It was a big night in Vegas as the 2013 Endurocross season go underway. Coming off the big televised coverage from X Games Brazil just a few weeks ago, most of the riders had already started their season so to speak. Some new elements in Vegas made for a great night of racing.
The first news is of the success of the live webcast for the event. Jason Weingandt and Dirt Rider magazine’s Chris Denison did the commentary. I felt they did a good job. Jason has been with EX from the beginning and Chris adds some good first hand race experience to the mix.Both have a strong knowledge of the riders. Endurocross and Dirt Rider are properties of the same parent company, so expect to see plenty of promos for the magazine in the webcasts for the year.
The track was also unique. Frankly, it was downright easy by EX standards. With the exception of the rock section it looked like an Arenacross track. I am not saying that I could get around it cleanly, but the pros made it look easy. It was clear from the practice times that the speeds were going to favor the faster riders. Mike Brown lead every timed session and qualifier.
It was a very tough field of riders. Riders like Cory Graffunder, Colton Haaker, and Kyle Redmond had to make the main event via the two LCQ’s. A very fast looking Ricky Dietrich just missed making the main.
Most eyes were on Cody Webb to challenge Taddy for the win. Cody was one of a number of riders who looked very strong all day. When the gate dropped in the main, Mike Brown grabbed the holeshot from the inside gate and took off. Taddy fell right into second, but within a few corners he was obviously losing ground to Brownie.
Cody Webb got a poor start and lost valuable time catching back up. Colton Haaker moved into third position and kept steady for most of the main. As Webb began to catch Haaker, both were also gaining ground on Taddy in second place. It seemed that within the first couple of laps Taddy realized that he did not have the speed to catch Brown and he never seemed to make a charge, just riding his own race. Once the riders from behind were in view, he stepped it up to keep ahead.
Why was Mike Brown so fast? On the smoother track, he was hitting the obstructions as jumps. He was jumping faster and longer than anyone else. He was the only rider in the main to clear the log table top, Dietrich had also done so. Mike was smooth and in control the whole night and it earned him is first ever Endurocross main event win.
Other than the top four, there was no other rider that showed the speed needed to be in contention for the win. It was a great finish for Colton Haaker who has struggled for some time now. He is riding an Honda CRF450 this year. But he struggled in his heats and had issues stalling and restarting the bike also. He will need to get it a little more dialed in for the next race.
In the women’s main Maria Forsberg got the fast start, but fell in the first lap. She restarted at the back of the field. that allowed a number of newcomers to get some camera time as they battled for the lead.