LOS ANGELES (July 1) — GEICO Honda Endurocross riders Geoff Aaron and Kevin Rookstool showed well Sunday night at the 18th annual X Games, with both men reaching the final of the main event in the Men’s Enduro X class. But in the end, respective finishes of eighth and 10th place left the talented duo feeling unfulfilled.
“I’ve beaten most of these guys before,” Rookstool said of his main event counterparts. “I know I can ride with them. To finish 10th just hurts. I had a better finish in me. I just couldn’t put it together.”
The tight course was made more treacherous before the evening program with the addition of water, which made the various obstacles slicker than they were in the earlier heats. But Aaron, a 10-time U.S. National Trails champion, refused to use that as an excuse.
“We all had to ride on the same course,” said Aaron, who advanced to the final with a second-place finish in his heat race. “Yeah it was tough, probably the toughest course I can remember in this series, but everyone had to deal with it so the bottom line is seven people finished ahead of me.
“The start was crucial. We came down that big ramp right into a hard left u-turn and there just wasn’t enough room for 10 bikes. You ride on that edge of being crazy aggressive or trying to stay upright and fight the longer battle. Some times it works to stay back a bit and other times you have to go for it early.”
Even three-time Endurocross champion Taddy Blazusiak had trouble, crashing several times and finishing off the podium in fourth place.
“It was just hard to make up ground,” said Rookstool, who finished first in the LCQ to earn his spot in the final. “It was so slick that when you had a chance to get on the gas and catch up the rear tire would just spin. Then you were turning sideways and you ended up hurting your position even more. It got gnarly and when guys got hung up in front of you it was hard to even go around them.
“At least we got to participate and it was very cool for the X Games organizers to have us back this year. It’s an awesome feeling to race in front of so many fans and on live TV. Geoff and I got a lot of face time for GEICO and Honda so that’s cool. I just wish we could have put them on the podium. Next year for sure.”
The GEICO Motorcycle Endurocross Series returns to action Sept. 15 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.