David Knight Takes Maxxis EnduroCross Opener

Jean Turner | September 30, 2007

The first round of the Maxxis EnduroCross series kicked off on Saturday night in Denver Colorado, with round one of three taking place at the National Western Complex. Riders from all different types of racing, including Enduro, Hare and Hound, WORCS, GNCC and even Supercross, as well as several pro trials riders, showed up to race the opening round. In the end, it was Red Bull KTM’s David Knight on top of the podium with Pro trials rider Keith Wineland in second. In his first race since retiring in 2005, Supercross rider Damon Huffman rounded out the podium in third place.

Since its inception, EnduroCross has been known for wild entertainment and great racing featuring top riders from around the world, and the Denver round was no exception. Riders such as Mike Lafferty, Ty Davis, Geoff Aaron, David Pearson, Ricky Dietrich and John Dowd made the trek to the mile-high city. And with such a stacked field of talent, and a tricky course, anything can and did happen.

The course in Denver, heavily-laden with river rocks, seemed to fall in the favor of the trials riders, and the night started out with Keith Wineland (who also set the fastest hot lap earlier that evening) leading the first heat. Damon Huffman followed in second, and also headed to the main. David Knight simply killed it in his heat race, with ZipTy Racing’s Nick Brozovich finishing second. In the third heat, it was last year’s solo trials rider, and crowd favorite, Nick Mantzoros with the win. Kyle Redmond took the second qualifying position.

The semi winners also earned transfers to the main, which went to Pearson, Dietrich and Lafferty. Phil Smadge — older brother of National Trials Champion Patrick Smadge — topped the LCQ for the final qualifying spot.

Reigning EnduroCross champion John Dowd did not qualify for the main event, which was surprising. But in EnduroCross, it’s not uncommon to win one night, and not even qualify the next, or to be leading the charge and with one mistake, end up on your head in last place. Unpredictability is half the fun.

In the main event, Dietrich grabbed the holeshot and it was Huffman who had the early lead. The RM250-mounted rider led for a few laps, but Knight was charging to the front quickly. Knight and Huffman diced for the lead, but it wasn’t long before Knight was in control and checking out. Huffman spent some time fending off advances from Wineland, but eventually got passed in the infamous “rock corner” — a 180-degree right hand turn over river rocks the size of cantaloupes.

Knight took a commanding win while Wineland held on for second, and Huffman finished third. Brozovich and Pearson rounded out the top five, respectively. Knight is now the only rider capable of nabbing the $50,000 Motorcycle Mechanics Institute Triple Crown.

From there, Knight hopped a flight to North Carolina to compete in the GNCC the following morning. Several other riders, including Dietrich, Bobby Garrison, and Matt Karlsen, also headed out that night to a WORCS race on Sunday.

The Maxxis EnduroCross now moves on toGuthrie, Oklahoma for round two of the series which will take place next Saturday, October 6 at the Lazy E Arena.

Main Event

1. David Knight (KTM)

2. Keith Wineland (Montesa)

3. Damon Huffman (Suz)

4. Nick Brozovich (Yam)

5. David Pearson (KTM)

6. Phil Smage (Sherco)

7. Ricky Dietrich (Kaw)

8. Mike Lafferty (KTM)

9. Nick Mantzoros (Sherco)

10. Kyle Redmond (KTM)

Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.