike was all mangled up. It was a really good wreck. So, I got up after that and tried to get back going, but I couldn’t get back into that mode. Instantly crashed again after that. Just wasn’t focused.”

Steward Baylor on Josh Toth’s win- “I don’t think Grant or I have ever been beat in a true “old school” tight enduro test until today. I got to give it to Josh. So, hats off to him in that last section. I really came out the other side thinking that we got it, and we saw the times and I was like, wow, he learned how to ride the tight stuff.” Photo Shan Moore

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Trevor Bollinger ran fifth and sixth most of the day, but snuck past FMF/KTM’s Ben Kelley in the final test to claim fourth, his best national enduro finish.

Ben Kelley. “I felt like I was riding pretty good, just a little bit off the top three. I had a little mistake in the fifth test, and then the seventh test had a crash and just struggled with that super tight trail.” Photo Kenny King

Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Jesse Ansley chalked up another win in the NE Pro2 division with an eighth overall, making four wins in four races.

Jesse Ansley eighth overall and first in NE Pro2. Photo Shan Moore

“This was a lot tighter than I would have liked, but to keep the win streak alive is pretty cool,” said Ansley. “It was hot. It was brutal today. I almost overheated that last test. It was super tight. I knew I had like a minute buffer, but I still wanted to put in a good test score. So, to leave here with another win, really can’t complain.”

XC Gear/Enduro Engineering/Moose Racing/Husqvarna’s Ryder Lafferty returned from a two-race absence due to a broken collarbone to log a ninth overall finish. Meanwhile, 760 Husqvarna’s Ben Nelko rounded out the top 10 overall and second in the NE Pro2 class.

Kory Steede claimed her first major pro win with a victory in the Women’s Elite class. The Babbitt’s Online Monster Energy Kawasaki rider dominated, winning all six tests.

OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Josh Toth (KTM)
  2. Steward Baylor (Yam)
  3. Grant Baylor (GG)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (Hsq)
  5. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  6. Craig DeLong (Hsq)
  7. Evan Smith (Hsq)
  8. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
  9. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)
  10. Ben Nelko (Hsq)
2021 off-road racingCherokee National EnduroFMFGrant BaylorJosh TothNEPGsteward baylor