Polish rider Taddy Blazusiak, who, a few months earlier, won the Enduro at Erzberg in Austria, regarded as one of the toughest single-day motorcycle races in the world, added yet another difficult motorcycle race event win to his resume, this time the Maxxis EnduroCross, at a sold out Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. In another close finish (last year John Dowd edged out Nathan Woods for the win), Blazusiak, a former pro trials rider, made a late-race pass on KTM teammate David Knight to take the win, robbing Knight of the $50,000 MMI triple crown money that was available to him if he won tonight’s race. Knight had already won the previous two races in Colorado and Oklahoma.
Despite missing out on the $50,000 and another $10,000 for the event win, a very disappointed Knight still wrapped up the inaugural Maxxis EnduroCross Championship.
The racing action was again incredibly exciting and action-packed, especially in the LCQ, where Kawasaki rider Damon Huffman squeezed into the main event by passing John Dowd and trials rider Cody Webb just a few yards from the finish line after the two riders ahead of him ran into each other and became tangled, ending their evening prematurely. Dowd’s front wheel had caught Webb’s footpeg, stalling the two just long enough for Huffman to ride past.
In the 10-rider main event, Knight took control of the lead by the end of the first lap and soon had Blazusiak pressuring him in every turn. Even after bumping a couple of times, Knight held on to the lead. But with just a little over a lap left, Blazusiak saw a chance and made his move, squeezing inside of Knight, who seemed to give Blazusiak some space, not wanting to risk the championship (but sacrificing the money). Blazusiak went on to win the race, just a few seconds ahead of Knight.
Third place went to Finland’s Mika Ahola, making it an all-European podium.
The top-finishing American was trials rider Colton Haaker who finished fourth on a Montesa, while Zip-Ty Yamaha rider Nick Brozovich finished fifth, which was good enough to give him third in the series behind Knight and Huffman, who finished eighth in the main after struggling all night.
Former National Trials Champion Geoff Aaron, riding an all-wheel-drive Christini/KTM 250 two-stroke, finished sixth, followed by Monster Kawasaki’s Destry Abbott, who qualified for the main event for the first time. Huffman was next, then came National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty and Nathan Kanney, who is now back from his tour in the World Enduro Championships, where he rode a Husqvarna.
Christini rider Wally Palmer won the Nite Rider Night Race and the $1000 check that went with it.