With no less than 760 entries, the 2015 AMA National Enduro Series is already shaping up to offer pure off-road racing excitement.
This year more factories will be involved – Husqvarna, KTM, Yamaha, Beta, Suzuki, and Gas Gas will all be represented with some form of manufacturer supported team, such as AirGroup Racing, which is a Husqvarna-backed private team.
The 10-round series presented by Moose Racing gets underway this Saturday in Sumter, S.C. Leading the riders is the defending champion, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew DeLong, who will be challenged by much talent.
The other top players will be the Baylor brothers (Steward and Grant), Russell Bobbitt, Charlie Mullins, Jesse Groemm, Cory Buttrick, Brad Bakken, Ryder Lafferty and Australian off-road stars Josh Strang and Daniel Milner.
Although the racing begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, there will be plenty to do and see on Saturday, as well, with top US Trials Pro Logan Bolopue holding a Trials demonstration in the pits at 3 pm. Meanwhile, Mike Lafferty will be in charge a spaghetti dinner at 5pm, which will be hosted by KTM. This is one of the many new duties Lafferty will have at the enduro series this year. There will also be plenty of opportunities to meet riders and get autographs.
As far as the course itself, there will be 10-miles of brand new trail cut specifically for this race. And of course, Sumter is home to lots of sandy pine forest trails, so trim down your bars and be ready for some tight trail.
The Sumter event is a home race for the Baylor boys, so look for Steward and Grant to be in contention for the win, although you can’t rule out Mullins, who is making his return to racing after missing most of last year due to injury. Mullins had reeled off four-straight wins to start the season, before going down with a wrist injury. The FMF/KTM rider is hoping to pick up where he left off at Sumter.
A new series feature in 2015 is the Yamaha Power Equipment giving away. Yamaha will give away one of their top of the line pressure washers to the rider that earns the most series points in one class after the first 5 rounds of the 2015 KENDA AMA National Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing. In the event that there is a tie, those rider’s names will be placed in a hat and the winner will be drawn. The pressure washer will be presented to the winning rider at the riders meeting of the 6th round in Upton WY, you must be present to win and cannot combine points from multiple classes.
Mike Lafferty retired from racing at the end of the last year’s series, after 20 years of competition. However, the eight-time champ will be working with the National Enduro Promotions Group in 2015 to make sure the course and the race are up to national standards. Mike will also be available for autographs throughout the day on Saturday.
Also returning for 2015 is the Rekluse Expert-AA class, which is designed as a stepping-stone for riders hoping to move into the highly competitive Pro division. The Rekluse Expert-AA series will pay a year-end purse for the top finishers based on a riders overall final standings in the class.
If you’re up for some sightseeing while in the Columbia area, be sure to check out the Columbia Canal or Riverfront Park. There’s also the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, which you can information about here.