The Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Team had a successful start to the 2021 AMA National Enduro Series with a solid performance from NE Pro1 rookie Craig DeLong, who made his debut in the premier class on Sunday with a third-place podium finish in Wedgefield, South Carolina.
Along with frigid temperatures as low as 40 degrees in the morning, the iconic Sumter Enduro presented its usual roughness but overnight rainfall made for near perfect conditions in the sandy terrain. Racing aboard the FX 350 for the first time, DeLong made his eager debut into the NE Pro1 class and he proved his merit amongst the series’ top contenders.
The 2020 NE Pro2 Champion came out swinging in the opening test, clinching second with a strong performance from the start. With a bout of confidence behind him, DeLong went on to secure his first overall test win in the second section, showcasing great speed and control despite the choppy conditions. DeLong was on-track to put forth another great finish in test three but he went down and lost substantial time, finishing fifth in the section. He rode a little more reserved in the fourth test, which also cost him valuable time, logging fourth. With two tests to go, DeLong maintained a solid top-three position in the overall but the NE Pro1 rookie wasn’t about to settle as he finished strong with second and third place finishes, despite a minor setback in test five when he got stuck in a mudhole. With a consistent performance throughout the day’s six tests, DeLong earned himself a spot on the overall podium with an impressive debut into the premier class.
Craig DeLong: “Coming in, I just wanted to be in the mix and be competitive, there are a lot of guys and I didn’t expect a podium but I’ll take it for sure. Right from the get-go, I started off really well and kind of maintained it. I had a couple crashes but other than that it was a pretty solid day.”
Husqvarna Motorcycles-supported riders Evan Smith and Ryder Lafferty started off the season strong, capturing top-five finishes, respectively, in the highly-competitive NE Pro1 division.
Next: Round 2 – April 25 – Forest Hill, Louisiana
Sumter National Enduro Results
NE Pro1 Results
1. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)
2. Grant Baylor (GAS)
3. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
4. Evan Smith (HQV)
5. Ryder Lafferty (HQV)
Overall Championship Standings
1. Steward Baylor Jr., 30 points
2. Grant Baylor, 25 points
3. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 21 points