Enduro X Turns Out the Lights on X Games 17
More Action Than an Episode of Jersey Shore
X Games Finale: Enduro X Closes X 17 in Style
Taddy Triumphant, Forsberg On a Frenzy
By Scott Hoffman and Jana Bond; Hoffman photos
To some, the Enduro X was a perfect conclusion to the Olympics of extreme sports—the X Games. This marked the first time Enduro X was featured in the Games and probably not the last. If you’ve never seen or been to an EnduroCross race, you’re missing out on nonstop action. The X Games wanted extreme and they got it. X worked with the EnduroCross Series and combined the season kickoff with the inaugural running of Enduro X. Not only was the Gold, Silver, and Bronze awarded to the top three racers, it was also a point-paying event for the 2011 EnduroCross Series.
For the final day, the Staples Center was again transformed, yet this time the ramps were removed and loads of rock, logs, and tractor tires were installed. In less than 12 hours the track was built—this was half of the time it normally takes to build a track of this caliber.
In addition to the usual EnduroCross heroes, there was a crew of newcomers who thought they could tame the beast. Names like Kenny Bartram, Ryan Hughes, and Eric Sorby topped the list. It didn’t take long for the track to humble these riders’ egos, that is if they had one to begin with. I don’t think I had ever seen Hughes, Bartram, and Sorby on their heads, back, face, or under water so many times in my life in such a short stint. Chaps like Gold Medal winner Taddy Blazusiak almost made it look difficult instead of nearly impossible. Even the Zen Master of EnduroCross had his challenges and had to transfer to the main via one of two last chance qualifiers. Former EnduroCross champ Ricky Dietrich was also on the ground a few times and got taken out at the start as well as in heat one. He did not make the main event.
And about that start, if there is one thing to change if they bring back Enduro X, it would have to be the start. Going downhill on a slick ramp into a tight log-lined right turn was not easy and nearly every start there was some sort of pileup. In the end, the crowd loved the event. There was action going on all over the track and it was an amazing final that had several lead changes throughout the race.
Many of the Women’s Moto X racers returned on Sunday to take on the Enduro X course. Ask any of these gals, Moto X was a walk in the park compared to Enduro X. It was almost too much for the women and most if not all of them had issues. Not saying the men didn’t create carnage, the ladies were just more spectacular. The hard-charger award had to go to Elizabeth Bash. She was kicked off her bike and tumbled backward off the huge rock-filled hill in the middle of the course and fell headfirst into a log. She was banged up but soldiered on, climbed up the hill, got back on her bike, and still finished a strong 4th. If not for the spill, Bash would have won a medal. When the six-lap race concluded, Seattle, Washington’s Maria Forsberg took the Gold. Tarah Gieger doubled up medals by taking her second Silver of the weekend. Kacy Martinez filled out the podium with the Bronze.
Jana’s Observations and Ideas for 2012
Over the river and through the woods to the house of pain we go. It’s log, log, it’s better than bad, it’s good! Good for the fans that is. That about sums up Enduro X. So much mayhem. Here’s an overview of the track: Race down a giant ramp into an inevitable pileup, 2 big log jumps, 2 little log bumps, giant tractor tire jump, little log, big log bump, 2 little logs, big log bump into what I like to call the woodpile, then the U-Turn through the shale of shame or Flintstones’ corner into little lakes of hell littered with log floater, land in sandbox, up giant mountain o’ dirt into oncoming hurt when faced with giant logs, giant boulders then giant log before your fall to your imminent beating down the hill, oh, and wait, here comes another giant log/boulder combo then down the straight over a little log, little log jump, and lastly another bump of giant tractor tires. Phew, made it, made it! Oh wait, that was only the first lap. Repeat.
Talk about a racetrack. We’re talking Paul Bunyan-size logs, Redwood-size stumps, not toothpicks or twigs. It made for great spectating. Plenty of crashes and a slew of talent to tackle the challenge. Both the guys and the gals took on the granite gardens and the timber tumbleland.
The men had 3 heat races of 10 riders each with only 2 from each round moving to the finals. After the heats, the field consisted of Geoff Aaron, Justin Soule, Kevin Rookstool, Taylor Robert, Mike Brown, and Joakim Ljunggren. This left 2 LCQs of 12 riders each with the top 2 from each moving to finals. So after that went down, the rest of the final gate consisted of Taddy Blazusiak, Cody Webb, Destry Abbott, and Kurt Caselli. Caselli beat out Ricky Dietrich in the LCQ when Dietrich got a wedgie—he was stuck in the rocks and Caselli crept by.
The final race saw Kevin Rookstool take the holeshot only to have some log failure in his future and he dropped way back. Geoff Aaron led for a few laps but had a crash and couldn’t charge back. From there it was pretty much Blazusiak, Brown, Ljunggren until Ljunggren fell in the woods and Soule snuck by for the Bronze.
The ladies brought out their balls and put on a quite a show. They took a beating but kept getting back up and showing us that they had stones as big as the ones they were riding over. I was impressed. Maria Forsberg took Gold, Tara Gieger the Silver, and Kacy Martinez the Bronze.
Rumor has it that next year they’re going to have a celebrity Enduro X event sponsored by Schoolhouse Rock over at the conjunction junction convention center. Model Twiggy will do the announcing and potential invitees are Woody Harrelson, Kenny Loggins, The Rock, Elijah Wood, Forest Whitaker, the guy who played Rocky, Tree Rollins, Joan Rivers, Sandy Bullock, John Waters, Tiger Woods, and Rivers Cuomo. Weird Al Yankovic is adapting the Led Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love to yep, you guessed it—Whole Lotta Log. Let’s sing along:
You need dirt loggin’, baby, rocks and hills to crawl on,
I’m gonna send you over the bars yeah, no ass you’ll be haulin’.
Wanna whole lotta log. Wanna whole lotta log.
It’s a catchy little ditty.
Enduro X Results
|1.||Taddy Blazusiak||111||Krakow, Poland||9:06.439|
|2.||Mike Brown||311||Bluff City, Tenn.||9:20.930|
|3.||Justin Soule||3||Victorville, Calif.||9:33.448|
|4.||Joakim Ljunggren||69||Karlskoga, Sweden||9:41.829|
|5.||Geoff Aaron||2||Redding, Conn.||9:48.979|
|6.||Destry Abbott||14||Phoenix, Ariz.||9:52.518|
|7.||Kurt Caselli||66||Palmdale, Calif.||11:22.279|
|8.||Cody Webb||247||Santa Cruz, Calif.||11:28.735|
|9.||Taylor Robert||33||Scottsdale, Ariz.||11:54.467|
|10.||Kevin Rookstool||8||Klamath Falls, Ore.||11:59.693|
Women’s Enduro X
|1.||Maria Forsberg||Seattle, Wash.||8:31.375|
|2.||Tarah Gieger||Aguadilla, Puerto Rico||9:37.734|
|3.||Kacy Martinez||Sunol, Calif.||10:01.286|
|4.||Elizabeth Bash||Riverside, Calif.||11:31.406|
|5.||Amanda Mastin||Whitehouse, Ohio||12:55.897|
|6.||Sara Price||Canyon Lake, Calif.||13:11.798|
|7.||Ashley Crouch||Pittsburg, Texas||14:16.562|
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