The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team made their way to Stanton, Alabama on Sunday for the penultimate round of the 2020 AMA National Enduro Series where team riders Craig DeLong and Thad DuVall each scored a podium finish in their respective classes. With one round remaining, DeLong maintains control of the NE Pro2 Championship while DuVall continues to work his way back up to speed in the premier NE Pro1 class upon his recent return from a knee injury.
As the southeastern part of the country continues to battle hurricane season, the location of the Gobbler Getter National was not exempt but the race organizers did a great job getting the course cleaned up before the start of the race weekend. Temperatures in the low 70s made for ideal racing conditions but it wasn’t without challenges as the course presented everything from nice and flowy terrain, to rough and rocky technical sections, along with a mud hole that swallowed a few riders throughout the day.
Craig DeLong got off to a great start as he swept the first three tests to give himself a favorable lead by the halfway point. However, on test four things began to take a turn for DeLong, who went off the trail a few times ultimately costing him the test-win by about 1.5 seconds. In test five, he struggled to keep a good pace through the tight and technical terrain as he acquired a 16-second deficit in that section, leaving the overall win up-for-grabs heading into the sixth test. DeLong put forth his best effort in the final section but he was edged out for the test-win and the overall victory where he finished 2.1 seconds back for second-place on the day. With one “throw-away” available in the NE Pro2 Championship, DeLong holds a six-point lead in the championship standings heading into the final round in two weeks.
Craig DeLong: “I got off to a decent start for the day but on the fifth test I kind of struggled a little bit and tried something different and lost a bunch of time. Going into the last test it was super close and I pushed as hard as I could and it just wasn’t enough, Cody [Barnes] rode great. I’ll try again in two weeks.”
For DuVall, it was a solid day all around as he kept himself inside the podium battle all afternoon. He fell into his groove right away as he secured a top-three finish in the opening test. He put on a charge in the second test to come away with second, following it up with a pair of third-place finishes in tests three and four. He made a few mistakes in the fifth test to come away with fourth and despite losing his rear brakes two miles from the finish, DuVall pushed his way to a top-five in the final test to secure third-overall for the day.
Thad DuVall: “I wanted to get into a good groove early on because I usually struggle to find my speed in the tight stuff but I feel like I came in a little more prepared this year. I had some pretty good tests close to the top guys and this is like their back yard, so any time I’m close to them I feel like I’m riding pretty good. I’m just trying to learn how to go fast again and getting the cobwebs knocked out. I’m happy with third and we’ll go on to the next round in Texas.”
Next Race: Round 9 (finale) – Caprock Canyon National – November 15, 2020
Gobbler Getter National Enduro Results
NE Pro1 Results
1. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)
2. Grant Baylor (SHR)
3. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
NE Pro2 Results
1. Cody Barnes (BET)
2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
3. Jonathan Johnson (HON)
NE Pro2 Championship Standings*
1. Cody Barnes – 210 points
2. Craig DeLong, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team – 191 points
3. Vincent Smith – 133 points
*above point standings do not reflect the “throw-away” rule in the NE Pro2 class