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Race Report: ECEA Round 1: Tri-County Enduro

WER Rider: Zack Huberty

Bike: KTM 200 XC

Result: A-200 5th

 

            This year, I am proud to announce that I will be running WER suspension in the ECEA Enduro Series in the A-200 Class.  Last year, I talked to Drew Smith about getting some suspension work done, but could not do it at the time.  At the banquet this year, I was fortunate enough to talk to Drew again at the Torc1Racing booth where we talked further about my season and what I was looking for suspension wise.  After talking at the banquet, a few phone calls, and emails, we figured out a good plan for me that would use the WER suspension.  Suspension has always been a mystery to me and it is tricky to tune to at different race tracks.  I have never tested too much with suspension and have pretty much just adjusted things when I thought it may help.  I have never really had a suspension set-up that I felt worked great in multiple riding conditions.  Last year, I struggled in the loose rock races where it was hard to get traction and track in a straight line.  I am going to change that this year with the help of WER suspension and Drew’s expertise.  The reassuring thing about Drew Smith, who does the suspension work, is that he rides the ECEA enduros and knows what the riding conditions are like.

 

Report: 

            This past weekend, the first round of the East Coast Enduro Series took place in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey and was held by Tri-County.  The week before the first enduro, I was off college and was able to put together our practice and race bike.  I had hoped to get some riding in during that week but we had two days of heavy rain.  Our club trail even got 18 inches of snow which meant no riding for me.  I had to stick to breaking in new bikes up and down the street which is tough in a residential area (luckily my neighbors like me).  Then on Saturday morning, we took some photos of the new bike and I.  Throughout the day, I also packed all of our gear, ran errands and prepped our race bikes. 

            I tried to get to bed at a reasonable time but the pre-race jitters kept me up.  And with the clocks rolling forward, it left me with about 5 hours of asleep.  I woke up at 5AM, loaded the bikes and gear, and my dad and I headed from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.  It is only an hour and half drive but it makes for a tough morning.  We arrived at the race around 7AM which gave me an hour to pick up my scorecard, number, and to get dressed.  I was row 25C along with AA rider Jarod Kulp and A-4stroke lite rider Bobby Kershaw.  We all rolled up to the staging deck at 8:24 and left at the beginning of the next minute.  Because of the new bike and little time on it, I had to quickly figure out how it rode.  Each bike seems to be a little different and this one was different from my other KTM 200 XC.  We rode a nice warm-up of a 1 mile section before things got serious.  At the first section, I had to quickly learn to ride again.  I rode alright but was nowhere near the pace I could run last year.  After the first section, I knew it would be a long day.  I was tired, sore, and out of shape after just a little bit of riding.  I knew I was unprepared and I had to face the reality.

            Throughout the next couple sections, I tried to focus on getting used to my new bike instead of worrying about my results.  The bike was good suspension wise, but it was running rich and fat on top.  The clutch also was considerably grabbier and seemed to release at a point closer to the bar which was different from my other bike.  It also seemed to stall in the tight stuff because of the grabby clutch and idle not being high enough.  I am hoping to fix these few problems by next race but I also know the clutch is being a little grabbier than usual because of the new plates.  By the middle of the race, I was starting to feel more comfortable on the bike but my seat that I was trying out was unforgiving on my butt.  This forced me to stand-up which is not my favored riding style when cruising in flowing sections with nice berms.  I was able to cruise in two of the middle sections that allowed me to show my speed.  By the last two sections of the day, I was exhausted with the day and just had no energy.  My fitness was nowhere where it should have been and every muscle used in racing was sore.  Not only was I sore and tired, but I was sick to my stomach the last half of the race.

            Although it was a tough race for me, I was able to finish.  This race was a big learning experience for myself, and I now know where I need to go from here.  I was happy at the race with how well my Kenda Millville tires hooked up in the mud and sandy trail.  It provided constant traction and got me through deep mud.  Also, my DT-1 filter kept the water and sand out of my air box in the deep water crossings.  At the end of the day, I placed 5th place but to me, the placing does not matter that much for right now.  From last year, I know I have the speed and control to keep with the A-riders in the A-200 class but I cannot make huge leaps in just a day.  For the next race, which is next weekend, I have a few personal goals I would like to accomplish.  I need to raise my level of fitness this week in order to be able to ride at a good level.  I want to fix the stalling problems and adjust the clutch lever to help me out.  I also hope to adjust the suspension because the upcoming race is notorious for whoops.  I hope to come into the next race energized and excited to race.  We will see how I do and until then, thanks for reading my blog.

            And last but not least, I would like to thank my family and 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.

 

For more information:

Check WER Suspension out at Facebook “Works Enduro Rider (WER)”

Check Zack Huberty out at Facebook “Zack’s Racing”