A brilliant second loop gives American Beta’s Cody Webb an easy repeat win at the King of the Motos.
American Beta rider Cody Webb dominated the 2014 King of the Motos presented by Trail Tech in Johnson Valley, California, today, defending his 2013 KoM crown in attrition-filled race in which just 25 of the 83 starters finished the full distance. A full 33 of them were done before the second of the two loops in the race even began.
The 25-year-old American Beta rider completed the 63.56-mile course with a total time of 2 hours, 38 minutes and 1 second, averaging 24.11 mph to collect the $5000. Factory KTM rider Taylor Robert finished second after finishing with the quickest time during the first loop in the morning. Husqvarna’s Graham Jarvis, the 2012 King of the Motos Champion, finished third overall after a brilliant second loop.
If Webb’s winning time sounds slow, then consider that the King of the Motos is such an incredibly brutal event that only the most technically proficient off-road riders survive the entire distance, and fewer still manage to thrive. This year’s event was tough on the field, claiming 58 of the event’s 83 starters. A full 23 failed to even make it through the first loop before the allotted time, and only 25 made it all way to the finish
Webb basically sealed the overall win right at the start of the second loop, the brutally tough, rock-strewn canyon known as Chocolate Thunder. Webb was first down the sandy draw that led to the rocks, and he breezed through the tough lower section. By the time he reached the top, he had roughly a four-minute lead.
“The start couldn’t have been any better,” Webb said. “It was actually what I planned. I knew I had to get out front as soon as possible and have no traffic, and then I’d be able to lead right off the bat. It worked to my advantage.”
Webb was able to put the same talent that earned him the 2010 AMA National Trials Championship to good use on the extremely jagged and challenging canyon sections that make the race such a test of endurance despite its short distance. He rallied through places Sledgehammer, Jackhammer and Wrecking Ball.
Webb faced stiff competition from a who’s-who of American off-road racing, including a number of talented factory KTM stars including reigning AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Champion Kailub Russell and Taylor Robert, the top-finishing American at the 2013 International Six Days Enduro. Robert was a factor, as the new factory KTM rider was motivated to improve upon his third-place finish at the 2013, and although he’d had disappointing seventh-place qualifying run derail him, he was determined to stop Webb.
“I started on the fourth row because I had a little mishap in qualifying yesterday, which I was bummed because I had the qualifying course dialed and I think I should have qualified first,” Robert said. “But I wrecked in the qualifier, and then I just went out there and all I wanted to do was get up that first canyon clean because I knew after that it would be kind of faster and then there’s a couple of single-track sections. So I got up the first canyon clean, and I think I got past two guys before I got to the top of that and then there’s a dry lake bed followed by a long, like looped-out two-track road. I couldn’t feel my hands until like 30 minutes into the race. By the end of that fast section I was in second physically, and I could see Cody, so I knew I was on adjusted time I was already in the lead. I kept charging through everything. It got tighter. It was a bunch of technical, rocky single-track stuff and I kept pushing and eventually I caught up to Cody and passed him in the second fast section, and then he followed me until we got to the last downhill that was probably one of the gnarlier downhills out here, and we were both pushing really hard coming down that thing because we both wanted to physically be in the lead. He got me there at the end and got about 10 seconds on me by the time we got to the bottom, and then there was a little more two-track left, and I pushed as hard as I could and finished a few seconds behind him.”
Robert finished 1 minute and 27 seconds ahead of Webb at the end of the first loop, which gave him first pick of the starting positions for the land-rush start that would separate the men from the boys on the second loop. He knew it would be tough to dethrone Webb.
“I’ve been practicing a lot and I’ve been riding a lot of trials and technical stuff, but Cody’s still the man when it comes to that stuff in the United States, so I’m going to try and give him a run for his money,” Robert said.
But Webb got that awesome start and left Robert and the rest of the field in his wake.
“I just rode smart” Webb said. “I got to the gas stop, and then it loops around to the gas again. I had prerun all that, and I was on the gas there. I pitted, and I lost some time there near the end by getting lost. Then I got a flat tire, but I had ridden so perfectly to that point that I built up such a
lead. I only had one major mistake out there.”
The battle for the remaining podium positions was a three-rider battle that included four riders, including Robert, KTM-mounted Kyle Redmond and Johnny Campbell Racing’s Colton Haaker, who was already disqualified from the race after inadvertently missing a check during the morning loop. Robert was able to hold down second place at the finish.
“That start was kind of a cluster,” Robert said. “I came out like fifth or sixth—not as good as I wanted to be. I was trying to keep Cody in my sights for a little bit, but I never even saw him the whole race. Hopefully next year I can get up there on the start and just do my thing and challenge him for the win next year. But the race was good.
Jarvis, who finished fourth in the 1999 FIM World Trials Championship Series, managed to whittle down a five-minute deficit to Webb and salvage a third-place finish.
“I’m in the autumn of my career,” the 38-year-old Jarvis had joked before the start of the race. Afterward, he was less grateful that he had the podium than he was disappointed that the race was “too easy.” “I was in the group with Taylor and Kyle Redmond and Colton Haaker,” Jarvis said. “That ends up slowing you up a bit, to be honest with you, because sometimes they get stuck in front of you. But it was good to ride with them. It was more interesting. The start was confusing, and it cost me a minute or so, but I don’t think it would have made a difference in the results. Nobody was getting really stuck out there. I told [race organizer] Jimmy Lewis he has got to make it harder next year. I’ll only come back if he makes it harder.”
Redmond, finished fourth. Noah Kepple was fifth.
2014 King of the Motos
Johnson Valley OHV
Johnson Valley, CA
Results: February 2, 2014
Rider/First Loop/Second Loop/Total Time
1. Cody Webb 57:35 1:40:26 2:38:01
2. Taylor Robert 56:08 1:44:11 2:40:19
3. Graham Jarvis 1:02:43 1:44:36 2:47:19
4. Kyle Redmond 1:02:17 1:49:02 2:51:19
5. Noah Kepple 1:07:42 2:23:10 3:30:52
6. Mitch Carvolth 1:15:28 2:29:11 3:44:39
7. Kale Elworthy 1:13:03 2:44:19 3:57:12
8.Ty Tremaine 1:11:38 2:46:22 3:58:00
9. Travis Coy 1:10:42 2:47:34 3:58:16
10 . Peter Weiss 1:18:47 2:48:10 4:06:57
11. Justin Morgan 1:15:25 2:54:18 4:09:43
12. Don Boesplfug 1:10:17 3:01:19 4:11:36
13. Mike Aranda 1:20:54 3:09:14 4:30:08
14. Wally Palmer 1:25:17 3:13:42 4:38:59
15. Quinn Wentzel 1:20:07 3:13:46 4:33:53
16. Cory Graffunder 1:05:44 3:15:47 4:21:31
17. Rory Sullivan 1:12:51 3:28:26 4:41:17
18. Jason Matheney 1:15:10 3:35:57 4:51:07
19. Brady Elton 1:20:44 3:47:53 5:08:37
20. Michael Allen 1:30:14 3:49:41
21. Joseph Edsman 1:32:07 3:52:38 5:24:45
22. Erin James 1:42:46 4:08:00 5:50 46
23. Brad Hendry 1:30:01 4:26:18 5:56:19
24. Michael Salsman 1:52:32 4:33:52 6:26:24
25. Steven Foord 1:52:32 4:33:52 6:26:24