ONTARIO, Calif. — Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker earned the AMA EnduroCross Championship with a second-place finish to KTM’s Cody Webb at the season-ending race in Ontario, Calif.
It was the first AMA title for Haaker, who had a strong season with five wins and three second-place finishes. SRT Racing backed Cory Graffunder had a great night to finish third in the race on his KTM.
Ty Tremaine rode his RPM KTM to a fifth place finish on the night to move past Mike Brown for third in the overall championship. He also earned his third consecutive EnduroCross Junior Championship for riders 21 and under.
In the Women’s class, Canada’s Shelby Turner sealed the championship with a second place finish. She also had a dominant season, winning six of the eight events.
The evening got started with Webb and Haaker squaring off in the first heat race with Webb taking the win and bonus point to keep the pressure on for the title. Tremaine came out on top of a multi-rider battle win heat two over Ty Cullins and Max Gerston. That point would prove critical as he ultimately beat Brown for third in the championship by one point.
When the top two finishers form the three heat races came back out for the evening hot lap, Webb barely edged out Haaker for the fast time to take another bonus point and first gate pick for the main event.
Despite the second gate pick, Haaker blasted out of the first turn to take the $500 Nexen tire Holeshot award and the lead. Haaker led across the line on lap one but then Webb took the lead on lap two and the two championship contenders stayed close for a few laps before Haaker started to go into championship conservation mode, which seemed to lead to a few mistakes. That allowed Webb to stretch out a solid lead to take a comfortable win, his third of the season.
The crashes from Haaker kept the championship battle interesting as he needed at least a seventh place finish to lock up the title but in the end, Haaker held on for second to earn the championship with a nine-point lead.
“Winning the championship is awesome even though I crashed a few more times tonight than I wanted to,” Haaker said. “Really, nobody would expect me to come out here and charge with so much on the line, but I’m always trying to push myself and I did that tonight. It’s what pushes me and it worked out for the championship even though going hard had me crash a few more times than I wanted.”
“I was determined to try and lap everyone,” Webb said. “I felt good tonight and Colton was starting to crack under pressure a bit and I was ready to make a statement to end the year with this win. A few little things went wrong this year and I let the championship slip away. Colton was so solid and I couldn’t chip away at his points lead this year. I’m really happy I got a convincing win tonight and look forward to carrying the momentum into next season.”