BEN KELLEY WINS LUMBERJACK NATIONAL ENDURO

Ben Kelley: “It’s been a long time coming,” said Kelley. “The climbs were huge. Everything was on a hill, so you had to be cautious and try not to slide off the trail. A lot of off-cambers, deep ups and downs. I’m happy to get a win a national enduro win, especially since they’re not my strong suit. A little surprised for me, but pumped to get the win.”

 

Story and Photos by Shan Moore

 

FMF/KTM’s Ben Kelley claimed his first AMA National Enduro Series win of the 2021 season with a strong and consistent performance at this weekend’s Lumberjack Enduro in Bergholz, Ohio. Despite not winning a test all day, Kelley topped AmPro Yamaha’s Steward Baylor by 11.477 seconds for the overall. With the win, Kelley became the fourth winner in six rounds of the series this year. The win was also Kelley’s first since the 2019 season.

Baylor won two of the six tests en route to the runner-up slot. He extended his lead in the championship chase to 40 points with just three rounds remaining. Baylor was fast, as usual, but missed an arrow in test one, which got him off on the wrong foot.

Josh Toth appeared to be heading for a third-straight win, with a strong lead after three tests. However, the FMF/KTM rider buried his bike in a creek in test four and lost over five minutes pumping the water out of the engine.

Craig Delong seems to be getting his enduro legs under him. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider was in the battle for the first place with Kelley and Baylor heading into the final test but came up just short and settled for third. DeLong’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Trevor Bollinger had another stellar day, finishing fourth.

“I felt good first couple tests, but I had a few crashes the last three tests,” said Bollinger. “It just sucks I had those crashes. I feel like I could have been on the podium or even been in the fight to win the thing. But we’re in the right direction. We’ve just got to clean up a few things.”

 

It seems that Jesse Ansley can have a bad day and still win the NE Pro 2 class. The Trail Jesters Racing KTM rider now has six-straight Pro 2 wins and was a solid sixth in Ohio.

 

Josh Toth:  “About halfway into test four, I came to a water crossing and hit a bad line where it was getting kind of deep and I committed. It was only about a foot or two across to go onto this riverbank. I tried to take a wheelie into it, and it just dropped off waist deep. Just murky water, so you really couldn’t tell how deep it was going to be and unfortunately it got me.”

 

Coastal Racing GasGas’ Ricky Russell parlayed a consistent ride into a top-five finish, finishing fifth in four of the six tests. XC Gear/Enduro Engineering/Moose Racing/Husqvarna’s Ryder Lafferty bounced between sixth and seventh all race and finished off the day in seventh overall. Former pro motocrosser Broc Hepler made a rare national enduro appearance and came away with a respectable eighth overall and second in the NE Pro 2 class.  Seven-Sixty Husqvarna’s Ben Nelko, who won the NE Pro 2 class in Ohio last year, battled with Ansley for first in the class. In the end, Nelko was ninth overall and third NE Pro 2 rider. Josh Toth rounded out the top 10 after his mishap in the creek.

 

Despite crashing in the first two tests, Rachel Archer (AmPro Yamaha) won three of five tests to top the Women’s Elite class.

 

OVERALL RESULTS

  1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  2. Steward Baylor (Yam)
  3. Craig DeLong (Hsq)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (Hsq)
  5. Ricky Russell (GG)
  6. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
  7. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)
  8. Broc Hepler (Kaw)
  9. Ben Nelko (Hsq)
  10. Josh Toth (KTM)

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