(MAIN) More usually home to the L.A. Lakers, Clippers and Kings, the Staples Center was filled with dirt, boulders and logs to host Endurocross at X Games 17 – and a large crowd loved it. (BELOW LEFT) Taddy Blazusiak celebrates his win. (BOTTOM) A heat race launches from the start ramp.
technical, if you get going too quick or too
crazy, it takes so much out of you. Just try
to pick good lines, ride smooth and don’t
use up too much energy so you’ll have
something toward the end to still push.”
Being consistent when these obstacles
are being thrown at you is tough enough.
But when there are nine other riders out
there – only 10 riders start the main, out of
30 or 40 entries, so just getting to the big
show is an accomplishment – it’s a whole
new game. Often, there’s another rider on
your line, whether he’s moving or stuck.
“You try to hit all the lines in practice,”
says Monster Kawasaki rider Justin Soule of
Victorville, Calif. “First, we walk the course
and try to find the lines we’re going to try to
hit. Hit it first lap, check it out, have it in
your pocket; then try every other line in
case you’re forced o; your main one – it’s
100 percent that you will be. It’s going to
happen.” And when it does, it doesn’t mean
a few tenths o; your lap time; it can be the
70 OCTOBER 2011 RACER.com
di;erence between a nicely sloped rock face
leading up and over the big log...or a big,
flat-faced boulder blocking your path.
“You don’t panic, you just try to be
calm and methodically pick your line,
commit yourself to it and don’t be
hesitant,” Soule continues. “The minute
you hesitate, you’ll crash or get stuck.
You’ve got to keep the momentum going.”
The “ooooh” and “ohhhh” moments
are going to come, but it’s the rider who
moves beyond them quickly who’ll win.
At the X Games, Poland’s Taddy Blazusiak
had to get his KTM into the final via the
last-chance qualifier, then come from
behind to claim the gold medal.
“Everybody here has the will to win,”
adds Soule. “It’s all about not giving up.
You might get a bad start, see nine guys
ahead of you, but you never give up. Every
lap, you have to keep on charging.”
Keep on charging, but be consistent;
choose the right line; have a plan “B”; stay
out of trouble. And if it all adds up, the
“oooohs” and “ohhhhs” of the fans might
just turn into cheers for your victory.
2011 AMA GEICO
presented by Lucas Oil, concludes in
Las Vegas, Nov. 19. For tickets, TV and
more, check out endurocross.com.
WATCH IT, EXPERIENCE IT
Endurocross in the limelight at X Games 17
Endurocross is still catching
on in the U.S. Despite a lot of
factory support, it isn’t up
there with Supercross or pro
motocross yet. But its debut
on extreme sport’s biggest
stage, the 17th ESPN X
Games, may change that.
GEICO AMA Endurocross,
presented by Lucas Oil, played
in front of a large crowd at
Los Angeles’ Staples Center
and the audience responded
“I invited the X Games to
Endurocross and they were
blown away with how
spectacular it was,” says Eric
Perronard, the father of the
sport in the U.S. “We already
have a successful U.S.
championship, but no single
race has been under such a
light. It is a validation and I feel
pretty good about that.”
The course wasn’t exactly
like the others the riders will
face for the remainder of the
season, but included the same
elements. “We have different
kinds of tracks every race,”
says winner Taddy Blazusiak, a
two-time Endurocross champ.
“This was more like the
European tracks, more spread
out. You could hit stuff faster,
and that suits my style better.”
Faster or not, the crowd
seemed to love it, and the
riders were happy to be there.
“This will bring a lot of
extra interest in Endurocross,”
says two-time Junior Pro
Champion Colton Haaker. “It’s
awesome for the sport and for
off-road racing in general.”