Colton Haaker took his second win of the GEICO AMA EnduroCross series in front of an excited crowd in Denver tonight. Haaker’s win put a big mix into the points with Factory Red Bull KTM’s Taddy Blazusiak and Haaker tied for the lead and Beta/GEICO/Stillwell Performance’s Cody Webb only one point back in third.
The night was intense from the beginning as Blazusiak, Webb and Factory KTM FMF Off-Road’s Taylor Robert took fast-paced heat race wins. The speed theme of the weekend continued as the Pro Main Event hot laps had Factory Husqvarna’s Mike Brown take the afternoon fastest Hot Lap and Webb locked down the Main Event hot lap. Both hot laps generate a single championship point to the winners. Blazusiak had a scary moment when he almost went down hard, over-the-bars, after a tricky tractor tire step-up obstacle in the middle of the course. He recovered without losing much time but had everyone watching on edge.
But the action really got high in the main event. A long, fast start had the top riders coming in hot with Haaker squeezing his Honda 450 out of the first set of turns into the lead and collecting the Nexen Tire $500 Holeshot Award. Blazusiak was in hot pursuit and put the move on early for the first spot and got it before the end of lap one. He would lead until nearly the halfway point when Haaker overtook for the lead. It only took a small mistake by Blazusiak to give enough room for a pass and Haaker made it stick.
Behind the front two, Robert and Webb were in a brutal early race battle. Before the halfway mark, Robert would go down, allowing Brown to get by with Webb still in third. The race settled in to a fast pace as Blazusiak would gain a little on Haaker, only to have Haaker find some speed to keep him at bay. The same would go for Webb. At one point, he actually made a clean pass for second on the inside of Blazusiak but it wouldn’t stick and he was forced to chase the two leaders to the end.
The final podium went Haaker, Blazusiak and Webb. Championship points now sit in that order, as well.
Haaker was happy with his second win. “I executed my race just like I planned and prepared to tonight,” Haaker said. “I’ve been working hard and just like any track this one made you ride smooth and hit your marks. It was a little faster than others but we’re so close across the board. I didn’t push too hard and I have a lot more to give.”
Blazusiak was satisfied with second and a share of the points lead. “It’s been a good night of racing for us. That close call in the hot laps session slowed me down a lot, actually, and I was slowing down before that step-up in the main. It definitely cost me some time every lap as I focused on making sure the line worked every time. I was out front for quite a few laps, rode well with only one mistake and with that mistake I could have been in a much worse place than second. The pace is really high now so I’m happy with second tonight and look forward to the races being closer together for the next couple months.”
Webb kept valuable points in third. “The track was really fast tonight and definitely not my forte’ coming from a trials background but I put in a lot of hard work and I think it showed tonight,” Webb said. “I came together with another rider twice tonight and it took me out. I never had to work this hard for third. I could reel Taddy in a bit and try to pass but couldn’t make it stick so I had to ride to third. I think the top three rode really strong tonight for 12 laps. I felt great but little things didn’t go my way.”
Denver EnduroCross Main Event results
1. Colton Haaker Honda
2. Taddy Blazusiak KTM
3. Cody Webb Beta
4. Taylor Robert KTM
5. Mike Brown Husqvarna
6. Max Gerston Beta
7. Cory Graffunder KTM B
8. Nick Thompson KTM
9. Ty Tremaine KTM
10. Bobby Prochnau KTM
11. Wally Palmer Christini
12. Destry Abbott Kawasaki
13. Eric Rhoten Beta
The Women’s class was also an exciting race as defending champ Chantelle Bykerk took her third Denver win-in-a-row. Morgan Tanke came in second and Spain’s Sandra Gomez Cantero took third.