The much anticipated debut of Enduro X did not disappoint. Set inside the Staples Center, the course featured obstacles that were seemingly impossible to race upon. Yet the international field of veterans and newcomers attacked the course with sadomasochistic glee. Over 200 full-sized logs combined with dirt, gravel, boulders, water pits, tractor tires, and “The Matterhorn,” not only tested the riders but gave them no place to rest during the grueling 10 lap race. The Monster Energy Enduro team includes desert racing mainstay Destry Abbott, WORCS Champion Justin Soule, and Endurocross standout Taylor Robert.
All three riders made it to the final where the battle was fierce. The race started off with the entire field finally making it cleanly through the fist turn. Once on the track the drama unfolded, with lots of passing, crashing, and riders going over the bars. Soule had a bad start and had to pick his way through the field. Destry Abbott ended up last through the first turn and would have to battle for every position. Taylor Robert had a good start jumping to 3rd right away but got hung up on the rocks where you could see the frustration set in. During his heat race, Taylor had been taken out in the first corner and was knocked back to ninth, but he put on a clinic going from 9th to 2nd in one of the most exciting heat races of the night. It seemed he used up all of his mojo during the heat races because Taylor got frustrated and started making multiple mistakes. Soule owned the boulder sections passing Joachim Ljunggren with ease in the roughest most technical area of the course. Soule made a charge and momentarily challenged Mike Brown for 2nd, but was caught up behind a lapped rider and was slowed down. Ljunggren was able to get back in front of Soule for a few laps, but in the end young Justin Soule battled his way back to bronze with his teammates right behind him in 6th and 9th.
“It was an honor being chosen to compete at X-Games. This was a big step forward for Endurocross. It was a lot of pressure, we’re used to racing in a desert. The crowd, camera and lights were a little crazy, but I am just stoked to be involved and come away with a medal. I am coming for the gold next year!” stated the confident Soule.
3rd Justin Soule
6th Destry Abbott
9th Taylor Robert
Words by Matt Martelli
Photos by Steve Cox