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2012 Las Vegas Endurocross Race Reports
Endurocross Round Up
From Kawasaki- Kawasaki riders dominated the opening round of the 2012 AMA EnduroCross season at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., taking the top two spots. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soulé put together a solid ride aboard his KX™250F to claim the runner-up spot behind fellow Kawasaki rider Colton Haaker. Taylor Robert looked more confident than ever as he scouted the fastest lines over some of the most difficult obstacles and finished the night in fifth place. Fan-favorite Destry Abbott put together some of the most exciting racing of the night to get to the main event and wrapped up the evening in 11th place. Although Bobby Garrison wasn’t able to make the main, he learned a lot in the first EnduroCross event he’s raced in years.
Already a veteran of the sport, Soulé knows what it takes to earn an EnduroCross championship. You have to be fast, consistent and you must finish every race. He came to the opening round more prepared than ever. In the heat race Soulé got a good start, pulled out front quickly and rode smooth all the way to the checkers. When the gate dropped for the main event, he came around the first turn in second and began pacing fellow Kawasaki rider Haaker. Soulé rode a flawless main while waiting for an opportunity to make a pass, but the opportunity never came. He finished in second place, just behind Haaker, to give Kawasaki the top two spots on the podium.
“I really wanted to win this one, but I had to play it smart,” said Soulé. “You can’t win the championship in the first race, but you can lose it. The night started out great, I felt solid in practice and took the win in my heat race. In the main event I got a good start right behind Colton (Haaker) and we started pulling away from the pack. Colton was riding really solid. I settled in behind him and was staying close so I could strike like a snake as soon as he made a mistake, but it didn’t happen. I kept looking for a place to pass, but didn’t want to force the issue and potentially cause an accident that could cost me the season. I’m happy to finish on the podium, but I really wanted the win. The team has been working so hard and the KX250F is better than ever; we are looking to dominate this season.”
From KTM- Red Bull/KTM Factory rider Taddy Blazusiak put together an impressive ride after charging to a podium finish after a dead last start. Fellow KTM rider, Mike Brown, finished 6th overall.
Blazusiak and Brown started the day well finishing 1st and 2nd fastest in the timed hot laps. It was Brown who secured the fastest time with Blazusiak finishing 2nd. Brown carried his momentum into the first heat race where he quickly put his KTM into the lead by the third corner. He led the heat race for three laps before a mistake in the matrix allowed Justin Soule to pass and takeover the position. Soule went on to win the heat while Brown earned 2nd to secure a spot in the main event.
In heat number two, Blazusiak got off to a 3rd place start and quickly moved into 2nd by the end of the first lap. On lap two, he had a small crash in a deep sand corner that cost him one position. On the third lap he suffered another crash and was unable to make the passes he needed to transfer into the main and had to return to the track to try and qualify through the semi.
Blazusiak returned for the semi where he easily took the win and a transfer spot into the main event. “I had a rough heat,” commented Blazusiak. “Part was my fault for making small mistakes but we also realized we needed to make some adjustments on the bike. We got everything worked out and I was able to come back to the semi and take and easy win to ensure a spot in the main event.”
In the main event, Blazusiak had a bad gate pick and attempted to take the far outside line around the first corner. Unfortunately, he got pushed out causing his front wheel to hit the side barrier sending him over the bars. His luck worsened as his levers and bars got bent in the crash and he had to take a moment to adjust them. When he recovered he was nearly half a lap down in last place.
Meanwhile, Brown had a great start and completed the first lap in 2nd place. On the third lap, he connected with another rider over the big tire jump which caused him to crash. He recovered in 7th position. On the fifth lap of the race, Blazusiak had caught up to where Brown was and the two teammates battled for a lap before Blazusiak made the pass to take over 4th place. Blazusiak then set his sights on the 3rd place ride of Cody Webb and quickly reeled him in to take the podium position. With only a few laps to go, Blazusiak was indeed the fastest rider on the track but had run out of time to run down the leaders. He continued to run a strong pace through the checkered flag to take 3rd place. Brown finished 6th overall.
“Of course it is disappointing not to win,” commented Blazusiak. “People often say your race is won or lost in the first round, and the good thing is, I didn’t lose it today. A podium is still a good finish considering my poor start. My bike was set-up perfectly for the main event and I am really looking forward to getting another shot at a win at the next round.”
KTM had a great presence in the women’s class with the brand taking a complete podium sweep. The class was won by Factory FMF/KTM rider Maria Forsberg with 2nd place going to RPM/KTM support rider Kacy Martinez and 3rd place going to KTM support rider Louise Forsley.
The KTM brand took another win in the Vet class after Kurt Nicoll took an impressive victory over his Vet class competition that came down to the last obstacle on the course.