Grant Baylor claimed his first career national enduro victory over a stacked field of competitors at this weekend’s Little Brown Jug National Enduro, the penultimate round of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Union, South Carolina. Baylor has been close to landing on the top step of the podium on a couple of occasions this year, however, the FMF/KTM rider just couldn’t quite put it all together until this weekend when he turned in his most solid performance of the season, including a test win in the fifth test of the day.
Several newcomers to the series were in attendance for the Little Brown Jug National Enduro, including Kailub Russell, Josh Strang, Jordan Ashburn and Paul Whibley. And it was Russell who got the early jump on Baylor by winning the first test of the day by an eight-second margin over the South Carolina rider. Team Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Yamaha rider Josh Strang jumped into the mix, as well, by turning the fastest time in test two.
Russell won again in the third test, but it was Baylor who proved to be fastest in the tight and twisty fourth test, leaving the three riders in a tight battle at the midway point of the race.
Russell struggled with one of the tight sections in the sixth and final test when he clipped a tree, which ultimately cost the FMF/KTM rider a spot on the podium. Meanwhile, Strang had his best test of the day, beating Baylor by a massive 27 seconds. However Baylor’s consistency was enough to give him the overall win by eight seconds over Strang at the end of the day.
“It is an amazing feeling to get this win,” stated Baylor. “I was really hoping to pull off a win before the end of the series and today we were able to put it all together.”Despite suffering symptoms of dehydration midway into the race, Factory Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong rebounded to claim the final step of the podium, edging Russell by nine seconds for the position.Groemm finished out the day in fifth, a little less than a minute ahead of Factory Husqvarna’s Russell Bobbitt, who was making his return to racing after spending the last six months recovering from a broken kneecap he suffered at the first round of the season.
Brad Bakken finished out the day in seventh, with Am Pro Yamaha teammate Jordan Ashburn in eighth. Eight-time National Enduro Champ Mike Lafferty had an off day and finished ninth on his FMF/KTM. Meanwhile, Trevor Bollinger rounded out the top 10 on a Honda. With just one round remaining, DeLong now holds a 22-point advantage in the series standings over Groemm, with Baylor another seven points back.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro series resumes with the final round of the series on September 14th in Matthews, Indiana, for the Muddobbers National Enduro. The Indiana race will include a special tribute dinner on Saturday night for eight-time national champ Mike Lafferty, who is retiring after 20 years of racing. In addition, the series awards banquet will take place after the race on Sunday evening. For more information on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series please go to www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Grant Baylor (KTM)
2. Josh Strang (Yam)
3. Andrew DeLong (Hsq)
4. Kailub Russell (KTM)
5. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
6. Russell Bobbitt (Hsq)
7. Brad Bakken (Yam)
8. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
9. Mike Lafferty (KTM)
10. Trevor Bollinger (Yam)