Charlie Mullins tops Concho National Enduro
March 24, 2014
Story and photos by Shan Moore
Blackwell, Texas (March 23, 2014) – Charlie Mullins claimed his second win of the season in the 2014 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series after dominating the field this weekend at the Concho Enduro, round two of the 10-round series in Blackwell, Texas.
The Concho Enduro is held on the Texana Ranch, which is known for its fast, rocky and hard-packed trail, terrain that’s not usually found found in eastern events. Mullins looked every bit at home, however, on the demanding course and much like he did earlier in the month in South Carolina, the FMF/KTM rider got off to a fast start, winning the first two tests and building a solid lead ahead of eventual second place finisher Grant Baylor.
In the end, Mullins finished the race with a minute and 24-second advantage over Baylor, with last year’s winner, Andrew DeLong, rounding out the podium on his Husqvarna Factory Racing FE300.
“I had some bad luck last year at this race so it was good to get this win,” said Mullins. “I was solid all day and I had some fast tests, so I’m happy with how I rode and happy with the outcome.”
Baylor was solid all day on his KTM 450 XC, winning the third test and finishing second in two others en route to the runner-up spot, which was a personal best for the South Carolina rider. Baylor concentrated on riding an error-free race and the strategy seemed to have paid off.
After winning this race last year, DeLong came into the weekend with high hopes, however, a slow start in the first two tests left the Pennsylvania rider playing catch-up all day. In the end, DeLong won the fourth test of the day and finished the race 25 seconds behind Baylor for third.
“I didn’t want to destroy my tires right off the bat, so I took it a little too easy in the beginning, but you can’t do that. You have to be aggressive,” said DeLong. “I was a little more amped up after the first gas and I was able to pick up the pace and finish a little stronger.”
Shane Hufford also turned in a personal best with a fourth-place finish. The KR4 Performance Arrive-n-Ride-backed rider from Pennsylvania kept a steady pace all day and stayed on two wheels, which was one of the keys to success in this event.
Nick Fahringer took a few tests to get his bike dialed in, however, the AirGroup Racing Husqvarna rider came on strong in the final three tests and finished the day in fifth. Meanwhile, FMF/KTM rider Steward Baylor struggled in tests three and four but still managed a sixth.
Jesse Groemm, who was second at the series opener, had a tough time with crashes and blown turns and wound up in seventh. The Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise KTM rider came out on the winning end of a tiebreaker with eight-time champ Mike Lafferty to claim the position.
Lafferty was none too happy with eighth, however, the FMF/KTM rider was already looking to the next round in Tennessee for redemption.
Former National winner Cole Kirkpatrick made a rare appearance to finish ninth on a KTM, while Brad Bakken rounded out the top 10 on a N-FAB AmPro Yamaha YZ250F.
KTM factory road racer and former SuperMoto star Chris Fillmore was in town for the race and decided to try his first enduro. Despite suffering two flat tires, the Ohio rider was grinning from ear to ear after the race.
“I’m so glad I decided to ride this,” said Fillmore. “I love the atmosphere here, it just brings me back to when I was a kid and going to the races with my parents. Everybody is so helpful and it’s just a fun time.”
Oklahoma Yamaha rider Tony Joiner took the win in the Rekluse Expert-AA class, beating out KTM-mounted Drew Higgins by exactly one minute. Texas rider Martin Howell rounded out the podium on a KTM.
“I struggled in the rocks today, I’m mostly a sand rider, so I didn’t think I was going that fast,” said Joiner. “Everything worked out for me, though, and I’m happy to get the win.”
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes in two weeks in West Point, Tennessee, for the Rad Dad Enduro on April 6th. For more information on the Rad Dad Enduro or on the Kenda AMA National Enduro Series please go to http://www.nationalenduro.com
1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
2. Grant Baylor (KTM)
3. Andrew DeLong (Hsq)
4. Shane Hufford (KTM)
5. Nick Fahringer (Hsq)
6. Steward Baylor (KTM)
7. Jesse Groem (KTM)
8. Mike Lafferty (KTM)
9. Cole Kirkpatrick (KTM)
10. Brad Bakken (Yam)
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