Salt Lake City, UT –  Team FactoryONE Sherco descended upon Salt Lake City to take on round one of the AMA EnduroCross at the Maverick Center this past weekend. Spirits were high and the pilots were ready. It would be mixed emotions for Cody Webb, Cooper Abbott and Louise Forsley as the night concluded.

The SE 250 of Forsley and the SEF 300’s of Webb and Abbott
Photo courtesy of Diahann Tanke

The evening festivities commenced with a hot lap by the EX Pro class to determine gate pick for moto one. Cody Webb would finish just three one-hundredths of a second behind winner Taddy Błażusiak of Poland. His FactoryONE teammate Cooper Abbott would finish just behind Cody with the third gate pick.

As the gate dropped on moto one, Cody and Cooper were at the front of the pack. It was Webb who was in an elbow to elbow battle into the rock garden with Błażusiak and Trystan Hart. Abbott got pushed out in the first turn by a few competitors leaving him to battle hard from near the back end of the pack. The leading trio seemed to be settling in when misfortune came the way of Webb. He was forced to pull off the track just before hitting the timing stripe for 3 full laps. Cooper was clawing his way back from almost dead last to eighth place where he would ultimately finish the moto.

Cody Webb Leading Jonny Walker  
Photo courtesy of Diahann Tanke

Moto two saw Abbott as the first bike at the entry of the rock garden, but a tangle with Nick Thompson pushed him back to seventh upon exit. He rode hard each successive lap, steadily passing his way into a podium position. That is where he would finish the moto behind Hart and Błażusiak. From here, he knew what he had to do in moto three in order to secure an overall podium position on the night, or at least he thought.

Cooper Abbott P3 in Moto Two
Photo courtesy of Jack Jaxson

Based on the live timing on the official app, Abbott would only have to finish ahead of South African Blake Gutzeit. Abbott got a mid pack start at the gate drop of moto three, and like previous moto’s, he would make his way past riders. He was focused on the position of Gutzeit, who was trailing Abbott, all while riding a smooth race. He settled into a p4 position at the halfway point of the moto and chose not to try to aggressively pass Cory Graffunder knowing that the consequences could be dire if the pair went down. After the moto ended, Abbott staged himself for the podium but race officials told him he was actually fourth. The officials had not communicated prior to moto three that there were errors with the app due to a technical issue and thus, Abbott actually needed to make the pass on Graffunder.  He would have to settle for the p4 final.

“I thought I had that final podium spot by finishing ahead of Blake (Gutzeit) in moto three, but it is what it is,” Said Cooper Abbott. “I showed I had the speed to be in the mix for a podium position. Some close calls early in the moto’s where guys got into me forced me to push, but I rode clean and made my way forward.” Continued Abbott. “Good clean starts are key as you could see in moto two, where even though I got slammed into pretty hard coming to turn one just before the rocks, I managed to ride fast and up front. All in all, I am OK with the result, but I am already looking forward to round two in Oregon.”

Cooper Abbott in Action in Moto Three
Photo courtesy of Diahann Tanke

The EX Pro Women would see FactoryONE Sherco’s Louise Forsley on the top step of the podium. She was in a p4 position at the gate drop heading into the rock garden, but she quickly made her way into second place just off of the rear wheel of leader Shelby Turner. The pair stayed wheel to wheel until Turner made a mistake in the Matrix near the end of lap two, allowing Forsley to make the pass into first. Consistent and error free laps would see her begin to open a wide margin over Turner and Rachel Gutish. The course workers had altered the entry to the tire stack from the mornings practice and qualifying sessions for the night show. This is where Forsley shined as she was the only one that was able to consistently “clean” the obstacle. Her gap had widened to about 25 seconds when she had her only mistake of the final. In the log pile, of which she admitted was giving her fits all day, she stuffed her front wheel into the exit log and stalled. Staying calm, she was able to quickly refire and get through finishing 15 seconds ahead of Gutish, and 35 ahead of Turner. Hallie Marks of Inside Enduro Sherco would finish p4.

Forsley on the Tire Stack
Photo courtesy of Diahann Tanke

“I am so happy with the result,” Said Forsley. “I had a smooth and steady final. I was so happy with my riding. My SE 250 Factory was flawless and I was able to put in consistent laps on it.” Continued Forsley. “They changed the entry of the tire stack after our morning practice. That seemed to play in my favor. I relied on all of my trials training to get me up and over without issue. I am looking forward to round two in hopes of keeping this momentum going.”

EX Pro Women Podium
Photo courtesy of Jack Jaxson

Of note, Agus Pascal of Sherco Enduro Racing, a FactoryONE supported team, would take home p1 honors in the intermediate class.

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About FactoryONE Sherco: FactoryONE Sherco is a multi-time United States AMA championship observed trials team and multi-discipline Championship enduro team led by some of the top riders in the business. The Enduro team is led By Cody Webb who is a multi-time champion that competes in Extreme Off-Road, EnduroCross and FIM SuperEnduro. He is also the 2010 AMA Mototrials Champion. The Trials team is led by 13x AMA Champion Pat Smage (Smah-gee) on the men’s side; and 6x AMA Champion Louise Forsley (fours-lee) on the Women’s side. The trials team consists of four professional riders and two development riders.