The battle for the 2013 EnduroCross title between Taddy Blazusiak (1) and Mike Brown (3) truly was a battle. Photography by Kit Palmer
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA Nov. 23 - The 2013 GEICO AMA EnduroCross Championship concluded in dramatic fashion at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, November 23, with KTM teammates Taddy Blazusiak and Mike Brown duking it out in a final-round showdown that would determine the 2013 championship. Blazusiak and Brown were tied for the points lead going into the last race of the series with Blazusiak going for his fifth straight AMA EnduroCross title and Brown his first. The two literally battled handlebar to handlebar for much of the race and when it was all over, it was the man from Poland, Blazusiak, who prevailed. But he did not win the race, that honor instead went to Beta's Cody Webb, who notched his third win of the year.
In a nutshell, both Blazusiak and Brown were involved in a huge first-lap pileup that put the two KTM riders deep in the field. A lap later, the same thing happened again, but each time, they would recover side-by-side. With the title on the line, Blazusiak and Brown battled back and forth as though they were battling for the lead. Near the halfway way point, Blazusiak seemed to take control of things but Brown was always a threat until he went down in a water section, hitting a log that had been knocked to the bottom from another section of the track. The fall, plus severely pumped-up arms (something he's been dealing with since the Six Days) ended Brown's incredible run for the 2013 title. Brown finished out the race ninth, while Blazusiak claimed fifth to cinch in fifth straight and fifth career EnduroCross title.
“That was probably the worst race in my life but it was all about me and Brownie,” Blazusiak said. “We got together in the first turn and then again in the second turn and it went from race mode to crazy mode. We must have hit 15 times but we got it done,” he said.
Brown was disappointed but was gracious in defeat saying he gave it a good run but came up a little short.
Webb, meanwhile, rode a smart race. After an 11th-place start, he methodically worked his way up to the front, making clean passes while also taking advantage of other riders' mistakes on the extremely technical track. He passed Geoff Aaron for the lead on the sixth lap of the 12-lap race and then never looked back. Webb, who suffered an early season injury, finished out the season third.
“I am ecstatic right now," Webb said immediately following the race. "I had a great season except for that little setback [injury],” Webb said. “The track tonight was insane but I loved it.”
Aaron held the lead for five laps while feeling pressure by RPM KTM rider Kyle Redmond. At one point, Aaron was slowed by a lapped rider and things unravalled for the 10-time trials champ from that point on. He finished the race in sixth, while Husqvarna's Cory Graffunder slipped into second after getting around Redmond late in the race. Graffunder went on to take second for his best EnduroCross finish of his career, while Redmond held on to take third for his first podium ever.
“I got an okay start; I have had several third-places, so I am really happy to finally get a second”. Graffunder said.
Rockstar/Lucas Oil JCR Honda-backed Colton Haaker finished out the race in fourth despite running as far back as 11th at one point. He rode around both Brown and Blazusiak as they were battling and was closing in on Redmond and Graffunder when they took the checkered flag.
Next came Aaron, followed by Monster Kawasaki's Taylor Robert, Gary Sutherlin, Brown and Kawasaki rider Destry Abbout, who completed the top 10.
Blazusiak finished out the season with 146 points, followed by Brown with 142 and Webb with 135.
Bryan Roper won the MAVtv Junior EnduroCross Championship, designated for riders under the age of 22. He also finished in a tie for 13th in the final points.
Rachel Gutish got her first ever GEICO EnduroCross win in the Women’s class. She outlasted runner-up Kristie McKinnon, who traveled from Australia to compete in her first ever EnduroCross. RPM KTM’s Chantelle Bykerk finished third but had already clinched the 2013 Women’s Championship at the previous race.
Twenty-two year old Harrison Oswald won the Open Amateur class to earn the AMA number-one plate. He finished ahead of 17-year-old Noah Kepple and 14-year old Ty Cullins.
Kurt Nicoll won his third consecutive Vet 35+ Championship after passing Adam Booth on the last lap to take the evening's win. Booth ended up dropping to third by the finish, while Josh Adams moved up to second.
Jack Field won the AMA TrialsCross Championship. The Australian topped Ty Cullins and Phil Smage.
2013 GEICO AMA EnduroCross Championship
The Orleans Arena
Las Vegas, Nevada
November 23, 2013
1. Cody Webb (Bet)
2. Cory Graffunder (Hus)
3. Kyle Redmond (KTM)
4. Colton Haaker (Hon)
5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM)
6. Geoff Aaron (KTM)
7. Taylor Robert (Kaw)
8. Gary Sutherlin (KTM)
9. Mike Brown (KTM)
10. Destry Abbott (Kaw)
11. David Knight (Sherco)
12. Eric Rhoten (KTM)
13. Jack Field (Chr)
2013 GEICO AMA EnduroCross, Fueled by Monster Energy Expert Championship Points – Final
1 Taddy Blazusiak (146)
2. Mike Brown (142)
3. Cody Webb (135)
4. Colton Haaker (126)
5. Taylor Robert (119)
6. Kyle Redmond (106)
7. Cory Graffunder (105)
8. Geoff Aaron (85)
9. Gary Sutherlin (79)
10. Justin Soule (78)