The 2023 Magna 1 AMA National Enduro Series penultimate round took place at the famous Cumberland Covered Bridge in Matthews, Indiana, for the 70th Edition of the Muddobbers National Enduro. The race saw Steward Baylor Jr. take the day’s win, while brother Grant Baylor clinched the National Enduro Championship for the second year in a row.
By Logan Densmore | Photography by Mack Faint
Racing conditions were perfect, with fall colors starting to show, 80-degree temperatures and ideal soil helping to produce some close racing.
Rocky Mountain ATV-MC Tely Energy KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. put on a charge for the second half of the day to take a commanding win over Enduro Engineering GasGas rider Josh Toth and Monster Energy Babbitts Kawasaki’s Grant Baylor.
After a morning of solid times, including a win in test two, Steward went into the afternoon holding a minuscule one-second lead over Toth. Steward thought his bike could be better and made some adjustments at the gas stop. He went with his GNCC setup, which proved to be a good move, and he dominated the final three tests of the race. Steward stretched out his lead on Toth to more than 50 seconds. In the end, Steward had officially 53 seconds on Toth.
After a so-so performance at the previous race in Ohio, Toth said he wanted to come out swinging in Indiana, and he did. But luck wouldn’t be on his side. With roughly four miles to go in test two, Toth had his shift lever ripped off the bike and was stuck in third gear.
“We got into a tighter spot in the test, and I kind of pinballed off a couple of trees and clipped the shifter and broke it off, so I was stuck in third gear,” he said.
Still, Toth somehow managed to maintain his momentum and ended up being second quickest in the test. After installing a new shifter, Toth attacked the third test and was the quickest and was very much in the hunt for the overall win heading into the second half of the day, but no one, not even Toth, had anything for Steward in the afternoon.
Grant Baylor needed to finish no worse than one place behind Toth to clinch the championship one round early. Grant said before the race that he was going to go for the win. But after a big crash early into test one and another crash in test two, he decided to change strategies and think about the championship. He realized that both Steward and Toth were flying and started thinking about doing whatever was needed to secure the number-one plate. Grant then backed it down a notch and concentrated on putting in a solid ride. His plan paid off, and he was able to finish out the day right behind Toth for third to wrap up his third title in four years. It’s also the seventh consecutive year that a Baylor has won the AMA Enduro National Championship.
Finishing fourth overall was AmPro Yamaha rider Ricky Russell, and rounding out the top five overall was Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna rider Trevor Bollinger. It was a season-best for Bollinger.
Sixth overall and first in the NE Pro2 class was AmPro Yamaha rider Liam Draper. It was the first time this year that someone won the class two times consecutively. Winning three of the six tests and finishing second in the other three, Draper took the win 13 seconds ahead of Grant Davis.
“My main goal coming into the race was to finally hold the 21A plate for two races in a row since no one has been able to do that all year,” Draper said. “I am happy I was able to win today and do that.”
Finishing on the podium for the second time this season in the NE Pro2 class, and seventh overall, was Trail Jesters KTM rider Grant Davis. Davis won two tests on the day.
Eigth overall was Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna rider Craig Delong followed by Coastal GasGas rider Ryder Lafferty in ninth.
Third in NE Pro2 and 10th overall was Thorn Devlin. This is the first time all season both NE Pro2 Championship contenders finished on the podium together, with Liam in first and Thorn in third.
“I thought I was riding great until I looked at the test times and saw I was getting smoked by Liam and Grant,” said Devlin. “I just didn’t have anything for them today.”
Mackenzie Tricker of the Enduro Engineering GasGas team won her fifth race of the season and that was enough to seal the deal for her fifth Women’s Elite Championship in a row.
“I love this race; I have won it five times in a row now,” Tricker said. “I really like racing here and have always done well here.”
Tricker won four of their five tests.
Over-and-Out GasGas rider Rachel Gutish finished second in the Women’s Elite class at her home race.
Third on the day in the Women’s Elite class was Trail Jesters KTM rider Korie Steede, who sat out the previous two rounds with an injury.
The top AA rider for the day was Jhak Walker (GasGas).
The NEPG experimented a slightly modified format in partnership with the Muddobbers Enduro Club, using a golf-style shotgun start, where riders started the day at different tests. The new system seemed to work out well. CN
- Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
- Josh Toth (GG)
- Grant Baylor (Kaw)
- Ricky Russell (Yam)
- Trevor Bollinger (Hus)
- Liam Draper (Yam) NE Pro2
- Grant Davis (KTM) NE Pro2
- Craig DeLong (Hus)
- Ryder Lafferty (GG)
- Thorn Devlin (GG) NE Pro2