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.


2018 FMF Steele Creek GNCC Team Report – Morganton, NC

Ben Kelley claimed his third win in a row at Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, North Carolina. Ben got off the starting line in fourth place and took over the XC2 250 Pro class lead on lap 1 to go on and lead every lap to the wire. Ben battled through the first half of the race with fellow KTM rider Josh Toth as the duo worked their way up in the overall. In the later part of the race Ben opened up the lead eventually winning by over 2 minutes on his FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F. Ben’s pace also landed him in forth overall for the day on the rough North Carolina track. Ben has solidified his series points lead in XC2 250 Pro class heading in GNCC round 5.

In the 250 A class team riders Simon Johnson and Owen Giese both had setbacks on the start of the race but passed their way up in class throughout the three hour PM race climbing up to 4th and 5th at the checkers. Simon and Owen ride FMF equipped KTM 250 XC-F bikes from Edelmann Sales in Troy, New York. Simon remains in third 250 A series points with Owen in fifth place after four rounds.

2018 The General GNCC Team Report – Washington, GA

Ben Kelley took his second win in a row at The General GNCC in Washington, Georgia. Ben got off to a mid pack start and passed his way up to fifth place after the first lap. The class leaders had about a half a minute gap at that point and Ben set off to catch them. By lap 4 Ben had caught the class leader and passed a number of XC1 riders as well. The final two laps saw Ben continue his strong ride and eventually win the race by over a minute and a half. Ben’s speed and fitness has allowed him to move into the points lead in XC2 250 Pro class heading in GNCC round 4.

In the 250 A class team riders Simon Johnson and Owen Giese battled through a tough A250 class to claim 5th and 10th in class. Simon sits third in the series points with Owen in fourth pace after three rounds.

2018 Wild Boar GNCC Team Report – Palatka, FL

The Wild Boar GNCC is always a tough race with track conditions that push riders to their limit. Team rider Ben Kelley got off to a mid pack start in the PM race. Ben then worked his way up to 4th in class on lap one and began to reel in his training partner and fellow KTM rider Josh Toth on lap two as the duo battled for the lead until the end. We are stoked that Ben claimed his first GNCC XC2 250 Pro class win and 4th overall in the Florida sand. Ben heads into GNCC round 3 tied for the lead in the XC2 250 Pro series points.

In the 250 A class team riders Simon Johnson and Owen Giese pushed each other for the majority of the race taking 4th and 5th in class with personal best 34th and 35th overall. Simon now sits third in the series points with Owen in fourth place after two rounds.


2017 GNCC Year in Review

Ben Kelley and Mackenizie Tricker feature in our 2017 GNCC highlights reel. We also give a few shout outs to our great sponsors and crew.