JONNY WALKER DOMINATES ENDUROCROSS OPENER

Jonny Walker swept the opening event of the EnduroCross schedule on his Beta 300RR 2-stroke. “I was quietly confident coming in, you know I’ve worked on feeling good and, honestly, last year, I was coming off of two operations and I finished the first round in eighth. So to start this year with a win is huge for me. I knew I was riding good, so I’m really happy with how tonight has gone.”

 

Story and photos by Shan Moore

The IRC Tire EnduroCross Series presented by Progressive visited Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington, for the opening round of its six-round series. At the end of a full night of exciting race, the UK’s Jonny Walker picked up where he left off last year ‑ with a win. In fact, the Beta USA-backed rider dominated the event, going 1-1-1 in his three motos, easily topping runner-up FactoryOne Sherco’s Cody Webb’s 7-2-3 tally and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Ryder LeBlond’s 5-3-4.

Walker added to his domination of the event by posting the fastest time in hot-laps, ahead of last year’s title rival FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Trystan Hart, and Webb, setting the starting order for the first moto. Webb’s teammate, Cooper Abbott and factory GasGas rider Taddy Blazusiak, were fourth and fifth. According to the top riders, the Everett, Washington course was a highly technical one, and a course that required not only finesse, but consistency, which Walker had in spades.

A shot at the podium would mean Cody Webb would have to finish one better than Rockstar Husqvarna’s Ryder Leblond and two better than FMF KTM’s Trystan Hart in the final moto. He ended up third in the moto,  second overall for the night on his Sherco 300 2-stroke.

 

Hart took the early lead in moto one, followed closely by Walker and Rockstar Energy Factory Racing’s Colton Haaker, the series 2021 champ. Walker put the pressure on Hart throughout the race, although he never led until the final turn of the next-to-last lap, when Hart lost his front end and went down, gifting Walker first place. Walker held on for the win, while Hart followed in second, and Haaker finished third.

Ryder LeBlond (3rd Overall): “I wasn’t the fastest out there tonight, although I put myself in a good position and that’s what’s required in this championship. We saw how important consistency was last season, so I am really happy to come away from round one with a really strong result on the podium.”

 

In moto two, the order is reversed from the opening moto, so Walker had last pick on the gate, just ahead of Webb and LeBlond. Abbott came away with the lead early in the race, while Walker, Hart and Webb were mired in mid-pack, then Walker was best at passing on the technical course and he the lead by the mid-way point, with Webb working his way to an eventual second place, while the ever-consistent LeBlond finished third.

Trystan Hart (5th Overall): “My day started off pretty good here at round one. I’m really excited to be back racing the EnduroCross championship this year after coming so close to the title last year. I was able to finish in P2 for both the Hot Lap and the opening moto, and then from there, honestly, I just struggled. Disappointing night to finish up fifth, but we’ll regroup as a team and come out stronger in Arizona for the next round.”

 

Hart still had a chance heading into the final moto, Walker took the lead early and Hart was only able to muster an eighth-place finish. In the final results, Walker took the overall with a 1-1-1 moto score, with Webb second at 7-2-3 and LeBlond in third with 5-3-4.

Colton Haaker (4th Overall): “First round here of the EnduroCross season and we had some first race jitters, for sure. The night started out rough for me and I really had to rely on the training I’d done entering round one to increase my confidence. I had two good motos, although a fall in race two really hurt my overall position… all-in-all, not a bad way to begin my season.”

 

2023 AMA Super EnduroCross- Round 1: Overall Results (Top 10)
1. Jonny Walker (Bet) 1-1-1

2. Cody Webb (SHR) 7-2-3

3. Ryder LeBlond (Hsq) 5-3-4
4. Colton Haaker (Hsq) 3-8-2
5. Trystan Hart (KTM) 2-5-8
6. Taddy Blazusiak (GG) 4-7-6
7. Cooper Abbott (Shr) 10-6-5
8. Max Gerston (GG) 8-4-9
9. Will Riordan (KTM) 6-9-7
10. Anthony Johnson (KTM) 9-10-10

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