IRC Tire EnduroCross Series presented by Progressive
Story and Photos by Shan Moore
The IRC Tire EnduroCross Series, presented by Progressive, visited Findlay Toyota Center in Prescott, Arizona, for round two of its six-round series. Britain’s Jonny Walker continued his perfect season on his factory Beta, going 1-1-1 in the three motos, duplicating his performance at the opener two weeks ago in Everett, Washington. Walker also topped the hot-lap qualifying at both events, doing so in Prescott by a full two seconds.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker gave Walker a run for his money after grabbing the holeshot in the first moto and leading until Walker was able to make an aggressive pass to take the lead in the treacherous rock section.
“The whole night was tough,” said Walker. “The track was difficult to make time anywhere. Even if I did do a hot lap that was two seconds faster, it’s difficult to do that every lap, lap after lap. I was setting Colton up a few laps. I was only gaining on him in the rocks. I gained on him a few times, and then all of a sudden he dropped onto my line. So then I shot back to the inside. I thought, if I can get it inside in this corner… He stayed going from the outside back to the inside, so we made a bit of contact. But it was on the second-to-last lap. I knew I had to get away because I knew he’d be coming back hard at me. So happy to go 1-1-1 again.”
The third moto played out in similar fashion, with Haaker getting away first at the start, while Walker dogged the former EnduroCross champ, making a pass while jumping out of the rock section.
“Yeah, the rocks, that was the most technical bit of the track,” said Walker. “That was the only bit I felt like I could make time. I felt really comfortable in there.”
Despite his run-ins with Walker, Haaker went on to go 2-2-2 for second.
“I just wanted to try to get a win,” said Haaker. “Jonny didn’t want me to have one, apparently. We were a little dicy. I felt like I was good in mostly the whole track. It was just the rocks where I felt his pressure. I had to kind of just sit a little bit more than I would have liked. I didn’t feel amazing there, for whatever reason. I felt better the other motos there, but then that last moto I felt like I just couldn’t quite figure out where I wanted to be and go.”
Cody Webb: “I’m happy to come away with a podium. This track really wasn’t my forte. There were so many slams out there. I’m a little bit older and my wrist is so trashed. I took it easy this week. I was feeling a little under the weather. Only rode once since the weekend and took it easy to recover for this race and being at altitude and dry up here.”
“Overall I’m pretty happy,” said LeBlond. “This whole week I was a little under the weather. This year I did not let it affect me. Last year I got my podium and then I got 16th because I got sick. This year I was able to back it up with a fourth. Obviously, I want to be on that podium and work closer to that win, but honestly I’m happy to keep it consistent. We’re still in the points for everything and still good going into the next round.”
Beta USA’s Cooper Abbott’s 9-5-6 was good enough for seventh overall. Cooper rode a four-stroke at the first round, but opted for a two-stroke for Prescott.
“First moto was a bit rough,” said Abbott. “Some stuff out of my hands, and that’s a bit frustrating. But I simply just need to ride better. I need to put myself in better positions. Not where I want to be. There’s a lot of fast guys and everybody is riding really well. I know I can be a lot farther up there and battling for podiums and wins. I just got to put myself in better positions and I haven’t done that so far. Luckily going to Idaho next weekend and we’ll try to do that in the back-to-back.
In the Women’s Pro final, Over and Out/GasGas’ Rachel Gutish came from behind to grab the win, while Melissa Harten (Bet) was second and Kylee Sweeten was third (GG).
- Jonny Walker (Bet) 1-1-1
2. Colton Haaker (Hsq) 2-2-2
3. Cody Webb (Bet) 4-3-3
4. Ryder LeBlond (Hsq) 3-6-4
5. Trystan Hart (KTM) 5-4-7
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GG) 6-7-5
7. Cooper Abbott (Bet) 9-5-6
8. Will Riordan (KTM) 7-8-9
9. Max Gerston (GG) 8-10-8
10 Dominik Olszowy (Rie) 11-9-10