Snowshoe GNCC rd 9 – Snowshoe, WV

Trail Jesters riders Ben Kelley and Josh Toth were highly anticipating what many say is the toughest and most technical GNCC round of the series. The crew was in good spirits and looking forward to seeing our boys back in action.  Then reality set in and race day started by having to do a “bike swap” for Josh when we couldn’t get his race bike to start via the estart reliably. Josh had his brand new KTM 250xcf ISDE bike in the van … so Mike Toth, Mike Kelley, Wolfi Neuwirth, Jesse Arsenault and several others jumped in to swap suspension, wheels, bars, levers, exhaust, etc etc and get Josh a bike he would be confident on.

The race start at Snowshoe is different from any other GNCC event in that the riders are placed in rows of 5 and do a hot engine start on pavement. Based on their current overall GNCC series standings Ben was on row 3 and Josh on row 4. We were all thinking … all right, they will both get great starts this race. And they did … until somewhere on the first lap a group of XC1/XC2’s got off course and lost for a bit. It cost Ben 3 minutes and Josh 4 minutes the first lap putting them back in the middle of the A class running in 14/16 XC2 and in the mid-30’s overall.

That’s when it got interesting … they both just put the their heads down and charged … moving up steadily lap after lap in class and the overall. On lap 7 Josh had a pretty good crash and after that he put it more on cruise control to finish 6th XC2 and 13th overall. Ben got stronger as the race progressed and started to pick off factory riders :-) passing into 3rd XC2 and 8th OA on the last lap. A huge comeback over the 3 hours for both of them.

They say this is the toughest technical GNCC race of the year … all I know is the boys from New England sure know how to ride the snotty rooty rocky hills of West Virgina.

Ben Kelley with the new long board!

Ben Kelley with the new long board!

Josh Toth ripping up the slopes of Snowshoe.

Josh Toth ripping up the slopes of Snowshoe.

Steve Hatch Racing

Steve Hatch says “If you want to be the best, you have to train with the best!”

We are super stoked to say that Trail Jesters GNCC team is now working with Steve Hatch. Steve is well known in the offroad racing world for bringing riders to peak performance and the top of the podium.  Ben Kelley and Josh Toth will begin training with SRH this summer. They both are working to move to next level results in GNCC and better prepare for the FIM ISDE in Spain this Fall.

For more information on Steve Hatch Racing check out their web site at www.stevehatchracing.com

Josh Toth, Steve Hatch and Ben Kelley.

Josh Toth, Steve Hatch and Ben Kelley.

Taylor Johnston shines at J Day Stateline 2 day

Taylor Johnston keeps upping her game and showed us why she is one of the top female offroad riders in New England.  Taylor is racing the J Day Offroad Sprint Enduro series this year and came into round 3 gunning for her third win of the season.  True to form Taylor won all 9 tests and more importantly improved her speed in the cross tests. With some coaxing from her Dad and me 🙂 she decided to also race on Sunday at the J Day Offroad GP round 6.  Taylor hasn’t run a J Day GP in 2 years and so we were all interested to see how she would stack up to the fast ladies running that series. The Sunday rain that started out wetting the track and then later in the day drenching the track seemed to bring out the beast in Taylor. Sweeping both motos she again stood a top the podium and took the pay out.  Thank you John Day for putting up a purse for the Women’s class! We are very proud of what Taylor has accomplished and that she still remains a humble hard working graduate student to boot!

Taylor on her way to Sprint Enduro victory on day 1.

Taylor on her way to Sprint Enduro victory on day 1.

Top step of the podium both days!

Top step of the podium both days!

 

J Day Offroad Sprint Enduro rd 3 – Johnsonville, NY

A beautiful sunny day greeted everyone to the rolling fields and tight woodland trails of upstate New York for round 3 for the J Day Offroad Sprint Enduro series. Trail Jesters Ben Kelley, Josh Toth and Jason Klammer were out in force and focused on only one thing … the top step of the podium. By 1:00pm when the AA/A/B race started temperatures were up in the 80’s. After a short riders meeting John Day sent 147 of New Endland’s best enduro riders out to do battle. Spectators flocked into the trails and fields to see the riders going all out in Woods, Extreme and Cross timed tests. Each rider had to run each test 4 times with all 12 timed results adding up to their final score. In the end defending series champion Ben Kelley stood a top the podium with team mates Jason and Josh next to him.

Sprint Enduros are a great format for our guys to continue to train and improve their speed in preparation for the 2016 International Six Days of Enduro to be held in Spain in October. A final treat for this day was to have MSR brand manager Brent Harden in from California along with New England MSR reps Keith Hiser and Paul Goyette to join us in celebrating the jester podium sweep.

Josh Toth, Ben Kelley and Jason Klammer with our great sponsors from Malcolm Smith Racing Keith Hiser, Brent Harden and Paul Goyette.

Josh Toth, Ben Kelley and Jason Klammer with our great sponsors from Malcolm Smith Racing Keith Hiser, Brent Harden and Paul Goyette.

The John Penton GNCC rd 7 – Millfield, OH

The 27th annual John Penton GNCC was held at the Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio. The day brought very hot and humid race conditions with dirt that had great traction in some places and was like ice in others.

Josh got a good start and was in 7th after the first lap and Ben was up to 11th XC2. The course was fast and the slick conditions got Josh on the 3rd lap whole running 5th XC2 and 15th OA.  Josh skipped out into a tree and hit the deck hard. Ben was close behind and stopped when he saw Josh down. Josh waved Ben on and recovered from the wind being knocked out of him.  Josh tried to out the lap but realized he was going to do more harm and pulled it into the pits. A wrenched knee and some good bruises all over is all he had for the day.  Ben continued to push forward picking off riders and working his way up eventually finishing 6th XC2 and 12 overall.  A solid ride given the track.

The John Penton was the seventh round of the 2016 Grand National Cross Country series, an AMA National Championship, and marks the half way point in the season.  Our two GNCC rookies are sitting in the top 10 XC2 and top 20 overall.  Ben 5th XC2 & 15th OA.  Josh 10th XC2 & 20th OA.

The guys are looking forward to race closer to home next round and I hope a lot of New England turns out for the Tomahawk GNCC to cheer them on.

Ben Kelley #530

Ben Kelley #530

Josh Toth #206

Josh Toth #206