Camp Coker Bullet Race Report

As the green flag waved at the start of the long PM race in South Carolina, the skies opened up bringing rain for the racers to battle for their opening lap. After a dead last start Ben Kelley found himself fighting through the XC2 pack, making his way up to 2nd place after the first lap. Lap 2 would bring his pass for the lead and the fight was on to push away from the rest of his class and move his way up in the overall. An outstanding race proving Kelley’s fitness and mentally are spot on he would cross the finish line 1st XC2 with a six and a half minute lead, and 6th overall on the day.

XC2 teammate Johnny Girroir would be absent for the race, as posted earlier in the weekend, Girroir would not be lining up for this weekend’s GNCC as he was at home in Massachusetts dealing with his health situation. Trail Jesters KTM Racing would like to extend our continued thoughts and prayers for Girroir.

Ben Kelley pushing his 2019 KTM 250 XC-F to the limits. (Darrin Chapman photo)

Jesse Ansley was able to put the pieces together to pull off a great start on the XC3 line. Battling that first lap rain, he unfortunately struggled with some goggle issues pushing him back a little. By lap three he started looking for ways to gain positions. Things started clicking for Ansley as he began hitting all his marks, allowing him to make the pass for the lead with two laps to go. By the checkered flag he would take the XC3 win with an impressive 3:27 minute lead and 14th overall. “I finally feel healed up and 100%” said Ansley “we are still making small improvements whether its with speed or fitness, so we will only continue to get better each race.”

Jesse Ansley holding his 125 wide open to take the win. (Darrin Chapman photo)

Simon Johnson grabbed the holeshot at the 250A start, and went into the woods on a tear. After a couple close calls he settled himself down and fell into 4th place, once he got into a swing he would slowly move himself up and battled for 1st the last two laps. He would finish the day at the top of the box, 1st 250A, top amateur, and 25th overall. “The variety of terrains at Camp Coker kept it fun lap after lap. My bike handled awesome between clay ruts and sand whoops. Really digging my setup this year. Super excited to start heading into the more northern rounds.” Johnson said.

Simon Johnson taking the top amateur spot. (Darrin Chapman photo)

In the Youth race Bradyen Nolette got off to a decent start, about 6th into the first corner and jumped up to 3rd by the woods. He was able to latch onto the lead riders early on and stick with them never being more that 22 seconds behind the position in front of him. “I know that my fitness is really good right now, but also I can run lap times of the leaders which I haven’t been able to do all year, so that makes me feel excited for the next one!” Nolette stated. The fast and flowing course suited Brayden as he dodged some major mud holes and finished the day with a 2nd YXC1 and 2nd overall. “The Camp Coker race for me was awesome, it was a huge confidence booster!” said Nolette.

Brayden Nolette on his way to a 2nd overall Youth race. (Darrin Chapman photo)

Thank you to our team sponsors: KTM, FMF Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Dunlop Tires, Motorex, Super B Batteries, Bullet Proof Designs, P3 Carbon, Motool, Squid Decals and Edelmann Sales for their continued support.

About Trail Jesters:

Trail Jesters Racing is a KTM support team established in January 2014. We race off-road motorcycles at the professional, amateur and youth level of national and regional series.

FMF Steele Creek GNCC race report

Round three welcomed clear skies and sunshine as the Trail Jesters KTM Racing team took on the FMF Steele Creek GNCC round 3 in Morganton, NC. With the wave of the green flag the XC2 line was off and rolling, it would be Ben Kelley grabbing the hole shot, and leading the pack into the woods. “The highlight of the race was definitely ripping the hole shot. I only had one last year and it feels so good to do it again and be able to run clean laps right from the start” Kelley said. With a flawless start Kelley was able to push himself to over a four minute lead over 2nd place, taking the win and 6th overall on the day. He stated “I’m really happy with how the season is going. We’re three rounds in and I have three class wins. I can’t ask for much more. I’m happy with where I’m at.” Teammate Johnny Girroir would end up cartwheeling in a pile up on the XC2 start, he got up feeling sore and found himself last in the class. Johnny put his head down and started to climb back checking in 5th XC2 at the end of lap one and within 40 seconds of 2nd place. After a hard fought battle with Girroir worked his way to 2nd place at the end of lap 4 and then pushed himself to the limit all the way to the checkered flag. Finishing the day 2nd XC2 and 9th overall Girroir said “I feel good, but not where I want to be. I was able to push but I know I can go faster.” Both Ben and Johnny have finished all three GNCC rounds this year standing on the podium.

Ben Kelley and Johnny Girrior on the podium at Steele Creek.
(photo Darrin Chapman)

After getting off to a great start Jesse Ansley found himself in 4th place at the end of lap one with 3rd place in sight. Struggling to get into a good rhythm Ansley was still able to make the pass and hold onto 3rd place for laps 2 through 5 and then making the pass for second place on lap 6. Ansley stated “The biggest highlight was passing for 2nd place. I believe that was the slowest I’ve ever passed for a position. We were both in a bottleneck and I had a better line outside of a rut but had to ride careful as to not to fall into other ruts.” Ansley cross the checkered flag that way, “I ended up 2nd which was great considering how I felt I rode.”

Owen Giese, jumped into the front pack off the start and into the woods. Giese pushed to stay with the lead pack but struggled to stay on pace. While teammate Simon Johnson got off to a mid-pack start in the 250A class after getting stuck in a traffic jam from a downed rider. Quickly he began making his charge for the lead pack and after battling for positions the first 3 laps Johnson would spend the last half of the race settled into 4th in class and cross the finish line that way.

Simon Johnson pushed to 4th place in 250A class. 
(photo Darrin Chapman)

In the Youth race, Brayden Nolette got a killer jump when the flagged dropped. He was out front of the pack a few corners in when he slid, was pushed wide and through the mud covering his goggles and causing him to fall back a bit. Nolette focused and pushed hard to make up ground and worked his was up to 4th place, and was aiming for the podium position when he had a nasty get off in a whoop section. He stated “I rung my bell pretty good, brought myself back together and pushed hard to get on the podium for 3rd in class, 4th overall.” Brayden has been on the podium every round so far and feeling more comfortable, “After these three races I am feeling less nervous going into them knowing who I am up against.”

Brayden Nolette put his Edelmann Sales KTM 105 SX on the podium. (photo Darrin Chapman)

Thank you to our team level sponsors: KTM, FMF Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Dunlop Tires, Motorex, Super B Batteries, Bullet Proof Designs, P3 Carbon, Seat Concepts, Motool, Squid Decals and Edelmann Sales for their continued support.

Race Report by Leanne Dutlinger