The final 2016 GNCC round was held at the popular Ironman grounds in Indiana. Our GNCC rookies were determined to end the series on strong note. And wow did they deliver … with Ben 7th in XC1/7th overall and Josh 3rd XC2/11th overall.
XC1 you say?? Yup, Ben signed a one race XC1 deal with AmPro Yamaha. Ben went down to South Carolina (with Josh) and had 3 days testing the bike and decided together with Randy Hawkins that he would race it at the final round. Ben basically rode with Daniel Milner’s engine and suspension set up. Now you have to realize that Ben has never raced a 4 stroke or a 450. Most people I spoke to on Saturday and Sunday before the race expected that he would fade after the half way point given the extra energy it takes to race a big bike. But Ben isn’t a normal person and he has the heart of a lion. When the race started Ben got off to a slow start and after lap two began to really feel the bike and ride more aggressively. As the laps progressed he reeled in and passed his way up to 7th (3 seconds off 6th place). That’s a pretty great result and I think Ben turned a lot of heads with his ride.
Josh wrapped up his four race 2016 deal with AmPro Yamaha with his third podium finish out of four races for them. Josh got a poor start but had worked his way up to 5th by half way thru the first lap. Then he crashed pretty hard and bent the front end up good. Took him a while to get around to the pits and with help from the mechanics got the front end straightened out and forks working again. He then put his head down and charged all race passing into 3rd on the last lap. A strong finish to a great year for Josh.
The guys complete their first GNCC series with very respectable class and overall results. In fact … and I realize I am a bit biased … but their results demonstrate they are the Pro Lites rookies of the year in GNCC.
- Ben Kelley – 5th XC2 & 12th overall. Ben earns national #12 for 2017.
- Josh Toth – 4th XC2 & 14th overall. Josh is national #14 next year.
Both are in contract talks with multiple teams/manufacturers for 2017 … stay tuned.