Defending series champion Russell Bobbitt claimed a pivotal win today at the Loose Moose Enduro, round nine of the AMA/Rekluse National Enduro Series in Marquette, Michigan, topping KTM teammate Michael Lafferty by a 65 second margin at the end of 65 miles of trail.
Bobbitt and Lafferty took turns posting the fastest time during the first five test sections, with Lafferty carrying a six-second advantage into the final section. On some of the toughest terrain of the event, Lafferty lost valuable time when he crashed hard in a greasy rock bed and bent his hand back far enough that his wrist locked up on him. The former eight-time champ was able to rejoin the race but not at the speed he had displayed prior to the fall.
“I was able to take it and bend it back and I think it’s okay, but it just took all the wind out of me,” said Lafferty. “Maybe I was too aggressive. It was gnarly, greasy rocks and I knew I had to either beat him or stay even and I just didn’t let up.”
Lafferty ended up losing a full minute to Bobbitt, who ended up with his fifth win of the series, while Lafferty held on for second.
“You always hate to win a race because someone crashed, but it just came down to who ever made the last mistake, and it ended up being Mike,” said Bobbitt. “I crashed twice during the first part of the race and he crashed at the end and I was able to take advantage of it.”
The two KTM riders came into the Michigan race, the next-to-last round of the series, with the title on the line. Whoever took the win in Michigan would hold the lead going into the final round in Indiana, on October 4th. At the end of nine rounds, Bobbitt is sitting pretty in the standings, holding a six point lead over Lafferty. For Lafferty to win the title, he needs to win the final round and hope that Bobbitt finishes third or worse.
Finishing third in Michigan was Husaberg rider Nick Fahringer, giving him his first podium of the year. The Ohio native reportedly liked the tough terrain and attributed his finish to the ability to “stay on two wheels on the greasy rocks.”
Fourth overall went to Virginia KTM rider Brad Bakken, who is still feeling the effects of a broken wrist he suffered just before the Wyoming round. Meanwhile, part-time national competitor, Andrew Delong, of Pennsylvania, rounded out the top five on a KTM.
Sixth overall was Ohio Yamaha rider Jeff Melik, while veterans Richard Lafferty and Fred Hoess were seventh and eighth.
O/A: 1. Russell Bobbitt (KTM); 2. Michael Lafferty (KTM); 3. Nick Fahringer (Hsb); 4. Brad Bakken (KTM); 5. Andrew DeLong (KTM); 6. Jeff Melik (Yam); 7. Richard Lafferty (KTM); 8. Fred Hoess (Kaw); 9. Rory Sullivan (Hsb); 10. Chris Gallt (KTM); 11. Zach Klamfoth (Yam); 12. Josh Gaitten (KTM); 13. Paddy Holloway (KTM); 14. Clifford Ousley (KTM); 15. Carsten Cagle (KTM).