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Endurocross Racing Finals at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada

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Taddy Blazusiak
Taddy Blazusiak
Traditionally outdoors, Enduro racing has always been a huge part of motorcycle racing. A grueling test of man and machine the challenging off-road courses go over, through and around some of the most challenging natural obstacles this planet has to offer.
Orleans Arena Endurocross Track in Las Vegas
Orleans Arena Endurocross Track in Las Vegas
This is done over hundreds of miles in some of the most remote places. Most of the challenges riders face in enduro riding would be hard to traverse by foot and they have to do it with a 200 pound machine.

This style of racing never hit the USA as hard as it did in 2004 when Eric Peronnard, a long time motorcycle promoter invented a new style of racing called Endurocross. He took the hardest most spectacular aspects of enduro and fit them all into a basketball arena. The race is formatted motocross style with riders running laps. Most of the battles in traditional enduro racing happen in woods cliffs or rivers hundreds of miles out of site from spectators. Racers put their lives on the line to compete when only other racers and forest creatures are there to bear witness. With Endurocross these same diehard racers battle it out only this time with manmade obstacles that resemble booby traps and over 10,000 screaming spectators.
Yamaha YZ250 at Endurocross Las Vegas Finals
Yamaha YZ250 at Endurocross Las Vegas Finals


As an advanced trail rider, I, K&N employee and intermediate motocross racer Justin Rastegar, thought it would be a great idea to run the amateur open. The amateur support class is part of the series and takes place at every event before the pros run the race. It is on exactly the same torturous course that the pros run, the only difference is it's against amateur level riders making for a very entertaining venue.
Endurocross Track Pond
Endurocross Track Pond
Working at a desk all day and going home to hide behind a TV gave me the false sense of self confidence to say those famous last words "that looks easy." Next thing I knew I was loading up the moto van with my good friend and fellow racer to drive out to the last event in the series the Las Vegas finals. I packed up my Yamaha YZ250 a two stroke bike and my K&N performance filter and shoved off.

When I arrived the dark cold Vegas weather foreshadowed what I was about to see at the 8 am riders meeting and track walk. As I walked the track for the first time I highly doubted my ability to even complete one lap around the arena that was more reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie than a motocross track.
Justin Soule
Justin Soule
It didn't help that I had not slept a wink the night before, as I suited up my motocross protective gear the wrong way. All I could think about is how I was going make it through the course without damaging my bike or more importantly myself. Typical features on the Endurocross tracks are logs, tractor tires, sand, ponds and rocks (which look much smaller on TV).
Devin Davis taking moving past the tractor tires
Devin Davis taking moving past the tractor tires
I was most concerned with getting over the logs and the tractor tires since I had never done either and the tractor tires stood around 10 feet in the air and had portions of vertical angle. 5 minutes and two laps later, after practice I had a totally different take on the difficulty of the course. The tires were the easiest feature on the course, while they were mentally challenging the bike got 100% traction and climbed them with ease. The rocks were not as bad as I thought although on my first lap around I heard my name boom through the stadium over the loud speaker and in my moment of self gloating I dropped the bike in the rocks just as the spot light crested my helmet. It took all of my strength to get the bike out of the rocks because once you lose your momentum they turn into a real problem.
Colton Haaker
Colton Haaker


The real challenge of the race came in a feature that the race promoters dubbed the matrix. Getting stuck in the matrix was worse than anything Keanu Reeves had to put up with, it was pure torture. The Matrix is a series of sequoia logs placed a bike length apart from one another so once you are completely over the first one your font tire is hitting the second one and making you stuck. Unless you can skim the top of these you are inevitably going to get stuck or be uncontrollably launched from your bike onto a bed of logs something I had the pleasure of experiencing.
Ty Davis battling tractor tires
Ty Davis battling tractor tires


I finished 5 out of nine in my timed practice giving me the fifth best pick in qualifying heat. Luckily they only used my fastest lap because I spent most of my five minutes underneath my bike in the big rock section. I had beaten my friend Keaton my .55 of a second letting me get one better gate pick than him. In my qualifier I was second into the first turn and held this position all the way until I hit the matrix where I fell back to fifth. Once I got out of that wonderful section I quickly caught up to fourth place where I watched him get cock-eyed over a log and crack two ribs on an adjacent log. His misery put me in fourth which I held onto for 3 of the toughest laps I have ever done in my life. It was the first time ever in my life that looking at a dirt bike made me physically sick. Only 1 and 2 place progressed onto the main event so I was out until the last chance qualifier.

Even though I didn't end up qualifying I was not disappointed in myself finishing the race was enough for me. The whole experience was very humbling it took me back to when I first started riding when everything was a extreme challenge. When I staid to watch the pros I felt exponentially better as the best in the world faced similar challenges to me getting stuck on the rocks and in the matrix. Taddy Blazusiak the point's leader had already won the series as he rolled up the start gate. Even though he already had the series in points he ran the race as hard as he could, beating Geoff Aaron the number 2 in points. Both Geoff and Taddy made the track look easier but not effort less. Unlike a motocross race a strong lead doesn't always equate a win. The fact that the entire positioning of the race can change in the last lap of the race is what makes the series so exciting.

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K&N Engineering in Riverside California is the world's leading manufacturer of washable performance air filters and air intake systems. K&N invented the reusable high flow cotton air filter in 1969 and has been perfecting the technology ever since. K&N is a world class filtration company selling air filters, oil filters, and intakes in over 30 countries. K&N sells over 5,000 products designed for cars, trucks, motorcycles, engines, and industrial applications. From their Million Mile Warranty to their Consumer Protection Pledge, K&N stands behind their products and their consumers 100%. The distinctive K&N logo represents performance from one of the original performance companies. For more information, visit knfilters.com.