Taddy Blazusiak, a twenty-four-year-old world-class trials rider from Krakow, Poland, dethroned two-time winner David Knight at this year’s Red Bull Last Man Standing. The KTM rider captured the daytime lap as well as the night lap. Meanwhile, 10-time national trials champion Geoff Aaron, from Bailey, Colorado, was the only other rider to finish both 40-mile laps at the Red River Motorcycle Trails course on the Texas/Oklahoma border.
Of the 100 starters, only Knight and Aaron joined Blazusiak in blasting off the starting line for the night race, meaning 97 riders failed to finish the first lap within one hour of the Polish rider. This year’s edition was run in chilly, overcast conditions before more than 2,500 spectators, making it the highest-attended sporting event in the history of Bulcher.
“This was a very tough race and my bike worked perfectly,” said Blazusiak, who completed the night lap in 3:37:54. “The organizers did a great job with the course. You hit something difficult and have no time to relax afterwards. Last Man Standing and Erzberg are very similar and very physical. David and I were riding against each other in the first lap, and again in the second lap, we were really pushing each other, trading the lead several times. When I heard he pulled out, I was able to relax a little, but racing against him kept me focused, and I also had more light from him!”
After suffering a mechanical failure in last year’s race, Aaron sought redemption on a Christini KTM. Starting 26th (in the second of four groups of 25 riders), he used his trials skills to quickly pass several riders who began in front of him, and ultimately became the third and final rider to make it to the night session. He kept pace with Blazusiak and Knight at the start, but lost a bit of time as the two KTM riders charged ahead. After Knight dropped out, Aaron persevered and crossed the finish line with a time of 4:09:02 – 31 minutes behind Blazusiak.31 minutes behind Blazusiak.
“Hat’s off to Taddy. I’m just psyched to get this done,” said Aaron. “It was a great event for sure and I wanted to redeem myself this year. Going into the night lap, I focused on my lights and getting the bike ready. I did OK when I could see out there, but when it got dark, it was very tough. Last Man Standing is a killer event and I want to help get trials riding on the map with results like this.” Knight, from the Isle of Man, rode into the darkness of the second lap, battling not only the ultra-demanding course, but a respiratory infection that rendered him unable to breathe easily. An hour and 13 minutes into the night lap, the 2007 GNCC champion was forced to pull off the course when he was approximately five minutes behind Blazusiak.
“I couldn’t catch my breath,” said the former World Enduro champion. “I’ve been feeling like this for a couple of weeks, like my lungs are filled with water. But it was an enjoyable race and I had an awesome time. Taddy and I had a good battle. The event was difficult, but it was nice to really race with someone.”