In one of the wildest finishes in AMA EnduroCross history, Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) won the opening round of this year’s series in Las Vegas at the weekend.
Blazusiak beat defending EnduroCross champ Ricky Dietrich (Kawasaki) over the giant tyres finish line in a photo finish that, depending on where you were sitting in Vegas’ Orleans Arena, could have gone either way.
New Zealand’s Rory Mead (Yamaha), there as a guest rider after his superb win at the inaugural Red Bull City Scramble in Auckland in May, followed by his remarkable sixth placing at the Erzberg enduro in Austria in June, managed to finish in 16th place.
Any one of four racers, including KTM’s Mike Brown and Kawasaki-mounted Colton Haaker, could have won the Expert class main event. Amazingly, during the last couple laps of the final each one of these riders did lead for a time. And Dietrich’s charge to the giant finish tires to catch Blazusiak will be the stuff of legend as the EnduroCross continues to gain momentum with its often impossible-to-believe racing action.
“I just rolled my eyes into the back of my head and absolutely pinned it,” said Dietrich of his charge to the chequered flag.
Moments earlier Brown had the lead. “Truth? I didn’t even know I was in 1st place,” admitted Brown after wading through the crashes, passes and throw-aways to the third and final podium spot behind Dietrich and Blazusiak.
Pulling the $500 Girardi Holeshot Award, Blazusiak raced out to an early lead, properly navigating such features as the E3 Spark Plugs Rock Quarry Corner and the Monster Energy Matrix – a series of off-set logs with bridged boards bolted in-between. Dietrich, who’s been splitting time between the AMA MX Nationals and WORCS cross-country series, caught and briefly passed Blazusiak early, only to bobble and allow Blazusiak to go up by four seconds. And just when fans thought that Blazusiak, Dietrich and Haaker would settle in for a 1-2-3 finish in the eight-lap main, all heck broke loose when Blazusiak dive bombed his KTM into the water hole and went for an untimely swim.
Haaker quickly took the lead, only to crash moments later and bend his bars/clutch lever. Brown would then take over the lead, only to be passed by Dietrich as the white flag flew. And the Orleans Arena was going bananas.
With the race his to lose, Dietrich did just that – putting his Kawasaki KX250F on its side while crossing a seemingly simple single log section. “It came down to who made the last mistake and I threw it away,” said a completely spent Dietrich.
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com