i went to Red River saturdayt and watched this race, it was insane the things those riders went threw.
same artical, new pictures
this is a post from a local racer
[QUOTE=wheels-off]Here's a report on the race from 12th overall, '04-'05 TORO Champ Steve Leivan.
2005 RACE REPORT
EVENT: Red Bull Last Man Standing; Muenster, TX; November 12
RACE BIKE: Yamaha WR250F
RESULT: 12th Overall
RACE INFO: I cannot begin to find enough adjectives to describe what went on at the Red Bull Last Man Standing. Extreme, gnarly, brutal, un-freakin-believable, overwhelming, and many others have been used in my “during” and “post-race” conversations. In the beginning, I was honored to be one of the original “200 toughest riders” selected for the race and now that it is all said and done, I am completely stoked to have been one of just 14 guys who made it to the end. In my career, I have been very fortunate to win many races and championship. Finishing this one event though, ranks extremely high on my list of achievements.
The format for this race was a 40-mile loop, run four times. The first two laps were run in the day and the final two at night, in the opposite direction. The first two laps were run like an “80 mile moto” and then there was a break for service and to make course changes and then another “80 mile moto”. After lap one the field was to be cut to the top 75 riders, the top 50 would start the night portion, and the top 25 would ride the fourth and final lap. The course was incredibly tough with “extreme” sections that almost seemed impossible to negotiate without some luck, help, or outside force. So tough was the course that the rider cuts changed almost immediately.
Red Bull put on a top notch show with announcer Jerry Bernardo doing the play by play out at the “extreme elements” sections, race bibs and Red Bull backgrounds for all of the riders, and made the whole event free to participants and spectators alike. There is so much more to this story, but I’ll get to the race.
We lined up in one long row for what was supposed to be a smoke bomb start. The dry weather and wind didn’t cooperate so they used a cannon (which was equally cool). For the first half-mile or so, there was no marked trail. Just a woods section with a deep ravine that was a ¼ mile wide that you had to find a way to cross. Friday we were allowed a couple of hours to walk the start and I was able to find a slick line that not many people found and I used it to get what felt like a decent start (top 40 I would guess) on my WR250F.
Within three miles, we dropped into a sandy bottom creek bed that went to hell real quick. Bikes were stuck everywhere (mine included) and the smell of burnt clutches filled the air. It seemed like not many guys wanted to wait in line and they just rammed and jammed their way through, only to be stuck and wanting help as well. I got screwed up attempting to climb a waterfall and had to turn around and come back through some of the same ruts I had worked so hard to get through. When I finally got out of that section, there were just two bikes behind me….and I could see for one hundred yards or better. So, I was at the back of the bus.
A guy that I race with some from Iowa, Jamie Driskell, had burnt his clutch up already and he jumped in to help me all the way to the end of the creek. Probably five times, he helped dig me out and lift my bike. He helped save my day. I was able to get by a lot of guys that were stuck or broke down already and we hadn’t gone five miles. I used a lot of energy, but I told myself to just keep plugging away and maybe the race would come back to me.
I caught up to Cole Kirkpatrick who I race against in Texas/Black Jack Enduro events from time to time and he and I adopted the “buddy system” for almost the whole rest of the first lap. We helped each other over the bad hill climbs and through the gnarly rock filled ditches. When we finally got to the back checkpoint (1/3 of the way through lap one) I was in 37th and Cole was 38th. I let him around and he led us up to “Joshua Tree” that may have been the most difficult spot on the track, 17 miles in.
There were spectators EVERYWHERE for the most intense hill climb I have ever tried. I said, “tried”. My first shot resulted in my body going end over end back down the hill until my bike somersaulted down on top of me and pinned me to the ground. The course workers quickly got my bike off of me and I jumped on and coasted to the bottom. Amazingly, the bike was still straight and nothing was broken. My body wasn’t broken either. Cole tried and failed, but he got to a point where he could be helped. I tried again and got to the same place he did and they drug me to the top. Soon we were together again, pushing and shoving.
I kept after it and got through “Texas Stadium” amazingly clean. At the top, Disco Barclay showed me a pit board that said “25th place” and “48 minutes behind the leader”. This was important, since the staff had decided that once a rider dropped to more than one hour behind, he would be pulled off the course. Keep in mind that the first lap wasn’t done yet and that 75 guys were supposed to transfer to lap two. I came into the pits in 21st place after 2 hours and 47 minutes, still 48 minutes down. My crew gassed my bike while I tried to stretch and take on some fluids. I commented that this was the toughest thing I had ever done and within a minute or two I was on my way.
For over three months, I have tried to prepare for this event and told anyone who would listen that I would give this race my maximum. I have had so many people help me in so many different ways prepare for this one race, that I gave my second lap all that I had to try to pay them back for their help, confidence, and support. Cole had problems at the end of lap one which meant that I was alone and having to fend for myself. When I got drug to the top of “Joshua Tree” the second time, I could hear Bernardo on the microphone talking about “12-time Missouri HS Champ” and currently 15th overall. Then I heard my sister’s voice about “he’s 13 time champion, he’s 34, and he ain’t tired”. Well, she had two out of three right. When I got to the top, the workers told me I was 58 minutes back.
I rode and rode and rode and had a pretty clean lap the whole way. I made it through “Texas Stadium”, the “Triple Threat” and the “Waterfall” all relatively clean. I pinned it through the last grass track section and arrived at the checkpoint to hear “you made it…you get to go to the night portion”. I had gone 31 minutes faster my second lap and moved all the way to 12th place, but the pace had worked on me. I headed to the pits for service…..on the bike and body.
They told me I had at least one hour before the re-start so my crew went to work. Dad handled the headlight chores while Zack Bryant bled my rear brakes, Tom Eidam changed air filters, Jarod Pratt gassed the bike, and Elston Moore changed the oil. Mom and Steph took care of me and got me to take on some fluids and try to put down some food as well as keeping my head in the game when I became overwhelmed that all of my hard work was going to take me to the night session. A it turned out, we actually had two hours before the session started at 5:15, so the guys checked over the entire bike 16 times a piece and called it good. My tires still looked all right, the clutch and brakes were good, and everything was working better than it should after 80 miles of torture.
They decided that the top 20 riders would start the night racing. That’s a far cry from the 50 that were supposed to and that show’s the severity of the course and the elements. Just 18 of us lined up and Bernardo introduced each and every one of us to the crowd like we were superstars. As we all sat there facing each other he mentioned that this is “18 of the baddest offroad racers in the world” and it dawned on me that I was surrounded by 17 tough SOBs. Anyone that showed up for this race is a big stud in his part of the country and now there were just a small handful of us left.
I used my same line on the start and entered the trail in 10th this time. We went straight to “Texas Stadium” this time and the place was lit up like you cannot imagine. The spectators were so loud it was deafening and one by one we tried to bash our way up and over the rocks and out the other side. There was only really one line so we all just had to wait although Guy Cooper tried going up the center and he did eventually make it, but it had to take massive amounts of energy. I finally clawed my way to the top and then down the other side and into the darkness.
The dust was pretty bad and I struggled to get familiar with the course markings. Cole had overcome his early trouble and made the night show and we nodded to each other before the start and vowed to “team up” again. I looked back and saw him after six or eight miles, so I let him by and followed his lead. I bobbled somewhere out there and lost him but I heard he had brake trouble and I ended up getting around him. It was very lonely out there and the only time I would see anyone was at the “extreme” sections or when there was a major danger area and a course worker was getting us slowed down.
The trail was just as tough in reverse and many times worse. The dry conditions turned many of the hills into silty ruts that featured no traction. Many times I had to give a section a couple of tries before I could get through. “Joshua Tree” was run in the same direction and I got to the plateau where I could get help and they drug me to the top with the help of a human chain and some tie downs. I got through lap three in an hour and 50 minutes (it had been shortened by 10 miles since we had been punished so much early on), switched helmet lights and batteries, took on bike and body fuel, and headed back for the final segment of an un-real journey.
I got to the stadium section and Eric Rhoten (WORCS racer) was getting pushed to the top. I worked my way up the climb and fought to go forward. It was still as loud as ever as the spectators urged me on. After what seemed like several seconds, the workers finally jumped in and offered some help to get me to the top. I just kept riding smart and trying to keep momentum all through the course. Every time I got through a tough spot I knew that was the last time I would see that part of the course. Despite some severe leg cramps, I got drug over “Joshua Tree” one last time. Karl Harris (one of just three Missouri riders who made the trip) had suffered clutch trouble early on and found his way out there to see the show. He told me at the top to ride smart and keep after it and that Rhoten was just ahead.
On the next hillclimb, I was able to get by him but then I had trouble on the next hill and he got me back. As every mile passed, I knew I was closer to the end and that fueled me a little more. When I could see the big lights in the pit area from a couple of miles away, I stood up and began to realize what a big accomplishment finishing this race was going to be. But when I hit the grass track section and got within a couple of turns from the finish, that is when it became clear. It was soooo, loud from all of the cheers, people that I knew and many that I didn’t, and I realized they were all yelling for me as I crossed the line in 12th place.
I believe that everyone there realized how difficult it was to make one lap around the trail, much less make it to the end of the race, and their yelling was their congratulatory cheer. I stopped at the check and all of my crew surrounded me while media people stuck their cameras in my face and magazine guys interviewed me. Person after person told me how awesome it was that I had finished and how proud they were of me. It was one of the best feelings I have ever had as a racer.
There are so many more parts of the story that I cannot begin to tell them all, but for you non-motorcycle types out there, this might tell you how hard the race was. The ISDE (International Six Days Enduro) is a once a year six day event where the competitors ride 150-200 miles a day. Jeff Fredette has ridden that event 25 times. He has finished every single of them. At LMS, he made the night show and pulled out before the halfway point of lap three. That put it into perspective for me. Nothing against Jeff either. He is an absolute legend and one tough customer, but I’m telling you this race was tough.
At the riders meeting, all of the riders were given a white towel. It was the “surrender flag”. When you waved it, you gave up and were done. I didn’t go get one. I wasn’t quitting. I said that I would give the race my all and I did that. I appreciate every single thing that anyone did for me that anything to do with this race. It is an honor to have you as supporters, motivators, and friends. Thank you so much for helping me achieve this. It means more to me than you will ever know.
TOP 14: 1. Knight (KTM); 2. Kanney (YAMAHA); 3. Lafferty (KTM); 4. Williamson (YAMAHA); 5. Russell (KTM); 6. Garrahan (KTM); 7. Lewis (KTM); 8. Dudek (Hon); 9. Kamo (KTM); 10. Melik (YAMAHA); 11. Rhoten (Hon); 12. LEIVAN (YAMAHA); 13. Perret (Hus); 14. Kirkpatrick (KTM)
NEXT RACE: November 18-19; Endurocross; Las Vegas, NV
THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT!
ACERBIS - ANSWER – ARAI - CLARKE – DH RACING - DMC
DP BRAKES – DUNLOP – ENDURO ENGINEERING – EVS
FAST FORWARD – FLATLAND RACING – GPR – MONSTER
MOTION PRO – NGK – PROCLEAN – PRO-X – RACE TECH
RENTHAL – SCOTT – SILKOLENE – SPORT CYCLES
TSUBAKI – WHITE BROTHERS – WORKS CONNECTION
YAMAHA MOTOR CORPORATION – ZIP-TY RACING
and some more pictures