Colton Haaker had to play catch up after a first turn pile up
Colton Haaker had to play catch up after a first turn pile up

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH. (March 31st) – Mike Brown won his first GEICO EnduroCross event since 2013 by leading every lap inside the Energy Solutions Arena tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockstar FMF Husqvarna Factory Racing pilot and AMA professional racer since 1988, showed he’s still the man when it comes to pulling great starts, sprinting to a lead and putting down consistent laps to take a win. Rockstart Lucas Oil Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker overcame some mayhem to apply pressure on the last lap but settled for second while Factory Beta’s Max Gerston rode a smart race to finish third.

Behind Brown off the start, second-turn carnage held off defending champion and race-one winner Cody Webb from applying pressure. Brown used the room to his advantage and took the win.

Brown’s night went great from the beginning with the veteran throwing down an insanely fast lap time during the evening Hot Laps session while also “quadding” a step-on-step-off section of the track previously un-attempted by EnduroCross’ best. He took the first gate pick and a bonus championship point (his second of both for the year) into the Main Event. From there, he grabbed the Nexen Tire $500 Holeshot award (also for the second time in-a-row this year). And that’s when the race got interesting.

Former Junior. Champion Max Gerston got his first Pro podium.
Former Junior. Champion Max Gerston got his first Pro podium.

Right after the finish tire jump—into the second turn of the course—was were most of the drama on the evening would unfold. As Webb and Haaker charged for the inside line, they both refused to shut down and leave the second spot to the other, the result was them both going down and the rest of the class stacking up, around and on-top of them. Haaker would re-mount quickly (inside the top-10), while Webb suffered the worst of it with multiple bikes and riders blocking his way. Webb would get up and start his race in near last position. Somehow, Gerston made his way through relatively unscathed.

Meanwhile, it was clean sailing up front for Brown. On a fast track it was clear he’d be hard to catch but Gerston kept him in-check for the first half of the race with Webb’s FMF/RPM/KTM Team Maxxis rider Ty Tremaine in third. Behind them, Haaker and Webb were on a moving mission. By the halfway point, Haaker had charged past SRT Racing-backed rider Cory Graffunder and Tremaine to put the pressure on Gerston. Gerston looked strong, holding him off until nearly the 10th lap of the 15-lap main when Haaker made a smooth move on the rocks to get by.

Webb was flying, too. His pace only impeded by the fastest line being occupied by a slower rider or lapped rider. He ended up going down once more but still, somehow, managed to power into fourth overall on the evening.

With only a few laps to go, it looked like Brown was going to cruise to a victory, but Haaker had other plans and put down a two-lap charge to get right next to Brown on the final lap. In the end, Brown had enough gas in the tank to push a little harder (will he ever run out?) and take his first win of the year and first since 2013’s season. Haaker would finish second, Gerston in third, Webb in fourth and Graffunder in fifth.

 Mike Brown on the WIN:
“The track was good for me tonight. It was fast but the rocks were tough and a lot of guys were going down there. I rode the track as hard as I could and didn’t make mistakes in the difficult sections,”Brown said. “ When I saw the other guys behind me go down after the start I told myself I better go now. The start was the whole race. If I would have started third or fourth I probably couldn’t have gotten here—these guys are going so fast. I got a little tight at the end and these guys caught up to me but I can’t wait to work on a little bit of stuff for the next race.”

Colton Haaker on finishing second:
“I wanted to shut the door on that second corner and Cody (Webb) didn’t want to let me inside so we just collided right in the beginning,” Haaker said. “He was on the inside and I had a wheel on him and he probably felt like he had it and both of us felt like we didn’t want to shut down. I managed to get up faster and squirt out of there in the top ten and put in some good, consistent laps. I finally caught up to Brown on the last lap and I ran out of laps. Second is good. I didn’t want to give up any points tonight because I’m still not 100%.”

Max Gerston on third and his first podium:
“I’m feeling like a million bucks,” Gerston said. “I feel like this is where I belong and we’ve been working so, so hard for so, so long during the week and my DA8 training has been getting me to another level. I just eat, sleep, breathe EnduroCross and hopefully this is a start of a big thing. I have so much fun out here and am so fortunate. The track was fast and fun and flowed well tonight with a gnarly rock section. I had a blast!”

Salt Lake City, Utah GEICO AMA EnduroCross Men’s Main Event Results
1.    Mike Brown                       Husqvarna
2.    Colton Haaker        Husqvarna
3.    Max Gerston           Beta
4.    Cody Webb                       KTM
5.    Cory Graffunder    KTM
6.    Ty Tremaine         KTM
7.    Nick Thompson     KTM
8.    Kyle Redmond      Beta
9.    Kevin Rookstool    Suzuki
10.  Destry Abbott          Kawasaki


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