Sports & Recreation

Haaker is 2016 national Endurocross champion

Tres Pinos native ends the season on top of the Endurocross standings

Colton Haaker, who grew up in Tres Pinos, won the National Endurocross Champion title with former Aromas and Watsonville resident Cody Webb taking second. Endurocross motorcycle races are held in stadiums with riders navigating at a high speed over difficult obstacles such as boulders and log piles.

Both Haaker and Webb started riding motorcycles at a young age. Webb was the 2010 Trials Motorcycle champion and the 2014 and 2015 National Endurocross champion. The pair have spent the past several years battling each other for this top position. Haaker rides for Husqvarna Motorcycles and is featured on their Facebook page in a video that was just released.

Coming into the last race of the Geico National Endurocross Race Series, Haaker had a 14-point lead over Webb. That meant Haaker had to finish around seventh or better to win the national championship.

Both men won their heats to receive one extra point each toward the championship, while Noah Kepple from Alpine, Calif. won the third heat.

In the main event, Webb finished in first place, around 40 seconds in front of Haaker, who came in second. Rounding out the top three was Cory Graffunder, who had just gotten back from the Baja 1000 the night before. Despite Webb winning the last race, Haaker won the championship, with Webb taking second overall. 

Haaker came out pushing hard and ended up having a few bobbles in the beginning of the race, on which Webb capitalized, to lead the rest of the race. After the race, Haaker spoke about how he felt coming into the race and the final result. 

“Winning the championship is awesome even though I crashed a few more times tonight than I wanted to,” Haaker said. “Really, nobody would expect me to come out here and charge with so much on the line, but I’m always trying to push myself and I did that tonight. It’s what challenges me and it still worked out for the championship.”

Ty Tremaine came in third in the overall standings, passing up Mike Brown in the overall with a fifth-place finish in the main event. Brown was in third place coming into the last race and finished 10th in the race. 

Will Schwabacher