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|Taddy Blazusiak enters the boulder section in one of the two main events that led to his 4th consecutive EnduroCross championship.|
For the fourth consecutive year Taddy Blazusiak dominated the Geico EnduroCross Series, winning both main events and the championship Saturday night at the final round in The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Although the data shows two wins with sizeable margins over second place, championship runner-up Cody Webb showed that he will be Blazusiak's toughest challenger in 2013.
Blazusiak came into Vegas with a 52-point lead in the standings but the title wasn't a guarantee until he qualified for the main events. The final round of the 2012 series featured two separate points paying main events instead of one. The course designers saved their toughest layout for the final round with an uphill boulder section that humbled the best. Blazusiak and Webb exchanged the lead twice. The final pass happened in the rocks on lap five and Blazusiak wrapped up the title with the win.
"It feels great," Blazusiak said. "I always say that but I don't really count what number [title] it is. It's unreal, it's a crazy challenge. When you start a new season, when you're going for a championship, it's the best feeling ever and it's the most rewarding thing to win championships when you put so much work into it."
The second final was Blazusiak vs. Webb again. Both riders fell in the boulders on lap three but Blazusiak managed to lead every lap. On the final pass through the rocks he got hung up and Webb was only one second behind. Webb, a full-time AMA trials rider, hoped to get his first win and he pulled a banzai move to get by the stuck champion. Not enough patience and too much throttle sent Webb's bike flying off the rocks and into the next racing lane. He remounted for second place, and second in the points, bettering his fifth overall in 2011.
For Blazusiak, the double victories put his career total at 27. Damon Huffman and David Knight are the next closest in career wins with three each. After completing a perfect season in 2011, Blazusiak won seven of nine in '12. He still dominated but said the wins are not getting easier.
|Four X Games medals in Enduro X and the AMA EnduroCross championships in both the Pro and Women's divisions; it's been a good year for KTM.|
"That's the way it is," he said. "The sport progresses and the bikes are getting better. We've developed a lot of stuff on these bikes. A top ten guy right now would have been a podium guy a couple years back. It's getting harder every year."
X Games winner Mike Brown finished third and fifth in the finals. He was just over a day removed from riding a 283-mile leg of the Baja 1000 event.
Taylor Robert, Justin Soulé, Destry Abbott and Bobby Garrison would have liked better finishes to end the season. The Monster Energy Kawasaki riders were all competing in their final races for the team, which confirmed in October that it was dissolving the racing program after the final EnduroCross race. Robert was second in points coming into the race but he snapped his chain on the first lap of the first main event and finished eighth in the second final. Soulé, the 2011 X Games bronze medalist had a better night with 5-6 finishes. Abbott and Garrison did not make the finals.
|Blazusiak airs out his KTM 350-SX at the final round of the Geico EnduroCross series in Las Vegas.|
The women's division completed their first championship season and Maria Forsberg won the title, capping off a dream season where she also produced an X Games gold medal and a perfect season in GNCC Racing.
The women were allowed to skip the difficult boulder climb on every lap except for the last. Forsberg was in second and third for most of the race and Louise Forsley held a big lead on the final lap. Forsley, a trials champion, got spun around and stuck in the boulders. Then Forsberg came through and crashed into Forsley and pinned her between her bike and the rocks. Forsberg was able to get out first to take her fourth win of the year and the first official women's class title.
"I'm so glad it's over," she said. "It hasn't sunk in yet. I think I might go out and enjoy it."