Heavy rains Saturday night and Sunday morning made the first round of the 2002 National Championship Enduro Series quite a muddy mess yesterday in Coalinga, California. Defending champion Mike Lafferty picked up where he left off last year with a dominant win on his KTM 400EXC.
As the first rider left the line at 7:31 a.m., the skies were very dark, and it continued to rain, making clear vision one of the riders biggest challenges. Goggles were fogging and hands were cold because the temperatures were only in the low 40s down low, and worse as riders headed up the mountain where the rain turned to snow.
When they finished the first of three loops, the scores were close, as Lafferty, Yamaha rider Randy Hawkins and Husqvarna pilot Fred Hoess all had lost three points, and the rain continued.
Loop two started to spread the scores out, with Lafferty picking up another six, Hawkins nine and the rest of the field slipping back from there. The final loop (for the AA and A riders only) proved to be a big struggle for everyone because of the very wet and tight trail. Riders were finding out how well they had trained over the winter, because with the combination of the rain, snow, hills, rocks and distance (over 140 miles, total), it was very difficult. Lafferty was once again the fastest through the loop; even after riding the last few miles with a broken rear-brake hose, he posted a score that was four points lower than anyone else.
Results: 1. Mike Lafferty (KTM) 23; 2. Randy Hawkins (Yam) 30; 3. Fred Hoess (Hus) 42; 4. David Lykke (Yam) 42; 5. Matt Stavish (GG) 46; 6. Rich Lafferty (KTM) 62; 7. Craig Holasek (KTM) 73; 8. Tim Taber (KTM) 78.