We’re less than 24 hours from the start of the 2016 Rattlesnake National Enduro in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania. In 2014, the Rattlesnake round saw a new winner, Jesse Groemm. Will we see a new winner in 2015 or will it be a repeat winner?
FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell has been on a roll recently in the National Enduro Series after taking his first win in Missouri and then following that up with the win in Wyoming. Unlike the other riders in the Pro class, Kailub Russell has never raced at the Rattlesnake. How will Russell do in the technical rocks of PA? Lately, Russell has been taking a page out of Charlie Mullins’ book by getting a big lead in the first few sections and then safely winning the races with that gap. Teammate, Russell Bobbitt, has always been strong at Rattlesnake and even took the overall win from a later row in 2013.
Can Russell make it three wins in a row? Photo by Shan Moore
You can count on Factory Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong to be a front-runner this weekend. Coming off an okay ride in Wyoming after injuring his wrist days before, DeLong will be a hot contender for the overall win. Teammate, Josh Strang, should also be returning to the series after a shoulder injury.
2014 overall winner, Jesse Groemm, could be a threat this weekend aboard his Beta 300 RR. The New Jersey native claimed his first overall win here last year and has excelled in the rockier races this season. Despite a concussion earlier this year, Groemm seems to be picking up speed and comfort as the season progresses. Groemm’s teammate, Cory Buttrick, logged his best career finish aboard his Beta in Wyoming taking fourth overall.
Jesse Groemm took the overall win in 2014 at the Rattlesnake. Photo by Eric Waltz
Out of AmPro Yamaha, Grant Baylor, Brad Bakken, and Daniel Milner will all be strong contenders for the win. Bakken generally likes the tighter terrain and Milner just beat Russell at the Indiana Full Gas Sprint Enduro.
Returning to the series this weekend is AirGroup Husqvarna’s Nick Fahringer. Fahringer has been on a long road of recovery and it will be interesting to see where he stands this season. A lot can happen taking that much time off with an injury and this year’s pace has only increased further. Top 5? 10? Time will tell.
We can’t forget MotoTech KTM’s Stu Baylor, who generally excels at the Rattlensnake; we wouldn’t be surprised to see him running a trials tire here either. A few of the wild cards that you can watch are KTM support rider, Broc Hepler, who was blazing fast last year in the grass track before ripping his chain guide off of his Yamaha. Depending on the length of the grass track this year, we could see Hepler win the first test. Winner of Tough Like RORR, Tegan Temple, will also be strong for a top 15 overall ride. Temple has been on a roll recently. Watch out for Drew Higgins, Ryder Lafferty, Craig DeLong, Jeff Pasqua, Justin Sode, and Kyle McDonal, they are all top 10 guys.
The final section each year is always a ball-buster and could name this year’s overall winner. The final section usually consists of tough, snotty, rocky trail for ten miles with tons of downed logs in the trail. The local AA and A riders often excel in this section and you’ll see some top 15 times by names you normally don’t see.
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