By Tod Sciacqua
Oklahoma, here I come! For round two of the Endurocross series, my buddies Kyle, Chris and Tim and I jumped on a plane to Oklahoma City for another weekend of racing. We landed on Thursday to do our normal banner-hanging duties, which went well considering the size of the arena—over 300 feet long! This allows for a huge Endurocross course with lots of room for the track builder’s imaginations. Eric Peronnard is in charge of the design of all the tracks and obstacles, and he must stay up really late at night trying to come up with new ideas for the riders to struggle with. The lap times were around one min and 20 seconds long, which is a long time considering that most tracks are under a minute.
On Saturday night the attendance in the arena was surprisingly good compared to last year, which was great to see. For me, the Vet main started off strong with a second place start. The race was only four laps long, and a good start is important because you don’t have any chance of winning if you make a mistake and need to make up time. My plan was to hang back and try not to make any mistakes behind the guy on the KTM who was leading. I studied his lines for the first two laps, and then made a clean pass over a double that he wasn’t doing. Now that I was leading I had a clear track ahead of me and was feeling good, but on lap three I began coming up behind lapped riders. With Missouri Hare Scramble champion Steve Leivan hot on my heels and hungry for the win, I had to stay on my toes and not make any mistakes. When the white flag came out Steve was about five feet behind me. As I hung on through that lap and down the last straight over the rocks before the finish, I could her him going for it with about 40 feet to go. Luckily, I hung in there and got the win! I was super pumped and happy to qualify for the Vet main event at the Endurocross finals coming up in Las Vegas on November 22nd.
Endurocross Round Three: Florence, South Carolina
With the win in the Vet class in Oklahoma behind me, I am now qualified for the Vet main event at the Endurocross Finals in Las Vegas. Because of this, I decided to race the expert class in South Carolina and try to qualify for a main event. Believe me, this is not easy considering the amount of talented racers that come out to do these events. Unlike an outdoor National that takes forty guys to the main, Endurocross only takes ten guys to the big show and a lot of good riders don’t make it every time. I have seen guys like Mike Lafferty, John Dowd, Nathan Woods, Ryan Hughes and Destry Abbott sitting on the sidelines watching main events. Needless to say making a main is super hard.
Heat race #1 started off for me with a horrible start and an even worse crash in the huge rock pile, where I rolled over upside-down onto the hydro-barriers. While I was rolling over the bars onto my back I was thinking to myself, “This is extremely embarrassing. How am I going to get up now that I’m so stuck?” As I wiggled up out of my upside down position and back to my feet, I regrouped and was off again to a poor finish that was not what I had hoped for.
For me, semi #2 was really was a repeat of the first heat. I got a bad start followed by getting really stuck in the rocks again. It really all boiled down to my poor line selection on the large rock pile section, and I ended up not making the cut out of the competitive field. Still, it was all worth the trip to watch the main and see my good friend Damon Huffman win his first Endurocross. He was so stoked to be sitting on the top at his level of racing, and it’s not easy to get a win in this series so he had good reason to be excited. He hadn’t gotten first overall in a stateside race since the US Open in 1997. Congrats, H-Diddy! As for me, I’ve already started preparing for the next round in Denver….