SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – For the second day in a row and fourth race in just eight days, EnduroCross riders took on another challenging track Friday at Glen Helen Raceway.
And for the third time in four races, Rockstar Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker came out on top of a close battle for the top step on the overall podium. His 3-1-1 scores were just a little better than FactoryOne Sherco rider Cody Webb’s 2-2-2 moto finishes.
Trystan Hart put himself in position for another overall win by taking the lead at the start of the third moto but crashed out on the first lap and had to charge through the pack to get third in the moto and third overall with 1-3-3 finishes.
Hart set the fastest afternoon hot lap time to earn the first gate pick for moto one. Webb was second fastest with Cooper Abbott, Cory Graffunder and Haaker rounding out the top five.
Hart took the moto one Fox Holeshot just ahead of Haaker and the two battled for most of the race until Haaker made a mistake and dropped to third behind Webb.
Webb was keeping pace with the two leaders but unable to get close enough to make a move before Haaker’s mistake. RPM KTM’s Abbott finished fourth ahead of SRT Yamaha rider Cory Graffunder.
With the second moto gate positions reversed from the moto one results, the top eight riders start on row two, so this is often the critical moto for the overall since those top riders have to move through the pack.
Danny Lewis took the holeshot on his Husqvarna but it was sixteen year old Angus Riordan that took the lead by the time the riders crossed the finish line to complete lap one. Graffunder briefly took the lead but Haaker took over at the front and held the lead to the finish.
Webb put in a strong moto to get close to Haaker but had to settle for second. Hart was slower to move through the pack but eventually made it to third, leaving the top three riders tied on points going into the final moto.
Abbott was fourth again in moto two with Beta’s Max Gerston fifth.
Hart blasted to the front to take his second Fox Holeshot in the final moto of the day, but he crashed on a relatively simple rhythm section and dropped to 16th. Haaker took over at the front and rode a steady pace but Webb managed to close the gap and made a pass for the lead when Haaker made a mistake in the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC rock garden.
A win would have given Webb the overall and he looked like he had the pace to get it done until he made a mistake in the same section as Haaker had a lap earlier to hand the lead back. Haaker managed to keep a small gap to the finish to take the moto and overall win.
Webb was second in the moto and overall while Hart came all the way back to third for the moto and overall.
Abbott finished sixth in the final moto to secure fourth overall. Gerston was fourth in that final moto to earn fifth overall for the day.
Graffunder was sixth overall after a fifth in the final moto. Noah Kepple finished seventh overall on his Husqvarna via 8-10-7 moto finishes. Ty Cullins was eighth overall on his TM with 7-9-9 moto finishes.
Spencer Wilton was ninth with 9-7-10 finishes and Ryder Leblond was 10th overall with 14-8-8 finishes.
Haaker said he was happy to redeem himself after a second the day before.
“Yesterday was my day to get a clean moto sweep but I had too many mistakes. So it was good to come back and get another overall win today,” explained Haaker. “I injured my back during my practice crash at round two so I had to go see Ty Davis (former champion racer) to use one of his tricks to help relieve the pain and loosen me up. I am hoping to get a 1-1-1 score at one of these last two rounds next week.”
Webb said Friday was the first race that he felt he could have won so far.
“Today’s track was more technical and that helps me ride looser. The first three rounds had some jumps and obstacles that were so fast that I was struggling to ride loose. So today felt good to be in contention for the overall speed wise,” said Webb. “I have been doing long, steady billy-goat type Extreme races so I am getting my intensity back. We have two more races to get a win.”
Hart was on his way to the hospital after the race to possibly get stitches in his hand that he injured in his final moto crash.
“It was going good, I won the first moto and we were all tied going into the final moto. I got a good start and just cased a jump on the first lap and went over the bars,” Hart noted. “So that was not the night we were looking for but I was able to come back to get third.”