You Are Here: Home»Featured»Mike Lafferty Bids Goodbye To Enduro Racing
Mike Lafferty Bids Goodbye To Enduro Racing
Few riders have had such a lasting and positive impact in off road racing as Mike Lafferty. When you look at the huge list of team mates he has had, you can start to understand the length of his career. When Mike was just starting to emerge on the national scene, KTM’s top GNCC rider at the time was Scott Plessinger. Mike has played a strong part in the growth and development of KTM in the US. It was Mike’s ability to adapt to the then new PDS system that put him in solid with KTM.
Mike Lafferty and Shane Watts would be the poster boys for the new pumpkin colored KTM’s. No more butterscotch, white, pink, teal or pepper colors for the brand.
I have one good ML story to share. In 2005 my dad and I decided to ride the entire National Enduro Series, the old school time keepers. I did not know time keeping, but I made a commitment to learn it. Funny how you can do that, just make a conscious decision to learn some thing. So my plan was to ride on AA minutes to be around the fast guys, learn on the fly so to speak.
It went okay for the first couple of rounds. I was getting decent results, but not learning quite fast enough. At the Quicksilver Enduro I was lined up on minute 21 with Mike. The first loop was tough. I came up to a huge bottleneck. I could see nothing but a vast group of helmets poking out over the brush. One rider coming backwards motioned not to attempt the trail, it was a huge water bog. Having ridden Coalinga before, I knew that finding optional routes could be a necessity. So I literally just hung a right hand turn and took off for who knows where. The trail appeared to head towards a mountain, so I just needed to find another way to that spot.
Minutes later I found another group of wandering riders that included Johnny Barber. I motioned to him to follow me. We found a good track and were to the top of the mountain and picked up the course in a few minutes. About 15 minutes later Mike came past me in a creek bottom. He slowed down just long enough to look at me and just shake his head, as to say, “how the heck did you get here”! Later I learned Mike had buried his bike to the seat on the water bog that had everyone blocked up.
To start the second loop there was a water crossing and then a bad hill climb. The same section was used nearly every year. Typically there was a check in at the bottom before the water crossing. I got there and found nothing. Not knowing all the rules yet, I wasn’t sure if I should start into the loop or not. But Mike wasn’t there, so I was sure he had started already. I took off to make the big climb. I was doing well, but wondered why there were a few guys seemingly stuck in the middle of the climb.
I crested the top of the hill and found myself staring at a check, some 6 minutes early. There were at least ten of us who had all done the same. We had all ridden past the reset in the middle of the hill. Tim Tabor had been leading the race overall at that point. He had burned the check by an even bigger time. As for Mike, he was sitting, hiding, in the bushes halfway up the hill. The cagey enduro vet was not going to let anyone else see his hand.