We think it goes without saying that 2020 has been one of the strangest years in any of our memories. This is especially true for the hard enduro community. Not only have numerous races been canceled or postponed but international and American racers have faced strict restrictions on travel. Despite these difficulties, we don’t think this is going to affect the level of riding that we are getting ready to experience in July and August in the eastern portion of the United States.
The AMA’s Eastern Extreme Championship (EEC) kicks off on July 4 in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania at Tough Like RORR. This 2-day event also functions as the PA State Championship for extreme off-road and is a qualifier for the TKO/AMA Grand Championship in Tennessee. Kenda tires is the Title sponsor for this event and continues to support the sport we love with race backing and amazing products.
In 2019, Wade Young won TLR for team Sherco. Young is considered one of the top hard enduro riders in the world and cleaned up in the 2019 American Hard Enduro series. Although still unclear, it seems unlikely that Wade will be able to defend his title at the 2020 race due to travel restrictions. This opens the door to several Tough like Rorr new comers. These “new comers” are some of the best/most experienced riders in the world. Cody Webb on his Sherco and Colton Haaker on his Husqvarna have the opportunity to extend their long-term grudge match that has included battles in the Enduro-cross arena and in the Hard Enduro world. In what seems like years ago at King of Motos in California back in February of 2020, Webb was able to firmly stake his claim as the best American Hard Enduro racer. Although Webb was coming off a 2019 knee surgery and received a bit of a gift from KTM’s Manuel Lettenbichler, Webb was able to pull away from Haaker late in the race.
So now we get see who has been putting in work in this unexpected off-season. We also expect KTM to send someone to the party to try and keep Sherco from claiming 2 or more podium spots. Can KTM get German Lettenbichler, Englishman Walker or Canadian Hart into the country to battle with the Americans? What about 2018 champ Ben Kelly or 2017 champ Josh Toth? Beta is also trying to put a red bike on the top step by sending Hard Enduro Veteran Max Gerston to Tough Like Rorr. East coast ripper and current leader of the SEER (southeastern extreme riders) series Nick Fahringer also has visions of being on the box but will have to beat out his Sherco teammate and SEER rival Quinn Wentzel. Quinn also recently took the top spot at the Iowan Hard Enduro and is looking to climb the rankings as one of the US’s top Hard Enduro riders. A wild card in all of this could be national trials champion Pat Smage who has experienced recent success on a big bike.
For lack of a better term, the Tough Like Rorr format is just that, TOUGH. Two races on Saturday and three races on Sunday that increase in difficulty, make for an awkward juggling act between trying to go fast and trying to conserve fitness. Combine the mangled PA mining property with the ruthless Independence Day weekend heat and you have a true opportunity to see who is the toughest Hard Enduro rider in the land.
Previous winners of Tough like RORR
2019: Wade Young (Sherco)
2018: Ben Kelly (KTM)
2017: Josh Toth (Yamaha)
2016: Ben Kelly (KTM)
2015: Tegan Temple (KTM)
Photo by mjsmotophotos
Check out American Hard Enduro's coverage of the 2019 event here: