PHOENIX ENDUROCROSS

Colton Haaker claimed his third main of the year. Ian Reid photo

The first ever Phoenix EnduroCross was a huge success as the sold-out WestWorld arena saw Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker take a big win. It appeared that Cody Webb, his title nemesis would finish second until his chain broke on the last lap. That allowed KTM’s Taylor Robert to take second. Webb still finished third as Haaker had lapped the fourth placed rider.

It was the first EnduroCross of the year for Taylor Robert. Ian Reid photo.

Haaker, Robert and Webb won their respective heat races to earn the bonus point that goes with a heat win. The top two riders from each heat race then faced off later in the evening for a single hot lap against the clock for an additional bonus point and first gate pick for the main. The same three riders set the fastest three times with Haaker, Robert and Webb in that order.

When the final race of the night lined up, Robert jumped out front first to take the $500 Nexen Tire Holeshot award and held the early lead. Haaker was close behind with Webb in third to set up an epic battle for the win. Robert and Haaker put on an amazing show as each of them made some spectacular leaps completely over the firewood pit and water hole, sometimes in unison and sometimes to regain a small advantage as the other missed the challenging leaps.

On lap five of fifteen. Haaker finally found a way past Robert in the tricky double rock section. At that point, he slowly pulled away from Robert, who was competing in his first EnduroCross of the season due to his Enduro World Championship commitments. Webb rode a steady and fast pace to pass Robert on lap seven and held a fairly consistent gap of about eight seconds until lap fourteen. Haaker took the win, his third in four races so far this season.

Cody Webb lost second place on the last lap when his chain broke. He had already lapped the fourth-place rider so he only lost one position. Ian Reid photo.

On lap fifteen, Webb’s chain broke and although he managed to push his bike to the finish with some outside help from a few other riders, he missed some obstacles and was only credited with fourteen laps, which was still good enough for third. Robert passed Webb to take second.

“I came in a little rusty due to an injury so I was glad we had a weekend off,” said Haaker of the solid evening. “I had an awesome battle with Taylor and we were jumping the water and some awesome stuff so that was a really fun race and I am happy to do what I need to do.”

“The track was awesome tonight, really fun and a great venue,” said Webb. “I made a huge mistake in the matrix on the first lap and but was able to work my way past Taylor. When my chain broke, I knew we had lapped a lot of riders but I still felt that I needed to push the bike to the finish.”

“This is the gnarliest two wheel sport we have and I only had three days of EnduroCross practice.” Robert said. “That is not how I wanted to get second but I am still happy to be up here on the podium with these guys and show that I can still mix it up with them.”

Husqvarna’s Mike Brown recovered from a bad start to finish fourth. Canada’s Trystan Hart had a breakthrough event to finish fifth. The nineteen year old Canadian has been progressing rapidly. SRT Racing’s Cory Grafunder finished sixth. Beta’s Kyle Redmond was seventh. Cooper Abbott had his best ever finish with an eighth. GasGas backed Geoff Aaron finished ninth and Wyatt Hart, Trystan’s older brother, finished tenth.

Noah Kepple, Max Gerston, Ty Tremaine and Taddy Blazusiak finished eleventh through fourteenth respectively. This was the third race in a row where Blazusiak struggled since injuring his thumb in round two.

2016 Phoenix AMA EnduroCross Results

  1. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
  2. Taylor Robert, KTM
  3. Cody Webb, KTM
  4. Mike Brown, Husqvarna
  5. Trystan Hart, Husqvarna
  6. Cory Graffunder, KTM
  7. Kyle Redmond, Beta
  8. Cooper Abbott, Husqvarna
  9. Geoff Aaron, GasGas
  10. Wyatt Hart, Husqvarna
  11. Noah Kepple, KTM
  12. Max Gerston, Beta
  13. Ty Tremaine, KTM
  14. Taddy Blazusiak, KTM

Haaker opened up a seven point lead over Webb in the championship, with 101 and 94 respectively. Brown currently holds third with 77 points.

cody webbCOLTON HAAKEREndurocrossTaylor Robert