Defending AMA/FMF Racing National Enduro Champion Russell Bobbitt put in his best performance of the season to win the 39th Annual Gobbler Getter Enduro outside of Maplesville, Alabama, but it wasn't enough to prevent Red Bull KTM teammate Mike Lafferty from wrapping up the series championship. Lafferty finished second on the day, while GNCC regular Garrett Edmisten rounded out the top three in his enduro debut. The 2007 title is Lafferty's eighth, which puts him in a tie with Dick Burleson.
Bobbitt went into the event, hosted by the Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club and co-sanctioned by the Florida Trail Riders, the South Eastern Enduro and Trail Riders Association and the Southern Enduro Riders Association, 16 points behind Lafferty, so to retain the title he'd basically have to win with Lafferty finishing worse than fifth. That was, of course, a very slim chance, especially in light of Lafferty carrying a five-race win streak into the Gobbler, presented by Rekluse and the National Enduro Promotions Group.
"I just wanted to go out at the end of the season with a win," Bobbitt said. "I've been having this long second-place streak - well, since the first race - so I just really decided to do really well.”
Bobbitt started off on fire and was the only racer to zero the first section, a 9.85-mile test. That set the tone for the day, as the 21-year-old Georgian and his Michelin/Regina/KTM Hard Equipment-backed 250 XC topped most of the remaining six sections spread over the 70.5 miles of varied Alabama woods. Bobbitt totaled an amazing 26 points. Lafferty dropped 29 points.
Lafferty said, "I tried to ride as mistake-free as possible without doing too much thinking about it. Just kind of put it together and rode around. I didn't push the envelope too hard. I tried. I'm disappointed I didn't put in a better ride to win the race, but the bigger part of the deal is winning the championship isn't so bad."
With his GNCC season over and FTR points available, Garrett Edmisten dove into his first-ever enduro not quite sure what to expect, but he adapted well to conditions that were tighter than he's used to. At the end of the day, he carded a 35 on his Walpole Trucking/Pro Circuit/Moose KX450F.
Texan Cole Kirkpatrick and Ohio's Jeff Melik both put in best-to-date performances to round out the top five.