Timed qualifying is complete at the Maxxis EnduroCross at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and, based on the clock, Suzuki’s John Dowd is the rider to beat when the evening’s program gets underway in a few hours.
On another difficult and technical track, Dowd set the mark with a 52.5-second run, nipping former WORCS Champion, Kawasaki’s Nathan Woods, who posted a 52.6. Third was defending EnduroCross Champion David Knight, who stopped the clock at 53.1 seconds.
Also very fast in timed qualifying, which is used to determine start picks in the evening program, was Dowd’s teammate Ryan Hughes, who won the EnduroCross two years ago. Hughes was laying down a good time until he stalled his bike in a turn, ending any chance he had of posting the best time.
“The track is pretty similar to last year’s,” Dowd said, “but we’re going in the different direction. There’s one section that’s pretty tough, a tight turn with a bunch of rocks, and there isn’t any real good line to get through it. It wasn’t quite that bad last year, but the rest of the track is pretty much the same.”
As far as laying down the fastest lap, Dowd said, “I just didn’t make any mistakes. There are a few other guys out there who are going pretty fast and they might’ve bobbled or whatever. Ryan [Hughes] was going pretty fast, but he slid out a couple of times. It’s cool to have the fastest times, but there are some other fast guys. It’s going to be a good race.”
Dowd’s plan of attack for tonight is simple: “Get a good start and try to stay consistent. I mean, it’s almost impossible to stay consistent on this kind of track, but that’s what you’ve got to try and do. There are so many obstacles and it’s so is to make a little bobble, you can tip over or stall your bike or whatever.”