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Race Report: ECEA Round 9: STER Barbed Wire Enduro
WER Rider: Zack Huberty
Bike: KTM 200 XC
Result: A-200 2nd
Point Standings: 4th  


            Coming into the STER Barbed Wire Enduro, I was feeling anxious to see where I could place.  I added two new elements to my training program that I hoped would better prepare me for the enduros.  I started trying to swim a couple days a week at the local swim club as well as riding at the motocross track one day a week.  Due to lots of rain and a busy work schedule, I wasn’t able to ride at the motocross track before the enduro, so I was worried I would not be prepared.  Instead of riding the week before, I spent most of my time dialing in my bike.  I got our new Kenda Triples on and made some much needed changes to the carb.  On Saturday, we left around 2 to head up to Gillett, PA.  Two hours into our drive, our truck started to shake and rattle as we pulled into a gas station near the Poconos.  Within minutes the engine light came on, and we were on our way back home with a loaded trailer.  By 7, we were on our way back to the race in our F450.  Around 10:30, I took the wheel in order to give my dad some rest from driving.  An hour into the drive, we were getting close to the race and we used to GPS once we got closer.  However, the GPS took us on a tour of neighborhoods, dirt roads, gravel roads, and woods trails that eventually got us to the race site at midnight. 

            I woke up Sunday morning with a stiff back from the hard trailer floor.  I headed to sign-up and got my rider pack.  I was on row 12D with fellow club member and competitor, Pete Wright, along with his brother, Jamie Wright.  I rolled up to the line of the enduro ready to go and took off soon after.  After a nice warm-up, we soon headed into our first check.  This section was part of the warm-up section last year so I was a little surprised that we would be racing it this year.  I surprised myself in this section when I was able to keep with Jamie Wright who has been in the top 15 overall at most races this year.  I followed him the whole section and only got separated from him towards the end when we had to start passing slower riders.  I felt great in this section as it consisted of tight woods trail, flowing woods trail, and some rooty sections.  I dropped a 3 in this section and missed the flip by just a few seconds which was disappointing.  After sitting out the reset, we headed into the next section of the day.  This section is one of my favorites and starts out with a run down a creek bed and a trail through a tunnel.  I enjoy this part as the fans are standing along the creek and tunnel which provides encouragement.  Right after this section, I passed Jamie in a field section where he slid out.  I was able to keep him off of me for a couple miles until he passed me on a big uphill through the woods.  The club let us race down these plowed fire roads that were absolutely awesome.  I continued to follow Jamie and was able to keep him in my sites until the end of the check. 

            The third check of the day started out as a start control.  I tried my best to keep with the group but made two stupid mistakes and fell down in the turns.  I was able to get back into my groove and kept Jamie within my sights.  Slowly he slipped out of my sight, and I decided to run my own pace.  The trail soon broke out into an MX section which I loved.  It featured some field sections which I cruised through and then a couple jumps with bermed corners.  As we made it back into the woods, I bit it really hard on a downed sapling that was hiding under the dust.  As I got up, I noticed that my hand guard had been twisted a full 90 degrees.  As I continued, I got lost twice and missed a corner.  I felt horrible in this section but gained my composure and finished strong.  To my surprise, I only lost a minute in this section to my competitor which isn’t that bad considering my bad crash and getting lost.  On the way back to the gas stop, I lost my focus and tried to trim a corner in a high grass section and ran my leg and knee right into a stump.  With a little leg pain and a completely wrecked hand guard, I rolled into the gas stop with a 30 minute pause.  With the help of Dean Kulp, I put on a new hand guard.  I also lubed the chain and filled up my bike with gas.  I then re-fueled myself and looked the bike over. 

            The second section of the day began with another start control.  This section had to be one of my favorite sections but was also the most technical.  It featured lots of roots, fresh trail, and ruts.  I pushed the whole section and felt in the groove.  I rode within my limits and I was able to put two minutes on one of my competitors but also lost three points to the class leader.  After this section, I faced one of my biggest fears head-on.  I rode around to what they call “The Slide.”  Going into the day and up to that point, I said I was not going to ride the slide which is a huge wall of a hill climb.  Since I was having a good day, I didn’t want to ruin it.  However, with everyone watching and a hyped crowd, I decided to tackle the hill.  I rode down and pulled a wheelie off the ledge and hit the hill in 3rd gear.  The lip at the bottom kicked me up pretty good and once I landed, I dropped the bike into 2nd and climbed my way up the hill.  The hill wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but my Kenda Triple tires definitely helped me out.  We then headed to the second to last section of the day.  It featured a couple fields and some tighter woods.  I continued to flow well through these sections and rode at my level.  However, the dust was a contributing factor and kept me from being able to follow Jamie or Pete. 

            The last section of the day has to be one of my favorite sections which was the same as last year.  This section was pretty dusty and it was tough to pass since the section flowed pretty well and was a one liner.  I let it all hang out in this section and tried to ride my best.  I couldn’t keep with Pete or Jamie but I knew they weren’t that far ahead.  By the end of the section, I saw Pete and Jamie just pulling into the check so they weren’t that far ahead.  At the end of the day, I earned 2nd place which is a big improvement from where I have been.  I am slowly making improvements, and this year, I have made major improvements to the bike.  I cannot thank Drew Smith at WER enough for all he has done.  My suspension is working the best it ever has and it is helping me build confidence on the trail.  Next week we head to the Foggy Mountain Enduro, enjoy! 

Once again, I could not have done all of this without the support of my family, especially my dad for his race support, as well as my sponsors which are Johnny Limp at Torc1Racing, Drew Smith at WER Suspension, PowerSeal USA, FMF, BRP, EKS Brand Goggles, P3, All Balls Racing, Galfer USA, Sixsixone, Kenda, N-Style, Vertex Pistons, AXO, DT-1 Filters, AP Brakes, Motorex, Acerbis, Matto Cycle, MotoConcepts, Renthal, Clockwork KTM, and Topar Racing.  

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