American Mike Brown and Spanish rider Laia Sanz both struck EnduroCross gold at the Barcelona X-Games on Saturday night while American Maria Forsberg finished second in the women’s event to give KTM a good haul in this event in the city’s Olympic Stadium.
Brown fought a wheel on wheel battle with KTM factory rider Taddy Blazusiak but in the final lap, Taddy hit a gnarly spot going over the logs and crashed over the handlebars leaving his 41-year old veteran teammate to take the prize.
Brown grabbed the holeshot and immediately began the tussle with his fellow KTM factory rider that reached its peak in the final lap and only end with Taddy’s crash. But even then it was still a tight finish for Brown who stumbled in the rocks. Momentarily stranded with his back wheel spinning, Brown almost saw Colton Haaker snatch the gold but was able to fend him off in a tight finish at the flag. American Cody Webb took the bronze medal and Blazusiak, always up with the leaders, came away fourth
“That’s what you call a good race,” Brown said. “It’s hard to get a start like that and beat Taddy and lead in front of him. I had arm problems from probably lap 5 on but was just like, I can do it, I can do it, one more lap and then another lap and another lap. I just kept my head cool and then my last lap I relaxed too much and got stuck in the rocks. I’m just glad to be here and have a gold medal again.”
While leaving without a medal Taddy said he still had good speed. “I was happy with my speed and I was having a great battle with Browny but I hit a gnarly patch over the logs and had to jump off the bike,” Taddy said after the event. He had some pain in his wrist from the crash and said he would have it checked by his doctors on Sunday.
KTM factory rider Jonny Walker was also on the track after a longer break recovering from glandular fever. He qualified for the final in a heat that saw him get tangled at the start and fight his way back from dead last to fifth. He didn’t get away well in the final and also crashed, finally finishing in eleventh place.
Walker said it had been a tough race: “A bad start didn’t help on a track that was mega fast and very one lined. I fought as hard as I could but a couple of mistakes put me back to 11th overall. It was a big experience to race EnduroCross outdoors but I know what I needed to work on now. I can only get better!!”
Sanz unbeatable in the Women’s final
Spanish rider Laia Sanz, who recently switched to a KTM was in a class of her won in the women’s final. The Enduro and Dakar Rally rider looked nothing but confident as she charged the obstacles to the thrill of the Spanish crowd. Even a pileup in the first corner that saw her trailing at the back of the field failed to deter her spirit as she went on to comfortably defend the gold medal she won at the Brazil X-Games in April.
Sanz won by a stunning 12 seconds over KTM factory rider and double X-Games gold medalist American Maria Forsberg. Sandra Gómez Cantero of Spain took the bronze medal. Sanz now flies to Portugal to compete in the Women’s FIM Enduro World Championships in Torres Vedras on Sunday. She leads the points in this competition and sacrificed racing in Saturday’s round three of the women’s championship to appear in Barcelona.
Elite EnduroCross riders will have their next chance to go for gold at the X-Games Summer Games in Munich Germany June 27-30, 2013.
Men’s Enduro X-Final Round 4 in Barcelona, Spain
1, Mike Brown, United States of America, 10:59.579
2, Colton Haaker, United States of America, 11:01.417
3, Cody Webb, United States of America, 11:14.456
4, Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM, 11:22.695
5, Cory Graffunder, Canada, 11:24.988
11, Jonny Walker, Great Britain, KTM, 11:59.656
Women’s Enduro X-Final Round 4 in Barcelona, Spain
1, Laia Sanz, Spain, KTM, 8:32.687
2, Maria Forsberg, United States of America, KTM, 8:44.218
3, Sandra Gómez Cantero, Spain, 8:56.472
4, Tarah Gieger, Puerto Rico, KTM, 9:18.566
5, Kacy Martinez, United States of America, KTM, 9:18.678