After grabbing his 70th career National Enduro win at the Upton, Wyoming round of the series back in June, eight time National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty pulled himself into contention for the series championship. Lafferty looked to be one step closer to taking the series points lead at the 7th round of the series in Pennsylvania, carrying a 10-second lead heading into the last test but was beat by his championship rival, Steward Baylor, by 12-seconds in that test giving the win to Baylor as well as a bit of a cushion in the standings. We caught up with Mike after the race to get his thoughts on his chances at a ninth title as well as how hard he and Baylor are pushing the pace at the Enduros.
Man, that was a tough way for the race to end. It looked like you had the win in the bag going into the last test.
I had a solid ride throughout the whole day, I made up some time on Stu in the fourth test I think I got him by 16 and I was up by 10 then in the 5th test we tied so I knew going into the last test it was going to be a make-or-break type of thing. I did everything the same, kept it going–I did high side and fell off my bike and had to go back and get it–no excuses though. I rode solid through that whole time and he ended up beating me by 12-seconds so total he ended up getting me by 2 seconds for the whole day. It sucks in the big picture, but for just today it’s not totally bad. It is what it is… Second is better than not being on the podium. He came on strong at the end and ended up pulling it out.
It’s crazy how close you and Steward were today! You guys tied in the first test and then tied again in the 5th test. Is that proof that you two were going just about as fast as possible in those sections?
I felt like I had confidence in the 5th test because I rode this race last year, it was a National, and that 5th test was the AA section from last year. Heck yeah, I didn’t have any problems–just a little bit with a lapper–but with all the stuff that can happen in 9 miles and to really bust my butt and push it as hard as I could I felt like I had an advantage and then for us to tie… It’s like Holy Crap! What the hell? For him, I give him credit for doing what he’s doing you know what I mean? He’s definitely riding well. To tie during a race, especially two sections, it shows we’re pushing it and not far off of each other that’s for sure.
What’s it going to take from here on out to get your ninth title?
Just doing the same thing that we’re doing. Just keeping it solid. Not doing a bunch of changes or anything, I’m just training and riding and keeping our same program. I think it’s going to come down to–yeah, being fast–but mistakes, too. I think that today could’ve been a make or break with just mistakes or falling. We’ve only got three races to go but we’ve got so much time between the last three races. They’ve got to go to Six Days and all kinds of stuff–he’s racing another series. For me, I’ve just got to stay solid. I want to say I need to “step it up” but I really just need to stay consistent. I’m happy where I am. I’m winning tests and I’m pumped on the whole thing. The Husaberg couldn’t be any better. I just want to have a solid month of August doing what we’re doing and just be solid.
How do you feel the last three events suit your style?
Missouri is going to be a little more rocky, sketchy kind of place. It’s not real, real tight, but that place is cool. I don’t want to say it’s a rock run like here on the East Coast but that place is different for sure. It’s got a bit of everything; I’m pumped on that one. I love Indiana, that one is always a tight, hard race. Alabama too, that place is always killer. I’m pumped for the last three. The series has been so good–not that I dislike any of them–but the one I was looking was Wyoming, like, this one is going to be hard, and I ended up winning that one! This one here is one of my favorites for sure, and I don’t want to say that the last three will play into my favor but they’ll be real tight races.
The last race of the year is on Sunday in Alabama. Stu is more than likely going to be racing the GNCC that Saturday then packing up and driving to Alabama. Do you think that’s an advantage for you?
Stu’s what is he, 17? I don’t think that matters for him. It’s going to be tough but who knows, by then things might be different in the GNCC Series where he can skip that one so there’s a lot of variables left for that one. For me, not racing another series is good and it’s bad. I’ve got to stay on top of my game riding other stuff, but at the same time he’s putting it on the line racing that other series, too.
Are we going to see you at any GNCCs this year? You hit up a few last season.
Yeah, maybe towards the end. Husaberg has some new bikes coming out in October so right around the last few it’s definitely a possibility. Going back to a four stroke of some sort. I wouldn’t guarantee it but there’s definitely an option for it.