CRAIG DELONG TAKES HIS FIRST NATIONAL ENDURO OVERALL WIN
Story and photos: Shan Moore
Craig DeLong got off to a quick start in the first three tests and then maintained a steady and consistent pace in the final three to grab his maiden win in the Magna1 Motorsports AMA National Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider won the first three tests, building a substantial lead over the competition before cruising to victory in Virginia.
DeLong still managed to win the event by 25 seconds over AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell, although he almost threw it all away in the final test. Russell, who is quickly adapting to national enduro competition, came out on top of a three-way battle for the runner-up slot ahead of Coastal Racing GasGas’ Ryder Lafferty, who finished third, and Enduro Engineering GasGas’ Josh Toth, who was fourth. Russell went 1-2-3 in the final three tests to top Lafferty by just three seconds.
Fifth went to Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Grant Baylor, making for the first time the South Carolina rider has been off the podium all year. Meanwhile, Beta USA’s Evan Smith had his best ride of the season with a sixth overall. Bonecutter GasGas’ Thorn Devlin won the NE Pro 2 class with a seventh overall finish, topping second place in the NE Pro 2 class by almost two minutes.
Tely Energy Racing/Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM’s Steward Baylor is still fighting the Epstein Barr virus, but still managed a credible eighth overall.
“The day was rough,” said Steward. “I’m still not 100%, but I notice it here more than GNCC, which is weird. I think in national enduros you just have to be so sharp and when you’re not 100% here, you notice it a lot more just being a little bit slow to react. It was just one of those days where I just kind of knew that I didn’t want to go any faster. I felt like I was making mistakes any time I did. So, I just rode my race.”
FMF/KTM’s Ben Kelley is still building his speed after breaking his femur in February and finished ninth, while Beta USA’s Jonathan Johnson was second NE Pro 2 rider and rounded out the top-10 overall.
1. Craig DeLong (Hsq)
2. Ricky Russell (Yam)
3. Ryder Lafferty (GG)
4. Josh Toth (GG)
5. Grant Baylor (Kaw)
6. Evan Smith (Bet)
7. Thorn Devlin (GG)
8. Steward Baylor (KTM)
9. Ben Kelley (KTM)
10. Johnathan Johnson (Bet)
Comments are closed.