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8th Challenge belongs to regulars, locals

Twenty-four hours of dirt bike racing, and it came down to 7 minutes and 45 seconds.

That was the margin of victory as the KTM-Cycle Specialty team won its sixth first-place overall in the 8th 24-Hour Challenge, a race that also featured impressive performances by local riders.

Both the KTM team and the second-place Race Shop Husaberg North America team completed 50 11-mile laps. The course wound through Reynolds Pasture in Maplesville, the woods at the Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club and Noah’s Motocross Park.

The race is grueling and even more so for those that competed in the Ironman class. Other classes featured teams of riders that take turns on the bike, but Ironman competitors go it alone. Brad Goolsby is a past Ironman class winner of the Glen Helen’s 24-hour race in California and led his Challenge class for the first seven hours, but the Southern California native said he hit a brick wall mentally and had to back off the gas.

The eventual Ironman winner was Mike Phillips, from southern Florida. Phillips completed 34 laps, or about 375 miles—all by himself.

Goolsby said the Challenge is “100 times” more difficult than its California counterpart and that the race was the most organized event he had ever attended.

Team Boog, which included local riders Tyler Carter and Hunter Sanders, finished first in the 250 Expert class and sixth overall by finishing 47 laps. Carter at one point turned in the second fastest lap of anyone on the course.

The 6-man team that included local rider Dustin Stevens finished third overall.

The Dust Monkeys, which included local riders Jared White, Jacob Davis and Neal Ousley, finished fifth in the 250 Sportsman Class and 30th overall.

Other local riders included Chris Aultman, Jonathan Calloway, Kim DeLoach, Will McConnell, Bill Patridge, Ryan Patridge, Bryan Petty, Edwin Petty, Mitch Moore, Chris Smith, Blake Terry and Dennis Terry.

“The rain we had on Thursday was a blessing,” DeLoach said. “The course could not have been any better.”