Registered: Jan 2007
Posted April 4th, 2011 09:32 PM IP
Kudla comes on strong!
By Erek Kudla.
Photo by Dave Earll
T.O. Powersport's Ryan Kudla has had a rocky start to his season; from getting lost at the first round of the Enduro Championship to slamming into an unmarked ditch during the National Hare and Hound Championship. He has finally bounced back to reclaim the top step of the podium at Round 2 of the US Desert Racing Series and, while the Pro points are now tied with Zip-Ty Husky's Nick Burson, he has firm hold of the reins.
Down the start straight Kudla and Burson were neck and neck the entire way! "We were side by side the whole time." Kudla said of the battle "He'd get a few feet ahead then I'd get a few feet ahead and then once we made it to the main trail I was able to edge him out! It was great to finally get a good start out here!" Burson would not let up though piling on the pressure all the way through the lap while keying off Kudla's every move. Just before the second check the trail split and Burson was able to make his move taking the lead but only was able to put 5-10 seconds on Kudla throughout the entire lap. T.O. Powersports/Fasst Co backed Colton Sanders would run a solid 3rd overall until a broken wrist a few weeks earlier took its toll and he had to pull out of the race.
Kudla would gain and then fall back and gain then fall back but was always able to keep within a few seconds of Burson. The lappers definitely started playing a role in the race during lap 2 and 3. Some wouldn't know Burson was coming and he'd have a hard time getting by then they'd be out of the way just enough to let Kudla by also and others would move for Burson with no idea that Kudla was so close holding him up just a second.
On the 3rd Lap both Kudla and Burson pulled into the pits at the exact same time and it was both the dad's racing to get their sons out first! The Kudla's had it down getting out of the pits first while the Burson's were working with a brand new system for the Husky and pulled out just seconds behind Kudla handing over the lead, and fresh air. Now Kudla was able to put his head down and push as hard as he could. Little did he know that Burson would succumb to electrical problems and have to pull into the pits again on the 4th lap letting Kudla stretch his lead out even more. At the finish line he would take home 1st overall, the $400 Pro Purse and take over the points. While still tied Kudla would sit on top as the most recent winner of USDR. Burson was able to keep 2nd overall and salvage some major points staying very securely in the race for the Championship.
On the Expert Row things were just as intense. Michael Allen would get his Total Chaos/MSR Racing YZ 250 out front and put a comfortable gap between him and the rest of the Open Expert field while AS Racing Team Mates Patrick Turner, Anthony Vasquez and Garrett Burnett would be left battling for 2nd. Turner would get out infront of the group with reigning champion Vasquez following and Burnett leading the Lites class. Allen would stretch out a considerable lead on the rest of the open experts putting himself solidly in 3rd overall but on the 3rd lap a flat front tire would all but douse his fire. he had to pull into the pits to change it handing the lead over to Vasquez. Turner had fallen off pace when a blown fork seal would make top speed almost unreachable and holding on just as hard. "I was hauling down a rough straight away and my hand literally flew off the bars!" exclaimed Turner "The front end started swapping hard and I was barely able to get my hand back on. that definitely got my heart pumpin!"
With little pressure from behind Vasquez was able to sail to another Open win, another 3rd overall and opened up a dominating points lead on the rest of the field. Allen was able to stay in 2nd and within 50 points of Vasquez. He is still withing striking distance for the championship but will need to step it up in the coming rounds. Turner made it to the finish in 3rd followed by Eric Gunn in 4th leaving the two tied for points in the championship race with past Champion Erek Kudla finishing 5th open expert in his 1st ride back after breaking the same collar bone twice in 4 months.
Back a little further in the field an old rivalery was heating up again. SCOTT Usa's Dakota Lutge and AS Racing's Steven Lazar have been battling since 2007 in the Kids 1 class and now that they were both finally in Lites Intermediate the battle was on. Lazar would get out the early lead but Lutge was right there. They stayed nose to tail for the entire event, trading positions the first few laps. In the final two laps Lutge decided to play it cool and use his conditioning to his advantage and make his move in the final stretch of the race. He made the pass on the "SCORE" road but it didn't last as Lazar pushed his way back and then in the final corner Lutge went to make an aggressive move on the inside...Only he didn't expect Lazar to hit his brakes as early as he did causing Lutge to run into him losing his balance and falling under the bike while Lazar made it out clean and to the finish line first in class.
(Edited by trac dave)