South African Wade Young proved that he was plenty tough enough by making short work of this year’s Tough Like RORR extreme off-road event in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, July 6-7, finishing Sunday’s 34-mile final with a 36-minute advantage over former national enduro ace and Sherco rider Nick Fahringer. The Tough Like RORR race is a round of the 2019 AMA Extreme Off-Road Series.
Wade Young Tough Like RORR Winner
Young pocketed $5000 of the $15,000 purse for his efforts and etched his name in the Tough Like RORR history book.
“It definitely feels good to win it,” said Young. “I think this is my first win in America, so I’m happy with that. Hope it’s not the last.”
Organized by the Reading Off-Road Riders, Tough Like RORR is unique in that two races on Saturday serve as a prelude to the $15,000 finale held on Sunday afternoon, where only the 60 fastest riders qualify to participate on the rugged and slippery course that features rock fields, vertical climbs, and treacherous downhills, with names like “Sickness,” “Stairway to Heaven,” “Cruella da Hill,” and “Land of Confusion.”
Young posted fastest times in both of his qualifiers, seeding the factory Sherco rider into the first row in Sunday’s finale.
Fahringer grabbed the holeshot to start the finale, but Young took control when Fahringer took a wrong turn onto part of last year’s course.
“I got the holeshot and then somebody on a KTM went by, and we both took a wrong turn,” said Fahringer. “So, I’m looking down at everybody passing us down in this gulley, so I side-hilled down into that ravine. I think I was probably in sixth or fifth place and just started picking people off.”
Young sprinted during the opening lap, extending his lead at each checkpoint, and at the end of the first lap, he held a 20-minute advantage over the field. Fahringer worked his way up into second by the end of lap one and was 12-minutes ahead of Canadian Jake Stapleton when he started the final lap.
Young shifted into cruise control for the final lap to easily claim the checkers and the big check, while everyone else shifted into survival mode.
“I enjoyed the race,” said Young. “I found it challenging. I was a little bit tired at the end, but I just tried to keep the wheels turning and keep flowing and just make no mistakes.”
Fahringer kept a solid pace to finish second, although Stapleton gained on the Sherco rider, Fahringer, and was just over five minutes behind at the finish.
“Wade blew us all away,” said Fahringer. “He had a good ride. I had a reasonable ride. I had a few problems, but I’m happy with second.”
Like Young, Stapleton was making his first attempt at Tough Like RORR and was pleased with third. “I’ve just been watching this race online over the last couple years; I’ve wanted to get into this extreme enduro thing and I’ve never really done it,” said Stapleton. “So this is sort of a first for me and I enjoyed it.
“It started off a little rough. I got dead last off my start and got absolutely filled in with mud in the first corner. So, the first sort of 20 minutes I got passed by a bunch of guys. Then once we got to the harder stuff, I just started to get into my groove and just flow a little bit and just picking off people one by one.”
Fahringer took home $2600 for second, while Stapleton claimed a check for $1500.
Quinn Wentzel (Husqvarna) turned in a gutsy performance to finish fourth. The former Pro Trials rider broke both his brake pedal and his shift lever on lap one and had to hold on for dear life on some of the near-vertical downhills.
“I caught up to Nick in a gnarly rock section and next thing I know, my rear brake pedal is busted off,” said Wentzel. “Also, my shifter was busted off all the way down to a nub. So, I was missing shifts, and I could barely stop, so I really had to take it really easy on any downhill sections there were. As I was going slow, taking it easy, I got passed by fourth place. Me and Nick battled for a while. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to catch back up because I just was too timid about going down hills and not being able to stop. Overall, I felt pretty good. It was a good race.”
Thirty-seven-year-old Stephen Edmondson ran third after the start, but, like Fahringer, dropped back when he took a wrong turn. Edmondson used his experience to work his way up into fifth when it started to rain on the last lap.
KTM-mounted Ed Emery finished sixth, eight minutes behind Edmondson, while Tennessee extreme specialist Josh Rooken-Smith was seven minutes back in seventh.
Jason Gilleland (Husqvarna) edged local ace Jarrett Mohn (KTM) for eighth, while Adam Hartnagel rounded out the top 10 on a KTM.
- Wade Young (Shr)
- Nick Fahringer (Shr)
- Jake Stapleton (KTM)
- Quinn Wentzel (Hus)
- Stephen Edmondson (KTM)
- Ed Emery (KTM)
- Josh Rooken-Smith (KTM)
- Jason Gilleland (Hus)
- Jarrett Mohn (KTM)
- Adam Hartnagel (KTM)