GNCC Race Reports – Rounds 5 thru 10

GNCC race reports are posted on the GNCC website. 

Click the links below to check them out.

(Leanne Dutlinger reporting)

X-Factor Whitetails – Round 5

John Penton – Round 6

Tomahawk – Round 7

Snowshoe – Round 8

High Voltage – Round 9

Black Sky – Round 10

 

 

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

The General GNCC Race Report

For 2019 we expanded our GNCC rider roster to three pro, two amateur and for the first time a youth rider as we begin our most ambitious GNCC season to date. Returning to the team is 2018 XC2 250 Pro Champion Ben Kelley who is looking to defend his championship this season. Along with Kelley, we  are excited to have Johnny Girror who will also be battling in the XC2 250 Pro class this season. Jesse Ansley will be screaming his 2 stroke in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class looking to also defend his 2018 Championship. Joining us again this season in the 250A class are Simon Johnson and Owen Giese after finishing 3rd and 6th for the year in the class last season these boys are ready to throw down and better themselves. Lastly, we added Brayden Nolette to the line up this season and he will be racing the YXC1 Super Mini class.

For The General conditions were just about perfect as the flag waved to start the PM race. Ben Kelley explained “I didn’t get off to the best start, but I was able to make my way into the lead in XC2 on the first lap”. By lap 2 Kelley held his lead while teammate Johnny Girror moved into third in class. From there on out Ben continued to battle with the XC1 line while pulling a 2:23 lead from 2nd place in class, and up to 7th position overall. “I rode by myself for the majority of the race. I tried to focus on my own race and stay smooth. I was able to do that and string together consistent laps, which is just what I needed to do to secure the win”. Johnny Girror would continue to battle in the 3rd place position and settle into that place for the day never allowing second place to pull more than 40 seconds on him. Both guys would finish the day on the podium two weeks in a row, Kelley taking 1st and Girror in 3rd.

Ben Kelley now with two class wins in 2019. (photo by Darrin Chapman)

Jesse Ansley was ready to battle at the start of the PM race, but after getting a good start in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class he would find himself in the pits struggling to correct a technical issue with his support crew. Unfortunately the problem was never fully resolved and Jesse finished the day 8th in the class but still holding down 2nd in his series points.

Simon Johnson got off to a mid-pack start in 250A class and settled into 4th place on the first lap, and would hold down that position for the entire race. Teammate Owen Giese, who is still recovering from a late off season surgery, checked in after lap one in 15th place. He would spend the entire day pushing the limits and battling for positions, by the checkered flag he was able to move up to 10th place on the day.

Simon Johnson 4th 250A at The General (photo by Darrin Chapman)

In the Youth race, Brayden Nolette got off to a great start after shaking off some beginning of the season nerves. As he came around into the scoring area after lap one he would find himself in 3rd place, with 2nd well within reach. By lap 6 he was able to move into 2nd place and build a 13 second gap. When the checkers waved Brayden came through still holding onto 2nd in class and overall for the day. “This past race was great, I felt awesome and it seemed like everything came together!” Brayden said, he explained “I liked all of the track, it was super fast and the dirt was almost perfect.”

Brayden Nolette on the Overall Youth podium for the second race in a row. (photo by Darrin Chapman)

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.

2019 Team Announcement

Trail Jesters KTM Racing is pleased to introduce our 2019 roster of professional, amateur and youth riders that will compete at the regional, national and international level. This season we will field an expanded three professional rider roster.

Ben Kelley returns for his sixth year as a member of Trail Jesters KTM Racing. Ben is the 2018 Grand National Cross Country XC2 250 Pro champion and a solid 5th in the overall GNCC standings for the year. In his rookie year running the AMA National Enduro series Ben finished an impressive 4th overall. Ben claimed the AMA Pennsylvania State Extreme Enduro championship by winning “Tough like RORR” becoming the first ever repeat winner of the event. Ben was a member of the AMA U.S. ISDE Junior World Trophy Team that finished second at Six Days in Chile. For 2019 Ben will defend his GNCC title racing a factory prepared KTM 250 XC-F in the XC2 250 Pro class and will return to New England to contest the JDay Offload GP series in Pro class. Kelley will compete in select Extreme Enduros (Tough like RORR and Tennessee Knockout) aboard a KTM 300 XC-W TPI.

Jesse Ansley joins the team coming off a stellar year winning the GNCC XC3 125 Pro/Am championship and the AMA National Enduro AA class championship. Jesse is a multi time national champion at many levels of youth and amateur racing. Jesse will ride a KTM 125 SX as he looks to defend his GNCC XC3 125 Pro/Am title and will also go after the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Pro2 championship in 2019.

Johnny Girroir joins the team coming off his rookie GNCC series year where he landed two XC2 podiums in 2018. For 2019 Girroir will race a KTM 250 XC-F in the GNCC XC2 250 Pro class. Johnny will also race a 450 XC-F in the IXCR series Pro class. Johnny will race under the MCS/Trail Jesters/KTM Racing banner. The collaboration of Rod Marshall’s MCS team and Trail Jesters brings together proven rider management and resources in support of this rising star in offroad racing.

I’m very pleased that Trail Jesters will expand their professional rider roster and also add a youth rider for 2019”, said Antti Kallonen, Manager of KTM Off-road Racing. “I look forward seeing this talented group of riders go after and win championships.

The 2019 Trail Jesters KTM Racing team will have a four-rider amateur and youth roster. All riders are New England stand outs.

Taylor Johnston returns for her fourth year as a member of Trail Jesters KTM Racing. In 2018 Taylor was the runner up in her first year racing the JDay Offroad GP Women’s series. In her first ever extreme enduro event Taylor emerged as the 2018 “Tough like RORR” Women’s Champion. Taylor was the 2016 & 2017 JDay Offroad Sprint Enduro Women’s Champion and in the past wrote herself into New England record books becoming the first women ever to earn promotion to B class in NETRA Hare Scrambles. Taylor will ride a 250 XC-W TPI in JDay Offroad GP and other select events.

Simon Johnson returns for his third year as a member of Trail Jesters KTM Racing. In his rookie year running at the national level in the GNCC series Simon took 3rd place 250A class and 29th overall. Simon also landed on the Amateur overall podium twice in 2018. Simon will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in GNCC 250A and select NETRA and ECEA events.

Owen Giese returns for his third year as a member of Trail Jesters KTM Racing. Owen placed fifth in 2018 GNCC 250A and 34th overall. Owen is product of the NETRA offroad community and is now looking to make his mark at the national level. Owen will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in GNCC 250A and NETRA Hare Scrambles series.

Brayden Nolette joins the team coming off a three championship year winning the 2018 ECEA Super Mini Hare Scramble Championship, ECEA Schoolboy1 Hare Scramble Championship and ECEA Super Mini Sprint Enduro Championship. In the past Brayden has won NETRA and ECEA championships at several levels of youth racing. He was the 2017 ECEA Horizon Award winner. For 2019 Trail Jesters KTM Racing is expanding into the GNCC Youth national championship chase with the addition of Brayden riding a KTM 105 SX in the YXC1 class.

Expanding our KTM based program and growing our GNCC presence and impact is what 2019 will be all about“, said Ross Mauri, founder of Trail Jesters. “This is the sixth year for Trail Jesters Racing and we have high expectations for rider development and success at all levels.

About: Trail Jesters Racing is a KTM factory support team. We have professional, amateur and youth offroad riders competing at the regional, national and international level in many formats of offroad racing. The Trail Jesters Racing team was established in January 2014.
Ben Kelley 2018 GNCC XC2 250 Pro champion.
Jesse Ansley 2018 GNCC XC3 125 Pro/Am champion.


2018 Snowshoe GNCC Team Report – Snowshoe, WV

Our visit to the mountain for this year’s GNCC round 9 was true to form as nicknamed “America’s Toughest Race.” Fog, rain, mud, roots and the challenging hills of West Virginia made for a great day of off road racing.

Ben Kelley started on row 2 for the exciting and unique live engine start modeled after the famous Blackwater 100 cross country event. Ben got off the line well and settled in with the top 15 riders overall as the track took them from high to low and back again on the Snowshoe mountain slopes, forests and fire roads. On lap two Ben, and his KTM mounted teammate Josh Toth, began to distance themselves from the other XC2 riders but continued to battle for the top class position as they moved up in the overall standings. On lap four Ben took over the lead and pushed hard to try to make the overall podium. At the checkers Ben took the XC2 win and landed 4th overall at the 12th annual Snowshoe GNCC.

Chris Bach returned to GNCC racing on a FMF equipped KTM 125 SX in the XC3 125 ProAm class. Chris had a great ride going running in the top three for the first six laps until a mechanical issue ended his run for the day. Chris had a lot of fun lining up in XC3 and I’m sure we will see him back again this year at a future round.

In the 250 A class Simon Johnson got a great start off the line and came around in third place after lap 1 and continued to push until taking over the lead on lap 3. Simon lead for the next four laps gapping second place by more than two minutes on the rough and slippery mountain course. On the last lap a fall on a steep uphill damaged Simon’s bike and required him to turn around and go back down the slope before restarting his race. The unfortunate crash broke his clutch lever and he had also surrendered the lead. Simon drove hard but came up 2 seconds short at the checkers but took a well earned 2nd place in class and 32nd overall for the day.

Owen Giese had his ups and downs at Snowshoe Mountain struggling at first and coming around in ninth place the first lap. But Owen kept charging and picking off riders until he took over 3rd place in class on lap five. From there Owen went on to score his first ever GNCC 250 A podium (3rd place) and 39th overall.

Chris Bach returns to GNCC Racing with Trail Jesters KTM Racing

Copake Lake, New York (June 18, 2018) – Trail Jesters KTM Racing is very pleased to announce today that Chris Bach has joined the team for the remainder of 2018. Bach will race a 2018 KTM 125 SX in select Grand National Cross Country XC3 125 ProAm and AMA Pro Motocross 125cc All Star events.

Chris hails from Crown Point, Indiana and was a long time professional offroad racer riding for both Honda and KTM before retiring from full time racing in 2017. Chris is now doing R&D work for KTM, in the commercial real estate business and riding for fun when he can. Chris had many successes throughout his professional career including multiple XC1 podiums at Snowshoe, WV. So it is quite fitting that Chris announce his return to the sport he loves and that he will ride select GNCC events in the XC3 125 ProAm class beginning at the upcoming Snowshoe GNCC on June 20.

“I’m elated to do some summer time racing with the Trail Jesters crew this year. I’ve been having more fun than ever riding my dirt bike after officially retiring from XC1 and full-time racing in 2017, which is really what sparked this whole idea. To be able to partner up with the Trail Jesters team at these events on a 125 is really icing on the cake. Ross and the whole crew have a passion for racing that I think is easily lost by many and I’m so fortunate and humbled to go racing and burn some premix with such a great group.” said Chris Bach “And I never raced XC2, let alone a 125, so I’m excited to experience GNCC racing in a new light on the small bore offering from KTM.”

Chris Bach in 2017 on his RPM Racing KTM 350 XC-F.

Also of note and very fitting to this next phase of racing for Chris is that he will run the number 133 on his bike in honor of the late Dale Cooke.

“Two stroke fever has swept the nation and we couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement and resurgence of racing these popular machines. After talking to Chris it was an easy decision to broaden our focus and support a great rider that wanted to get back into the sport he loves.” said Ross Mauri, the founder of Trail Jesters.

Thank you to KTM, FMF Racing, Motorex, and Edelmann’s Sales in Troy, NY for their continued support.

 

2018 John Penton GNCC Team Report – Millfield, OH

A 15 mile technical and muddy course turned the PM race of the John Penton GNCC into a grueling three hour affair for Trail Jesters KTM Racing riders Ben Kelley, Owen Giese and Simon Johnson.

Ben got off the XC2 line about mid-pack and came around on lap 1 in sixth place and over a minute off the class leader. Ben continued to charge forward putting down best in class times for laps 2 and 3 moving him into third place. Ben worked up into second place and only 20 seconds off fellow KTM rider Josh Toth at the scoring line on lap 4. But the final lap proved to be a tough one for Ben getting stuck in mud holes several times which drained his energy and so he cruised in to take 2nd in XC2 250 Pro at GNCC round 7. Ben’s FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F ran flawlessly and his pace in the mud and ruts garnered him seventh overall for the day.


Ben Kelley with a strong ride in the Ohio mud on his KTM 250XC-F (photo by Darrin Chapman)

In the 250 A class Simon Johnson had a terrific race getting a good start and coming around in second place in class on lap 1. The 17 year old continued to put down impressive lap times moving into first place with a minute and a half lead after three laps. But on lap four Simon got buried in a mud hole and lost 25 minutes getting himself out resulting in a frustrating sixth place finish for the day.

Owen Giese slid out in the first turn setting himself up for a charge up through the field. Owen put his New England riding background to good use moving up to third place in class by the end of lap 1. Owen continued to run very well maintaining his position and pace until getting stuck in the same mud hole as Simon on lap 4! It took Owen over 12 minutes to get out and he came across the line to take 4th place in 250 A class.


Simon (811) and Owen (322) ride FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F bikes from Edelmann Sales in Troy, New York. (photo by Darrin Chapman)

2018 X-Factor Whitetails GNCC Team Report – Peru, IN

Ben got off the starting line well but slowed in the extreme dust on the second and third straightaways leaving him to enter the woods in 14th place in class. At the end of the first lap Ben had worked his way up to 7th place but was 40 seconds off the lead and thus had his work cut out for him the remainder of the 3 hour race. Ben climbed up to 4th by lap 2 and then to 2nd place by lap 5 but still 30 seconds separated him from class leader Josh Toth. Ben put on a charge to try to catch his fellow KTM rider laying down his best lap time of the race on the white flag lap but fell 8 seconds short at the checkered flag. The spectators enjoyed another great battle from this pair of riders from Connecticut.

Ben’s FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F ran flawlessly and his pace landed him ninth overall for the day. Ben holds a 25 point lead in the XC2 250 Pro class series heading in GNCC round 7.

In the 250 A class Simon Johnson took 5th place and Owen Giese took 7th place. Simon and Owen ride FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F bikes from Edelmann Sales in Troy, New York. Simon is currently in third place for the 250 A series points with Owen in fourth place after six rounds.

2018 Camp Coker GNCC Team Report – Society Hill, SC

Ben Kelley takes second in XC2 250 Pro and seventh overall at Camp Coker GNCC in Society Hill, South Carolina.

Round 5 didn’t begin too well for Ben as he and another rider came together and went down in the second corner. After a good dirt sample Ben remounted and got going again albeit dead last in class. When he came around the first lap Ben was in 14th place in XC2 and more than a minute off the class leaders. Ben went to work and moved steadily up through the field until taking over the second spot by the half way point in the race … but still more than a minute behind race leader FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth. As the race progressed over the rough and dusty course Ben charged on his factory prepared FMF KTM 250 XC-F to finish second in XC2 250 Pro class by 12 seconds and his pace also landed him seventh overall for the day.

Ben retains the series points lead in XC2 250 Pro class heading in GNCC round 6.

In the 250 A class Simon Johnson worked his way from 12th in class after the first lap up to fourth place at the finish. While Owen Giese took 5th in 250 A class. Simon and Owen ride FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F bikes from Edelmann Sales in Troy, New York.

Simon is currently in third place for the 250 A series points with Owen in fourth place after five rounds.