Forest Hill, Louisiana – Two-thousand-and-twelve National Enduro Champ Steward Baylor walked away with his first national win in over a year at this weekend’s Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Cajun Classic National Enduro – round three of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Forest Hill, Louisiana. The SRT/KTM rider’s victory marked the third time this year a rider named Baylor has stood atop the podium after Steward’s younger brother, Grant, won the opening two races of the series in South Carolina and Alabama. Grant came into the Louisiana round with a 10-point lead in the series standings and plenty of momentum, however, the Am Pro Yamaha rider was off his game this weekend, leaving the door open for “big brother” to make his move.
Beautiful weather greeted nearly 450 off-road competitors, as Baylor turned in a consistent and nearly flawless performance en route to the win. Afterwards he admitted that his only big mistake came in test three, which, as it turns out, was a test he ended up winning, showing just how well things went for the South Carolina rider. In the end, Steward topped Russell Bobbitt by 21 seconds for the overall victory despite winning just two tests to Bobbitt’s three.
“I had a pretty good day; things went pretty good for me,” said Baylor. “It was a close battle between me and Russell [Bobbitt] and Charlie [Mullins], and it just came down to being consistent.”
Bobbitt got off to a fast start at the beginning of the day, winning tests one and two, but lost ground to Baylor when he finished fourth in tests three and four. The FMF/KTM rider came back with a win in test five, but Baylor countered with a win of his own in the final test, leaving Bobbitt with second overall for the day.
“Stew had a great ride in that last test, and I struggled in a couple of tests,” said Bobbitt. “I had a problem stalling my bike today. I don’t think it was the bike, I think I was just stomping on the rear brake and stalling it; I just wasn’t getting the clutch pulled in in time.”
Rounding out the podium was two-time champ Charlie Mullins, who turned in his best performance since returning to action after missing over a year of racing due to a pair of wrist injuries. The FMF/KTM rider was in the hunt all day and won the third test after finishing second in tests one and two.
“I definitely felt a lot better today, and it seems each race I’m getting closer to the middle step of the podium,” said Mullins. “I won the fourth test and felt pretty good at that point. I was just going to try to bring it on in, but the last test was tight and my hands got a little tired.”
Jesse Groemm was fourth, finishing 38 seconds behind Mullins. The Beta USA-backed rider was third fastest in tests three and six, but an uncharacteristically slow time in test two put the Pennsylvania rider behind the eight ball for the rest of the day.
Points leader Grant Baylor never got into the flow of the Louisiana trail and ended the day in fifth.
“Today was kind of rough,” admitted Grant Baylor. “We made some adjustments after the first test, and I felt like I was riding okay but my times just weren’t there.”
Josh Strang was the best of the second half of the top ten, finishing the day in sixth, with Triangle Cycles-backed Yamaha rider Brad Bakken finishing 37 seconds behind the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider in seventh.
RPM Racing teammates Evan Smith and Drew Higgins put their KTM’s into eight and ninth, respectively, while AirGroup Racing’s Nick Fahringer continues his return from a knee injury with a solid 10th place finish.
With three races in the books, Grant Baylor holds a slim lead in the points race, leading Bobbitt by just a single point with Steward Baylor another six points back.
Larson’s Cycles/CheckPoint Off-road Yamaha’s Nathan Ferderer came out on top of an exciting three-way battle in the Rekluse Expert-AA division, edging out KTM rider Jake Froman and Suzuki-mounted Adam Bonneur for the class win, edging Froman by 22 seconds and Bonneur by 34 seconds.
“Today was definitely not mistake free,” admitted Ferderer. “I had three tip-overs and two stalls, so I had my work cut out for me. But when I was upright I was feeling good.”
Froman leads the class standings with 70 points after three rounds, while Ferderer sits second with 66 points and Bonneur third with 62.
FMF/KTM’s Kacy Martinez earned her second-straight victory in the Women’s A/B division class, beating former Women’s champ Mandi Mastin and last year’s Women’s champ Shawn Davidson in the process.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes action on May 22nd in Greensboro, Georgia for the Cherokee National Enduro. For more information on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series check out www.nationalenduro.com.
- Steward Baylor (KTM)
- Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
- Charlie Mullins (KTM)
- Jesse Groemm (Bet)
- Grant Baylor (Yam)
- Josh Strang (Hus)
- Brad Bakken (Yam)
- Evan Smith (KTM)
- Drew Higgins (KTM)
- Nick Fahringer (Hus)