Haaker Takes 2016 EnduroCross Championship

Sean Finley | November 20, 2016

Colton Haaker did what he needed to clinch his first AMA EnduroCross Championship in Ontario, California. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory rider entered the final round with a relatively comfortable fourteen point lead but anything can happen in EnduroCross so nothing is truly safe. With bonus points available for the heat race wins and the fast Hot Lap, Haaker would need to finish no worse than seventh if his title rival, KTM’s Cody Webb, earned those bonus points.

Colton Haaker 2016 Ontario EnduroCross finish
Colton Haaker finished second in Ontario to clinch the 2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship. Photo Adam Booth

Webb did everything he could to keep the pressure on by winning his heat race over Haaker and then setting the fast time in the evening Hot Laps to cut the gap to 12. He then dominated the main event after passing Haaker on lap two and riding off to the win.

Cody Webb 2016 Ontario EnduroCross finals
Cody Webb dominated the Ontario finale but that was not enough to hold onto his number one plate. Photo: Adam Booth

But despite a few small crashes, Haaker held on for second place at the Ontario finale to take the title with nine points to spare. It was also Husqvarna’s first EnduroCross championship.

“Winning the championship is awesome even though I crashed a few more times tonight than I wanted to,” Haaker said. “Really, nobody would expect me to come out here and charge with so much on the line, but I’m always trying to push myself and I did that tonight. It’s what pushes me and it worked out for the championship even though going hard had me crash a few more times than I wanted.”

“I was determined to try and lap everyone,” Webb said.  “I felt good tonight and Colton was starting to crack under pressure a bit and I was ready to make a statement to end the year with this win. A few little things went wrong this year and I let the championship slip away. Colton was so solid and I couldn’t chip away at his points lead this year. I’m really happy I got a convincing win tonight and look forward to carrying the momentum into next season.”

The battle for the final podium spot was intense and Cory Graffunder managed to take the position. Beta’s Ty Cullins had another strong ride to take fourth, the best ever finish for the teenager. Ty Tremaine rounded out the top five on his KTM and combined with Mike Brown’s tenth place finish, he was able to move past the ageless veteran for third in the championship.

Noah Kepple capped off the season with a solid sixth place finish. Geoff Aaron finished seventh on his GasGas. Kyle Redmond rode his Beta to an eighth for the night. Nick Thompson took ninth on his KTM. Brown rounded out the top then on his Husqvarna.

“The race was pretty exciting tonight because somehow I got a good start from the back row and came out fifth by turn two,” Graffunder said. “And after that I had a good battle with Tremaine back-and-forth a few times and I had one scary moment where I jumped into the water pit and landed on an upright log that shot me off the track. I didn’t crash but it was intense. After that it was smooth sailing. The key tonight was being smooth in the matrix. I got back into the United States after racing the Baja 1000 at about midnight and I’ve ridden more than 1200 miles in the last week or so I’m pretty tired.”

“I couldn’t be happier to win the Junior Championship for the third year in a row and to finish third in the points for the year,” Tremaine said. “It was really hard-fought and racing with Mike Brown for the third position in the championship, man, I don’t even know what to say. But I moved into third tonight by one point and I couldn’t be happier.”

Ty Tremaine 2016 Ontario EnduroCross
Ty Tremaine capped off the season with his third straight Junior EnduroCross Championship and also third in the overall championship. Photo: Adam Booth

Max Gerston, Trystan Hart and Eric Rhoten finished eleventh through thirteenth in the main.

2016 Ontario AMA EnduroCross Main Event Results

  1. Cody Webb, KTM
  2. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna
  3. Cory Graffunder, KTM
  4. Ty Cullins, Beta
  5. Ty Tremaine, KTM
  6. Noah Kepple, KTM
  7. Geoff Aaron, GasGas
  8. Kyle Redmond, Beta
  9. Nick Thompson, KTM
  10. Mike Brown, Husqvarna
  11. Max Gerston, Beta
  12. Trystan Hart, Husqvarna
  13. Eric Rhoten, Yamaha

2016 AMA EnduroCross Championship Final Points

  1. Colton Haaker, Husqvarna, 201
  2. Cody Webb, KTM, 192
  3. Ty Tremaine, KTM, 127
  4. Mike Brown, Husqvarna, 126
  5. Kyle Redmond, Beta, 116
  6. Cory Graffunder, KTM, 111
  7. Max Gerston, Beta, 104
  8. Noah Kepple, KTM, 100
  9. Trystan Hart, Husqvarna, 97
  10. Geoff Aaron, GasGas, 90

EnduroCross includes a Junior championship to recognize riders twenty one and under. It is a championship within a championship and twenty year old Ty Tremaine won the title for the third straight season with a very strong third overall as well. Noah Kepple, another twenty year old was second in the Junior championship and eighth overall. Ninteen year old Trystan Hart was third Junior and ninth overall.

Morgan Tanke rode her Beta to the Ontario Women’s main event win over Canada’s Shelby Turner but it was not enough to take over the championship. Turner dominated the season with six wins and wrapped up the championship with 194 points to Tanke’s 176. Rachel Gutish held on for third in the Women’s championship despite sitting out the final round with a knee injury. Tarah Gieger rounded out the podium for the Ontario final on her Honda.

For the EnduroCross support classes (Amateur, Vet and TrialsCross), the Ontario event is the AMA Grand Championship with number one plates on the line. Dustin McCarthy took an exciting win in the Amateur class on his Yamaha just ahead of Tyler Kinkade on a KTM and Spenser Wilton on a Honda. In the Vet class, Stephen Foord had a good battle with Kurt Nicoll to earn another championship. Foord was riding a Beta and Nicoll was riding an Alta Electric bike. Jason Gitchel rounded out the podium on his KTM. In the TrialsCross class, Kyle Larson and Shad Petersen took first and second on their Beta’s. Brian Martinson rounded out the podium on his GasGas.

The Ontario EnduroCross finals is scheduled to air on the CBS Sports Network on Sunday, December 4th. For CBS Sports Network information, please visit www.cbssportsnetwork.com

You can keep up with all of the Cycle News off road event coverage HERE.

By Sean Finley