2020 Harleywood Full Gas Sprint Enduro Results

| September 8, 2020

Layne Michael (AmPro Yamaha) and Kailub Russell (FMF/KTM) traded overall wins at the three-day Harleywood Full Gas Sprint Enduro, rounds four and five of the 2020 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series in Bristol, Tennessee, September 5-7.

Layne Michael
Layne Michael was the overall win at the two-day portion of the race. Photos: Shan Moore

Round four had been scheduled for the previous weekend at Harleywood, which would have been back-to-back weekends at the course. However, thanks to a hurricane hovering off the coast, the weather forecast leading up to the first race called for two inches of rain and 30 mph gusts, so series promoter Jason Hooper decided to run both rounds over Labor Day Weekend. A call that worked out perfectly since Mother Nature cooperated over the three-day holiday.

The race for the overall win ended up being a dogfight between Russell and Michael all weekend, and Michael’s victory at round four (Saturday and Sunday) marked the first time this year anyone has able to wrestle the top step of the podium away from Russell.

Russell got off to a bad start in the very first test on Saturday and quickly realized he might have a battle on his hands.

“I didn’t even fall in the first cross test and I got smoked,” said Russell. “I knew straightaway in the first three turns that something was off. I didn’t feel at home on the bike. I came in and figured it out, we forgot to make a settings change after some testing we did, so I put it back to normal. Then I had a pretty good enduro test going (test two) and lost my brakes halfway through it.”

Michael looked especially sharp having just returned from an injury three weeks before.

“Now I feel like I’m back in tune with the bike,” said Michael. “This place suits me pretty good. You got to be patient. It’s rocky, it’s choppy and it’s not too tricky. I think this track, you can easily over-push and make more mistakes, but it seems to suit my style really well.”

Michael would go on to win three tests on Saturday and four tests on Sunday, giving him the “day win” on Saturday and the overall win for round four of the series by three seconds over Russell.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to make [Kailub] stress maybe a little bit,” said Michael, who is a practice partner with Russell.

Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Johnny Girroir continues to impress with his top finishes from the Pro 2 division. Girroir was third overall at round four and first in the Pro 2 class.

Grabbing his first Pro podium and fourth overall was Liam Draper. The Tely Energy Racing KTM rider started fast by winning the first enduro test on Saturday. He consistently scored in the top-four the rest of the weekend.

Four-time National Enduro Champion Steward Baylor put his privateer Kawasaki into fifth overall, just 16 seconds behind Draper. Meanwhile, Jordan Ashburn got the hard-luck award for the day. He was sitting in a solid third overall heading into the final test, but clipped a tree and lost his clutch, which cost him enough time to drop him to sixth overall.

In the Women’s Pro Class, Enduro Engineering/Mepmx/Fly/Grizzly Peak/Traveler’s Rest Speedway/KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker took the round four win, beating Rockstar Husqvarna Lan Mills XC rider Tayla Jones by 1:07. Jones turned in a gritty effort since just three weeks prior, the Australian off-roader had surgery to repair damage to her clutch hand.

AmPro Yamaha’s Rachel Archer finished third ahead of Texan Allie Spurgeon.

Kailub Russell
Kailub Russell came back and won the single-day round on Monday.

The Harleywood course dried out a bit for Monday’s round five, leaving mostly flat turns with no berms to speak of and Chile’s Ruy Barbosa drew first blood on his Husqvarna by winning the opening test of the day (a cross test) by 1.5 seconds ahead of Michael, with Ashburn in third.

Russell slid out in a dry turn and ended the test in sixth.

“The first cross test I washed out,” said Russell. “I washed out and I just kind of lost my rhythm there for a minute and then I got back into it. I kind of minimized the damage.”

Barbosa, a former European Junior World Enduro Champion, was using the Harleywood race as a warm-up for the upcoming Enduro GP Series.

Pro 2 riders owned the cross test on Monday, as Girroir would win it on the second run, while Barbosa returned to take another win on the final pass.

Michael and Russell remained locked in a battle for the overall as they traded wins in tests two and four. Heading into the sixth and final test, Russell led Michael by less than 0.2 of a second for the overall win.

Obviously upset at how the weekend had gone so far, Russell posted an amazing final test to claim the overall win by 6.8 seconds ahead of Michael.

“I ride better when I’m pissed off,” said Russell. “A lot of people get mad and get frustrated and it works the opposite way, but if you piss me off, I’m going to lay the hammer down. I was frustrated with how the day was going and how well Layne was riding. I felt like I was riding good. I ride with him all the time, so I know where I stack up against him. He was definitely head and shoulders better than he’s ever been this weekend. I was frustrated and wanted to lay it all out there.”

Michael was disappointed at missing out on another overall win by such a small margin but pleased with his performance.

“Today was back and forth,” said Michael. “It’s been a really good weekend for me. I went out and I thought I rode a perfect test, but I think his was a little more perfect.”

Girroir was third overall once again, although this time he was being pushed hard by Barbosa in fourth. Barbosa ended the day with two outright test wins, while Girroir finished with one. However, Girroir was a bit more consistent and beat out Barbosa by about 15 seconds in the overall standings.

Draper edged Ashburn by just two seconds for fifth overall, with Baylor coming in at seventh overall and fifth in the Pro division.

Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Jesse Ansley was eighth ahead of 760 Husqvarna’s Ben Nelko and Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Jo Jo Cunningham.

In the Women’s class, Jones had amassed enough of a lead in the series standings that she wrapped up her fourth Women’s Pro Championship just by starting Monday’s event.

Tricker went on to take the round-five win, with Archer rounding out the podium in third.

Shan Moore

OVERALL

SATURDAY/SUNDAY (Round 4)

1 Layne Michael (Yam)
2 Kailub Russell (KTM)
3 Johnny Girroir (KTM)
4 Liam Draper (KTM)
5 Steward Baylor (Kaw)

MONDAY (Round 5)

1 Kailub Russell (KTM)
2 Layne Michael (Yam)
3 Johnny Girroir (KTM)
4 Ruy Barbosa (Hus)
5 Liam Draper (KTM)

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