Arkansas Enduro Series
Round 2 Fayetteville, AR June 22nd, 2019
Fresh off the first BME event in Santa Fe, the YARD crew was joined by Rob Drew for round 2 of the Arkansas Enduro Series. Rich would be focusing on Coach and social media roles this weekend and he rested his ailing knee. After a solid pre-ride, the game plan was set: Keep the mistakes to a minimum and maximize every possible advantage in this one day sprint!
The juniors headed out first and Turtle Boss looked blazing fast through the middle of stage 1! Bryce wasn’t far behind and his lines were on point. Rob made quick work of the rocky start to the stage and laid down a solid run. Stage after stage, the team was solid and Rob, who stepped up to the stacked Pro class, landed a strong fifth place!
With three of the five stages down, Turtle Boss was catching his groove. An early mishap with a spectators hammock gave way to super clean runs and a trip to the “flow state!” Anticipation was high as the final results were tallied.
The emotion ran deep as Turtle Boss was called up to the top step of the podium. Simply being on the box was the main goal of 2019 for this inspiring young man. Snatching a victory this early into the year has provided an amazing sense of accomplishment and ushered in some major confidence!
“It just doesn’t seem real. I tried to focus on my turning technique and make up time where I could. Having that Santa Fe experience really changed how I look at the trails now. I’m just so thankful for everyone that’s helped me get here. I just can’t wait to get to Winter Park!” Austin Johnston
Big Mountain Enduro Series
Round 2 Winter Park, CO ~ July 13th
Round 3 Telluride, CO ~ July 27th
Round 4 Big Sky, MT ~ August 3rd & 4th
Winter Park: This stop was absolutely awesome! The team had their legs under them after Santa Fe and the program was really coming together. After a great Ride Series Clinic on Thursday, it was time to tackle the park stages at this iconic venue. Both Rob and Rich were familiar with what this place has to offer, but the boys were in for a treat. They quickly adapted and the speed started to develop. Friday night manifested into a huge gathering at the YARD compound as the contingent of AR junior riders wrenched on their bikes under the tutelage of ace mechanic Rob. Austin had a breakout day notching a 12th place finish, up from 23rd in Santa Fe.
Telluride: It was time to JOURNEY ON to the longest stretch of the summer. Telluride greeted us with incredible views and amazing weather…until race day. Being setup in the heart of Mountain Village was almost unreal. This one day event would start in the park, then head out into the back country for two of the longest stages we’ve ever experienced. Add to that an 11:00 start and you had the makings of a rough day. Rich laid down an heater to win Stage 1, but the long transition to Stage 2 took longer than expected and he dropped in amidst driving rain and hail. After losing over 60 seconds, he managed to claw back from 5th into 2nd with a great run on Stage 3. The boys weren’t far behind and had some issues to work through including weather and mechanicals. It was a journey and a learning experience for the team.
Moab: Before heading up to Big Sky for Round 4, the crew made its way to Moab to unwind a bit and check out the sights. A trip to Arches National Park was certainly the highlight and the boys got a taste of the local goods with a solid Porcupine ride!
Big Sky: Collectively this might have been the event everyone was most looking forward to. A stop at Yellowstone was a perfect primer for the beauty to come! The venue at Big Sky was top notch and the trails were something out of a comic book; Steep, gnarly, and fast! The Thursday Ride Series Clinic was once again a hit and the team was stoked to get in some pre riding. The variety of the stages was amazing and they truly tested rider and machine. Rich made the game time decision to switch from the incredible Mach 5.5 to the Firebird 29. The speeds were just too much and the stability of the FB29 would prove to be a stark advantage. After some time to connect with the steed on Stage 1, Rich absolutely smashed the remaining five stages with a clean sweep of wins and a nearly 30 second margin of victory and the end of day 2. Not to be outdone, Turtle Boss kept his Switchblade upright the ENTIRE WEEKEND and positioned himself squarely in the top 10 of this stacked Juniors field!
Turtle Boss looking focused and fast! Turtle Boss SMASHES the Junior field for his first ever victory!
Rob Drew overcomes a rough first stage to collect fourth place in Masters. Catching the rider in front of him just as he crashed certainly wasn’t in the plan for Rob. He battled back with solid runs to finish fourth. Rich duked it out all day with local ripper Peter Hanak, coming up just short and taking 2nd. It was also a great weekend for the youngsters as both Bryce and Austin moved up the ranks in the Juniors Division. The Telluride death march!Telluride brought with it some massive transfers and brutal weather. The crew wasn’t quite ready for it and the day was rough. Rich managed a win on Stage 1, but the heavens opened up before he dropped into Stage 2 and major time was lost. A strong performance on Stage three secured a 3rd overall for the day. Both Bryce and Austin had solid days on the technical backcountry stages.
Rich ends the weekend on the top step of the Masters Podium!
“What a weekend! It was such a crazy spectrum of emotion and I’m just so excited with how it played out. Switching to the Firebird 29 on race morning may have been ill advised, but it turned out to be the right tool for the job and I just found that flow state. The tracks were amazing, some of the gnarliest terrain I’ve ridden, and the crowds were so motivating. I’m pumped to head to Aspen to battle for a championship!” The Journey has been incredible!
The YARD family has enjoyed a summer that’s forged lifelong memories and fostered some incredible relationships. Representing Northwest Arkansas in these glorious locales has been nothing short of amazing and the crew is beyond excited to close out this journey in Aspen next week!