Colton Haaker Crowned King Of The Motos

Jean Turner | February 6, 2017

Colton Haaker Crowned King Of The Motos – Continuing in the grand tradition of King of the Motos, the race format saw another change-up this year, with riders taking on a three-moto format. The demanding extreme race, which requires riders to navigate through an unmarked course via GPS, added the element of night racing to the 2017 event, giving riders a full gambit of challenges en route to carding a finish.

Colton Haaker Crowned King Of The Motos

Colton Haaker Crowned King Of The Motos
Colton Haaker emerged victorious at the King of the Motos.

The weekend ended with some confusion, and some hard luck for KTM riders Cody Webb and Taylor Robert. Webb took the checkered flag in the final only to find out he had missed the final King of the Motos checkpoint near the finish line, which cost him the race. His FMF/KTM teammate fared far worse, ending his weekend in the hospital after a high-speed crash. It was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Colton Haaker who emerged with the overall win, having focused his race on remaining steady and vigilant. He admits Webb was the faster rider, but his strategy of keeping the rubber side down and hitting all the checkpoints paid off in the end.

“I wasn’t too worried about chasing down Cody because he was kinda gone each time, honestly,” Haaker said. “Obviously had Cody not gone the wrong way, I would have ended up second, but it was part of the thing. You couldn’t get too ahead of yourself out there. You had to make sure you followed [event promoter] Jimmy Lewis’ breadcrumb trail to the best of your ability.”

Missed Check Cost Webb King of the Motos Win

Despite running all three races out front, all it took was one simple lapse in judgment for the win to slip through Webb’s fingers. “I holeshot every race, I did all the navigation, I rode really good,” Webb lamented. “Obviously I now I don’t deserve to win because I made a stupid mistake in the final race. I just followed the previous course from the morning. It was completely my fault.”

Webb’s loss came on the heels of a severe crash by his teammate, Taylor Robert, amounting to a thoroughly disappointing weekend for the FMF/KTM team.

Robert’s weekend started out good with a win in Saturday’s night race. Webb nabbed the holeshot and the teammates swapped the lead throughout much of the race, ending in an all-out charge to the checkered flag.

“Taylor and I battled pretty much to the finish,” Webb described. “We couldn’t get away from each other. It ended up being a game of cat and mouse the whole time and we’re trading off on who’s the cat.”

The final descent was a sprint to the finish. “We were literally fourth or fifth gear wide open down this sand hill in the dark. It was just the sketchiest thing ever,” said Webb. “We finished within five feet of each other.”

Robert edged out Webb for the win, meanwhile Haaker was recovering from a navigation error, and working his way back up to a third-place finish. Webb and Robert were ready to square off again in the morning, and as before, Webb grabbed the holeshot closely followed by his teammate.

“The second race had a really nasty start and I got up there really quick,” Webb recalled. “I looked back and I saw Taylor right behind me. It was a guy I didn’t want behind me since he was in the night race and he beat me.”

After clearing the bottleneck, they headed into the desert—Robert’s specialty. Webb attempted to make a run for it, knowing his teammate wouldn’t be far off.

Taylor Robert Crashes Out of KOM

“We were pretty much side by side and I was just wide open and I was able to pass him,” said Webb. “I came over the next ridge and I got hung up and turned around and Taylor wasn’t there. My stomach just dropped. I knew something was wrong. Taylor should have been there. I know how good a rider he is and I expected him to be all on me.”

Robert had, indeed, gone down hard. Haaker was first to arrive at the scene, and stopped to tend to Robert. The rest of the pack followed suit, bringing almost the whole race to a halt while Robert was airlifted out. (see Wind page TK)

The pack resumed the race, agreeing to head out in the order they arrived to complete the second race.

In the final, Webb once again took the early lead, and went on to dominate the entire one-hour final, only to miss the final check. Haaker was next in, taking the overall with his 3-3-1 score. It marked Haaker’s second King of the Motos win in three years.

“It was definitely a team effort to make it to the finish today,” Haaker commented. “I aimed at staying on two wheels, catching all the checks and having fun. Big thanks to the whole team!”

Colton Haaker Crowned King Of The Motos

2017 King of the Motos Results

  1. Colton Haaker (3-3-1)
  2. Max Gerston (4-2-2)
  3. Mitch Carvolth (5-4-3)
  4. Noah Kepple (6-5-6)
  5. Trystan Hart (7-6-5)

Jean Turner | Contributor A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.