Cross Fork, PA (July 22, 2018) – Josh Toth claimed his first-ever national enduro win at this weekend’s Rattlesnake Enduro, round six of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania. With the win, the FMF/KTM Factory rider moved into a two-way tie with Steward Baylor for first place in the series standings.
So far, the 2018 series has been dominated by Steward Baylor and his brother, Grant, with each having two wins apiece, accounting for all four rounds held so far heading into the Pennsylvania race. Toth’s win this weekend temporarily put a stop to the Baylor brother’s streak and added a bit of variety to the title chase.
Toth won just one test all day, but it was his consistency that sealed the deal for the Connecticut rider, following up his test four win with two seconds, a third and a fourth in the shortened, five-test race (one test was thrown out before the start of the race after an all-night rain gave organizers second thoughts about using it since it was all new trail that might have been destroyed by the 500-plus riders).
At the end of the day, Toth finished 31 seconds ahead of runner-up Ben Kelley with Steward Baylor another 15 seconds back in third.
“This is incredible,” said Toth. “I had a feeling this week that I would do really well at this race – I knew I’d be competitive in this type of terrain and I’m pumped to get that first win out of the way.”
Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Ben Kelley finished in the runner-up slot behind Toth, his best finish so far in the series to date. Kelley also claimed his first test win this weekend. Like Toth, Kelley had one test win, a second, two thirds and a fourth, while edging Steward Baylor by 15 seconds for the bridesmaid position.
“Coming into this race I was excited and felt I could do really good in the rocks,” said Kelley. “I felt good all day and I just really wanted to win a test and I was happy to get it done in the last test.”
Kelley had to deal with arm pump during the early stages of the race, but loosened up after the midway point of the race and finished out the race with a strong push.
“This track suited me well – the rocks and the roots, and the rain we got last night was nice, I love these conditions,” added Kelley.
Steward Baylor rounded out the podium in third. The Tely Energy Racing KTM rider got off to a fast start with a win in the first test, which is somewhat unusual for the South Carolina rider, who is known as a slow starter, although he is starting to turn that around in 2018. Unfortunately, Steward admitted it was pretty much downhill from there.
“I just struggled to find that groove,” said Steward. “After I won that first test, I just spent a lot of time missing lines and hitting trees. This is one of my favorite tracks, but this year it just wasn’t my day.”
Grant Baylor finished fourth but was looking as though he might grab his third win in a row after winning tests two and three. A nasty crash in test four left the Tely Racing KTM rider temporarily shaken, bruised and suffering a dislocated shoulder.
“I came around a corner and all of a sudden I was in some rocks that threw me head first into a much bigger rock,” said Grant. “It demolished my bike and I popped my shoulder out.”
Grant was dazed and still on the ground trying to pop his shoulder in place when Josh Toth stopped to see if the fellow KTM rider was okay.
Grant managed to get his shoulder back in place but was scored 15th for the test, which was a large hole to dig out of. Grant managed to finish fourth in the final test to score a fourth overall for the day.
Fifth overall went to FAR Racing Gas Gas North America’s Andrew DeLong. The former National Enduro champion has been on the comeback trail in 2018, getting back up to speed after spending the last few years dealing with a nagging wrist injury.
DeLong was third fastest in test three and managed to edge his brother, Craig DeLong, out for fifth place overall by just six seconds.
“Today was the closest I’ve been to being competitive in a long time and I feel like I’m coming back around to my old form,’ said DeLong. “It was good to be racing with my brother, it made for a fun day.”
Craig DeLong’s sixth marked the Coastal Racing Husqvarna rider’s best finish in a national enduro. Craig had a good first test, which he said set the tone for the day, although he struggled in the third test, losing 20 seconds to his brother.
Cory Buttrick snapped a brake line in the second test of the day but still managed to finish seventh. The KR4 Husqvarna rider edged SRT Racing’s Evan Smith by just six seconds for the position.
Ninth went to Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski, while AA rider KTM-mounted Jesse Ansley rounded out the top 10.
After six rounds, Toth and Steward Baylor sit atop the series standings with `123 points each. Meanwhile, Ben Kelley moved ahead of Grant Baylor by one point to take over third in the standings, 92 points to 91. Buttrick rounds out the top five with 77 points.
AirGroup/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna teammates Jake Froman and Logan Lowrey grabbed the top two spots in the NE Pro2 class, with Froman edging his teammate by just two seconds for the win. The top three spots were still up for grabs heading into the final test, with Froman, Lowrey and Jarrett Mohn separated by just three seconds. In the end, Froman was 11th in the overall standings to claim the win, with Lowrey finishing 12th overall for second in class. Mohn was 14th overall for third in the NE Pro2 class.
“I’ve never really had a good result here and I wouldn’t call myself the best rock rider, so it’s good to get the win today,” said Froman. “I stayed smooth all day and I never had any problems until the final test and I was going for it and I ended up snapping off my brake pedal with two miles to do.”
KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones took the win in a packed Women’s Elite class, beating Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Mackenzie Tricker by a tick over three minutes.
“I lost about 40 seconds in the first test, I just rode terrible and cautious,” said Jones. “I improved with each test, though, and I ended up riding pretty well at the end of the race so I’m pretty happy to get the win.”
KTM-mounted Shyann Phelps rounded out the podium in third, with Natasha Lachepelle (KTM) and Kelsey Pacholke (Hsq) in fourth and fifth.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series returns to action on August 26th for the Grassman National Enduro in Chandlersville, Ohio, round seven of the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series. For more information go to www.nationalenduro.com.
1. Josh Toth (KTM)
2. Ben Kelley (KTM)
3. Steward Baylor (KTM)
4. Grant Baylor (KTM)
5. Andrew DeLong (GG)
6. Craig DeLong (Hsq)
7. Cory Buttrick (Hsq)
8. Evan Smith (Hsq)
9. Mike Witkowski (Bet)
10. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
Words and images courtesy Shan Moore & NEPG