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Red Bull Last Man Standing

Polish Knightmare

First-timer Taddy Blazusiak claims victory and American Geoff Aaron is only other finisher.

Bulcher, Texas (December 8, 2007) – Twenty-four-year-old Taddy Blazusiak from Krakow, Poland, has dethroned two-time winner David Knight at Red Bull Last Man Standing. The KTM rider captured the daytime lap as well as the night lap. Ten-time national trials champion Geoff Aaron, from Bailey, Colorado, was the only other rider to finish both 40-mile laps at the Red River Motorcycle Trails course on the Texas/Oklahoma border.

Of the 100 starters, only Knight and Aaron joined Blazusiak in blasting off the starting line for the night race, meaning 97 riders failed to finish the first lap within one hour of the Polish rider. This year’s edition was run in chilly, overcast conditions before more than 2,500 spectators, making it the highest-attended sporting event in the history of Bulcher.

“This was a very tough race and my bike worked perfectly,” said Blazusiak, who completed the night lap in 3:37:54.. “The organizers did a great job with the course. You hit something difficult and have no time to relax afterwards. Last Man Standing and Erzberg are very similar and very physical. David and I were riding against each other in the first lap, and again in the second lap, we were really pushing each other, trading the lead several times. When I heard he pulled out, I was able to relax a little, but racing against him kept me focused, and I also had more light from him!”

TRIALS AND NO ERROR After suffering a mechanical failure in last year’s race, Aaron sought redemption on a Christini KTM. Starting 26th (in the second of four groups of 25 riders), he used his trials skills to quickly pass several riders who began in front of him, and ultimately became the third and final rider to make it to the night session. He kept pace with Blazusiak and Knight at the start, but lost a bit of time as the two KTM riders charged ahead. After Knight dropped out, Aaron persevered and crossed the finish line with a time of 4:09:02 - 31 minutes behind Blazusiak.31 minutes behind Blazusiak.

“Hat’s off to Taddy. I’m just psyched to get this done,” said Aaron. “It was a great event for sure and I wanted to redeem myself this year. Going into the night lap, I focused on my lights and getting the bike ready. I did OK when I could see out there, but when it got dark, it was very tough. Last Man Standing is a killer event and I want to help get trials riding on the map with results like this.”

KNIGHT'S OUT Knight, from the Isle of Man, rode into the darkness of the second lap, battling not only the ultra-demanding course, but a respiratory infection that rendered him unable to breathe easily. An hour and 13 minutes into the night lap, the 2007 GNCC champion was forced to pull off the course when he was approximately five minutes behind Blazusiak.

“I couldn’t catch my breath,” said the former World Enduro champion. “I’ve been feeling like this for a couple of weeks, like my lungs are filled with water. But it was an enjoyable race and I had an awesome time. Taddy and I had a good battle. The event was difficult, but it was nice to really race with someone.”

Red Bull Last Man Standing

Illness forces Knighter out of '07 Last Man Standing

Reigning US GNCC champion David Knight saw his hopes of claiming a third Red Bull Last Man Standing title fail to materialise this weekend when the factory KTM rider was forced to withdraw from this year's LMS event with respiratory difficulties. Heading to the States feeling less than 100 per cent after topping the opening round of the Indoor Enduro World Cup, Knighter felt short of breath during the event's morning race but still placed second - a result he was happy with knowing that it was the all important night race that would ultimately decide the event's results. Thinking he was probably just going down with Flu David took to the start of the night race ready for the many challenges that lay ahead but soon found himself struggling to breath properly. Battling with eventual winner Taddy Blazusiak Knight found himself unable to continue and will now undergo tests in order to determine the nature of his breathing difficulties ahead of the second round of the Indoor Enduro World Cup, held in Munich this coming weekend.

David Knight: "I'm gutted that I wasn't able to finish the race but it's great that Taddy and Geoff finished. I was having a good battle with Taddy shortly before I had to stop. I would lead for a while, then he'd lead, then me again…it was great. I felt short of breath and then when the track started to get more technical I started coughing and just couldn't stop. I'm not the type of rider that likes to pull out of events but there was no way I could continue. It was like I suddenly developed asthma, I was really scared because I couldn't breath. It was like someone had punched me in the stomach. "The thing I'm most disappointed about is the fact that I was enjoying the event so much. It was tough but it was great. I'd say it was the hardest LMS event I've ridden, but also the best. I only have a few days before the next indoor world cup race so I hope to get things sorted as soon as I can."

David Knight takes top spot in qualifying

BULCHER, TEXAS (December 7, 2007) - Two-time defending champion David Knight led the charge in qualifying for tomorrow's Red Bull Last Man Standing in Bulcher, Texas. The Red Bull/KTM rider from the Isle of Man threw down the gauntlet to his fellow competitors and claimed the top spot (and thus first choice of starting position) for the main event. Newcomer Taddy Blazusiak from Poland The best of the riders' two qualifying runs was used, with the 100 fastest riders advancing.

Under sunny skies and warm temperatures - in sharp contrast to last year's snow and ice, which cancelled qualifying - the hopeful riders lined up and, one by one, took off onto the ten-mile qualifying course, which was used to determine tomorrow's starting positions for the 40-mile loop, which will kick off at 10:00 a.m. with the blast of the starting cannon. The riders who finish within one hour of the first finisher in the day session will advance to the night session, starting at 5:00 p.m., with the course direction reversed.

The rest of the top-ten, following Knight (17 minutes 14 seconds) in qualifying were: 2) Russell Bobbitt (USA) 17:38 3) Taddy Blazusiak (POL) 17:51 4) Wally Palmer (USA) 17:55 5) Cole Kirkpatrick (USA) 17:58 6) Nathan Kanney (USA) 17:58 7) Justin Williamson (USA) 17:59 8) Colton Haaker (USA) 17:59 9) Justin Soule (USA) 18:07 10) Chris Birch (NZ) 18:07

Davivd Knight: "I came out the first year and had an awesome time and won the race, same thing last year. It’s getting good coming out here. There’s a lot of competition this year, but I’m up for it and ready to go. It’s a tough race. There are three or four of these types of races around the world, and this is the only one in the US. We’ll see what happens, being the end of the year. A win would be a great bonus for me. The first year, the race wasn’t too difficult. Last year, it was extremely difficult. So we’ll see what happens this year."

Taddy Blazusiak is definitely the main guy to look out for. There are plenty of others who are able to run at the front. There are a lot of places on this course where you’ll have five or ten go’s at them to get over them and move on. And Taddy’s trials background will really help him.

Taddy Blazusiak "This will be a very difficult race. The weather looks very nice for tomorrow. Last Man Standing is one of the most difficult races in the world, on level with Erzberg, which is what the top riders all say. It is long and exhausting. And racing in the night is a big charge for the riders. This is my first year here, and KTM think I can be a guy to challenge David Knight in this race, so that’s why I’m out here. I just have to go out and ride my best. Physically, I feel great. This race is all about speed but also you need skills in the technical sections. I know last year only had two guys finish, but I’m not going to think about who’s going to finish the race. I’m just going to go flat out from the beginning and finish the best I can."

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Only 2 finishers out of 128 starters & they both Brits - Bulcher, Texas (December 2, 2006

Video clip 

David Knight (KTM) again showed why he is the best enduro rider in the world, dominating Red Bull Last Man Standing for the second straight year, while 126 other riders were literally left out in the cold in north Texas. Knight, the 2005 and 2006 World Enduro Champion from the Isle of Man (photo Simon Cudby) and British Enduro Champion Wayne Braybrook from the UK were the only riders to brave the elements and complete all 80 miles of the ultra-demanding layout on the Texas/Oklahoma border.

"Last Man Standing is the toughest race of the year," said Knight. "It's the toughest one out there. You know, you've just got to keep trying and trying and if you can't get up, you have to keep going and going, and for me that's what actually makes it brilliant. You know it's not finished until we get up to the finish and that's hard enough."

After a snowstorm swept through the Midwest on Thursday, blanketing the 40-mile course under three inches of snow and ice, the planned Friday qualifier was cancelled to allow riders en route to arrive at the event site. The mud created by the melting snow added an additional challenge to the course, which featured car-sized boulders, dirt sections, loamy sand, high speed straights and technical elements with steep climbs and descents.

Consequently, instead of 100 starters, all 128 riders blasted off the starting line at the explosion of the start canon. Knight got the holeshot and never looked back, completing the first lap in 2:34:54, 24 minutes clear of Braybrook (Gas Gas), 45 minutes in front of Guy Cooper (KTM) and more than two hours ahead of Chris Smith (Christini), the 11th and final rider to advance to the second lap.

As the sun went down and temperatures dropped into the 20s, the second and final lap began. Once again, Knight was off and running, with the remaining 10 riders giving chase. He finished the second lap in 3:15:33, but in a rare occurrence, needed help from a fellow rider to get up one of the big climbs.

Meanwhile, Braybrook methodically made his way through the course while the remaining riders teamed up in an attempt to get each other to the finish. True to the nature of the event, the trailing pack had major struggles and was still well away from the finish line when the race was declared over, with just Knight and Braybrook having completed both laps. The final results were based on a moto format, with Knight going 1-1 and Braybrook finishing 2-2. Cooper, 3-4, was third overall and the highest-finishing American.

"Next year, I'll have a sleep before I start one of these," said Knight. "This race just wears you down. I don't feel absolutely bad, but everything is a little bit tired."

"This is the hardest event I've ever done in 27 years of riding motorcycles," said Braybrook. "It makes Hells Gate [enduro] look like a walk in the park. No kidding, this has been the toughest event I've ever done."

Red Bull Last Man Standing: 1. David Knight (Isle of Man) 2. Wayne Braybrook (UK) 3. Guy Cooper (USA) 4. Cory Graffunder (USA) 5. Russell Bobbitt (USA) 6. Kyle Redmond (USA) 7. Marty Halmazna (CAN) 10 6 16

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