Ryder Lafferty, who won the Missouri round two years ago, made it three podium finishes in a row for 2022 with his win at this weekend’s Lead Belt National Enduro, round three of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Park Hills, Missouri. The Coastal Racing GasGas rider also extended his lead in the series point standings to 13 points ahead of second place during an eventful day of racing in Park Hills, Missouri.
After getting off to a slow start in test one, where he posted the fifth-fastest time, Lafferty claimed two wins and three seconds in the final five tests to outdistance second place finisher REV Motorsports GasGas’ Grant Baylor by 1 minute, 13.114 secs for the victory. The event was very tough and two of the favorites went out early with injuries. Test two took out Steward Baylor and Ben Kelley both of whom DNFed due to injuries suffered early in test two. Steward and Kelley finished first and second in the opening test.
FMF/KTM’s Josh Toth turned in a blistering final test move ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong to secure the final podium spot in third. “It was absolutely brutal out there,” said Toth. “Pretty much all day it was very sketchy, high speed and just roots and rocks that you couldn’t see. I had a huge get-off in test three, myself, so things were going pretty rough. Then the last couple of tests I was able to put the hammer down and move up to third.”
DeLong turned in one of his best rides of the season for the first five tests of the day, but gave way to Toth in the end. “I was in the mix and pretty competitive up until the last test. Toth and I were close and just I didn’t perform. I went slower and he went faster. I just struggled in that last test.”
Coastal Racing GasGas’ Ricky Russell was in the mix for third, as well, but ended up with fifth, his best finish of the year after missing the opening round due to injury. “I was riding kind of a little bit over-cautious at first, but I still had decent tests,” said Russell. “I was right there in the mix with everyone, except maybe Steward’s time in test one. Stu killed us in test one. Then going into test two, I felt really good the first couple miles, and I came down this hill and there was some ribbon. I should have gone around the ribbon, and I saw a puddle but it didn’t look that deep, but my bike sank up to the seat. So I couldn’t get out. Luckily, a lady jumped off her bike and pulled up my bike to get me out. So, that killed me; I lost anywhere between 45 to a minute roughly. After that, I just tried to put my head down.”
Despite struggling in the first two tests, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Trevor Bollinger still managed a sixth overall finish. “I’m a GNCC guy, so I’m used to just following the trail and I got turned around a few times and lost too much time in the beginning,” said Bollinger. “After that, I think I had a good third, fourth, fifth test. Just kind of an off day. I was pretty timid today and I wasn’t real comfortable. You’ve got to take what you can get on days like this.”
Beta USA’s Evan Smith came in 34 seconds behind Bollinger for seventh. “It was pretty scary today, honestly,” said Smith. “It was really fast and a lot of hidden rocks and root. Obviously, it was easy to go down. Unfortunately, a couple guys did. I just tried to keep it on two and not ride above my head and didn’t fall down all day.
NE Pro 2 class winner Steel City Men’s Clinic’s Ben Nelko (Hon) claimed his third class win in a row, finishing a full minute, 13 seconds ahead of second in class. Beta USA’s Jonathan Johnson was second in class and ninth overall ahead of his brother, Magna1 Motorsports Husqvarna’s Brody Johnson was 10th overall and third in the NE Pro 2 division.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes on June 12th for the Cherokee National Enduro, round four of the series in Greensboro, Georgia. For more information go to www.nationalenduro.com
1. Ryder Lafferty (Hsq)
2. Grant Baylor (GG)
3. Josh Toth (KTM)
4. Craig DeLong (Hsq)
5. Ricky Russell (GG)
6. Trevor Bollinger (Hsq)
7. Evan Smith (Beta)
8. Ben Nelko (Hon)
9. Jonathan Johnson (Bet)
10. Brody Johnson (Hsq)
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