October 1, 2011 marked the last round of the AMA National Enduro series this year. The final round was held in Matthews, IN, which has been a location that has served many championship battles for myself over the past few years. In normal fashion the title was on the line at the last race, and the points were only separated by a single point! My teammate Charlie Mullins was a nose ahead and fighting to make a repeat. This being the situation, the one who beat the other would win the championship no matter where we placed overall.
In the month leading up to the final race I stayed busy racing the local SE&TRA enduros and doing some testing to find a little bit of an edge. The last couple of nationals hadn’t been going in my favor, and I felt like I had been over-riding the bike. I decided to test out the 300. Some other riders had been riding them and doing well. I had actually never tested the 300 back to back to my 250. KTM sent tech Anthony Dibasillo down to my place to do some testing. We did laptimes at my home track and I instantly fell in love with the 3HoneyMoney! It was what I was looking for!! It allowed me to carry a higher gear in places and provided more bottom-end torque that helped carry momentum even better. I rode the 300 at a couple local races and had great results. I quickly felt comfortable and fast on the bike. I had also been riding with MX Trainer Matt Walker at his tracks and getting some good motos in with his riders. ( http://www.SchoolOfMotoX.com )
I decided to drive to Indy from Atl, GA so I could get up there a couple days early and ride some similar terrain. My friend, Andrew Marsh, helped drive and with all the preperations leading up to the race. Also, the Warner family offered a great place to ride before the race and fed us to the brim with their special “yardbird,” and potato soup! The weather was definitely cooler and wetter than at home. It had been raining all week long. I knew that this race could either be incredibly slick or have traction that makes you feel like your riding with spikes. It continued to rain off and on leading up to the race, but the high winds kept drying things out relatively quickly. A quick ride on the race bike Friday and I was set to go. My Mechanic, Tanner Harding, mounted Dunlop 31’s for the soft terrain and buttoned up all the odds and ends on the bike. I think I saw him check my spoke tension at least 15 times between Friday and Saturday morning.
The race started out with a 9 mile test right out of the pits. I had a great first test! The trail was still slick in spots, but was really fun and flowing. I won the first test and put 15 seconds on Charlie. My bike felt dialed and I was riding well and having fun. The second test would end up being thrown out, because the majority of riders missed a turn in the middle of the section. I also had a crash on a pavement road in that one!! Luckily, it wasn’t too bad and was able to get up and get going quickly. Tests 3,4, and 5 were all full of different terrain. We raced in cornfields, grass tracks, tight woods, sandy creek beds, and crossed our fair share of logs! All the rain the area had recieved made the river crossings pretty deep, which made for some great spectator points. I won those tests and only had a couple slide outs in the 5th. Going into the last section I had roughly a 50 second lead. The last test was 12 miles, the longest of the day. I stayed up right for the last section and rode a smart ride and still managed to win the test! It was the first race that I had won all the special tests and would be my 5th victory of the year!! Mullins and Lafferty both rode a great race as well, and it made a great day for KTM taking top honors!
I would really like to thank everyone who sent luck and wishes! I definitely felt all the support. HUGE thanks to my sponsors that worked hard and provided everything I needed to make it happen! My Team Sponsors: FMF/KTM, Motorex, Dunlop, Thor, Rekluse, Acerbis, Motion Pro, Muscle Milk, KTM_Powerwear/Parts, VP Racing Fuel, Renthal, WP. My Personal Sponsors: Sidi Boots, Scott Goggles, Troy Lee Designs Helmet, Hydrapak, CTI Knee Braces, Skull Candy, and Rockwell Time!