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Off-Road | 10/29/2012
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soulé Nears the Podium at Boise EnduroCross
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soulé Nears the Podium at Boise EnduroCross
Irvine, Calif. (October 29, 2012) – Round 7 of the AMA EnduroCross Series featured the largest and most difficult course of the season at the Idaho Center in Boise, Idaho on Saturday. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Justin Soulé showed heart and determination by recovering from last place to finish fourth at the end of the main event. Soulé led every lap of his semi to transfer to the main event and did not let a first lap crash keep him from challenging for the podium in the main event. Teammate Taylor Robert qualified with the fourth-fastest hot lap, but fell victim to the treacherous course and could not transfer to the main event. Making his return from injury, Bobby Garrison showed impressive speed on his KX™250F to win his day qualifier. In the night show, Garrison finished just behind Robert, also missing the main event.
Smooth and Consistent
Soulé has been a podium contender every weekend since his return from injury and once again flirted with the top-three. Excited about the technical course, he went out for his qualifying hot lap and put in his best effort of the season, setting the fifth fastest lap time. In his heat race, Soulé just missed out on a direct transfer position by finishing third. In the Semi, he grabbed an unchallenged holeshot on his KX250F and confidently led every lap to take the win and transfer to the main event. Forced to start from the outside, Soulé managed to round the first turn in fourth, but before the end of the first lap he got crossed up in the slippery log-matrix falling to the back of the field. Keeping a cool head, he meticulously started putting down fast laps and picking off riders. In the closing laps, Soulé reeled in the fourth-place rider and executed a textbook pass through the rock turn to take over a position and cross the finish in fourth. With one round remaining and double points available, Soulé is looking to crack the top-five in the championship standings.

“I had my work cut out for me tonight,” said Soulé. “I truly used all 12 laps of that main event and could have used a few more to get on the podium. I bumped some handlebars along the way and was happy to come from so far behind. It’s so hard to be mistake-free and that’s what it takes to win. The track was mentally and physically tough, which made for some great racing.”
Going For It
Robert came ready to race in Boise though he was bruised and sore from a training incident. Despite the injuries, Robert set the fourth-fastest hot lap and knew his speed was on point to contend for the top of the podium in Boise. Although having the front wheel wedged in the rocks, or tiptoeing through the firewood are regular occurrences each lap, these small mistakes added up and ultimately cost Robert from the main event on Saturday. After narrowly missing the transfer position in his heat and semi races, he had one final chance in the LCQ. He ran in a qualifying position briefly before tipping over in the firewood, which left Robert with one lap to make up that position. He chased down the rider in front of him and with one last-ditch effort, Robert tried to make an aggressive pass in the matrix before the finish line. The WORCS Champion tried to power through the matrix, but his aggression cost him time and he came up short. With double points on the line at the final round in Las Vegas, Robert has two more chances to put his KX250F on top of the podium.

“I felt really good after my hot lap,” said Robert. “I was fourth fastest, but felt I had even more in the tank. Unfortunately things didn’t quite pan out how I wanted. I tried to get a little tricky on the last lap of the LCQ to make the main, but ended up looping-out on the slippery logs. It’s a bummer because I had made every main event this season and was sitting in second in the points. The track was by far the hardest course we’ve had this year and it took its toll on us.”
Stronger and Faster
Lingering injuries from WORCS had plagued Garrison’s EnduroCross season, but he returned to racing stronger than he had felt in months. Being outside the top-20 in points, he was forced to qualify through the day qualifiers, but Garrison took it as extra time on the track. He easily won his qualifier and went on to set the ninth-fastest hot lap after sitting on the pole for the first half of the session. Garrison had no problem keeping up with the leaders, but missing a few rounds cost him on his consistency. Racing an EnduroCross course and putting in clean laps is no easy feat and takes time to dial in. Garrison made improvements throughout the evening and was happy with his progress towards the final round in Las Vegas.

“It was a long day for me,” said Garrison. “We found out Saturday morning that I was tied for 20th in the points standings, which meant I had to qualify through the day qualifiers. This was actually a blessing because it gave me an opportunity to shake the cobwebs out and get a couple gate-drops in before the night show. I’m really happy with where we’re at and I know what I need to work on before Vegas. I really enjoyed the track. More technical tracks seem to open up more lines and it makes it more exciting when the entire field is struggling.”
The Track
With the largest floor space of the season to work with, the course created at the Idaho Center was unlike any seen this year. While none of the obstacles were out of the ordinary, they were extra large and grueling. Two sections that stood out were the rock turn and the firewood section. Instead of the usual rock turn comprised of smaller, loose rocks, the course had large boulders with many exposed holes, and the traditional firewood section of chopped wood contained massive wood stumps.

“There’s usually one really tough section on the course,” said Robert. “But this course had four or five really tough sections. There was really no time to rest or relax on the track as each section led into an even gnarlier one. On top of that, the sections that followed the water hole became soaking wet, which made them slippery and very unpredictable.”
Many riders look to bicycles as their main source for cross-training when not on the motorcycle. During the two-week break before the final round of the season, Soulé and Garrison will be competing in a 12-hour endurance mountain bike race together in Temecula, Calif. Many aspects of mountain biking transfer to riding off road and also allow the riders an opportunity to be competitive and have some fun.
Bench Racing
The EnduroCross pits are always a blast for both fans and riders. Competitors spend the day joking around with each other and leave the racing on the track. Following each round, most of the racing community will get together to share some laughs and bench race about the past and present. Following Boise, nearly the entire pits were invited to a local racer’s private barn, that has been renovated into a bar and dancehall, where everyone celebrated another successful round.
Double Points
The eighth and final round of the EnduroCross Series will feature a unique format. The night program will have two separate main events, awarding full points and purse for each main. This not only creates added excitement for the final round, but also gives the riders an extra opportunity to shake up the points standings. Round 8 takes place November 17, 2012 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
AMA EnduroCross Series – Round 7
Idaho Center – Boise, Idaho
October 27, 2012

EX Pro Results

1. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM
2. Cody Webb, Watsonville, Calif., Beta
3. Cory Graffunder, Vavenby, B.C., Husqvarna

5. Kyle Redmond, Lake Hughes, Calif., Hussqvarna
6. Geoff Aaron, Bailey, Colo., Honda

8. Bobby Prochnau, Savona, B.C., KTM

10. Jamie Lanza, Calimesa, Calif., Honda

EX Pro Points Standings

1. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM, 189
3. Cody Webb, Watsonville, Calif., Honda, 129
4. Mike Brown, Bluff City, Tenn., KTM, 114
5. Cory Graffunder, Vanvenby, BC, Canada, Husquavarna, 105

8. Kyle Redmond, Lake Hughes, Calif., Husquavarna, 89
9. Geoff Aaron, Bailey, Colo., Honda, 75
10. Kevin Rookstool, Klamfath Falls, Oregon, Honda, 71
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