We are the Trail Jesters
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.|
We are very pleased to announce Brayden Nolette as the first 2019 team signing. Brayden will ride a 2019 KTM 105 XC in the GNCC YXC1 14-16 Super Mini Class.
Brayden has been a NETRA member and racer since the age of seven. Now 14 years old, Brayden is a multi-time champion winning the 2016 NETRA Mini Hare Scramble series, 2016 NETRA Mini Enduro series and 2017 ECEA Hare Scramble 12-13 Super Mini series.
For 2018 Brayden is contesting multiple ECEA series and currently carries the points lead in the 14-16 Super Mini Hare Scramble, School Boy 1 Hare Scramble and 14-16 Super Mini Sprint Enduro classes.
Our full 2019 offload racing team will be announced in November.
Ben Kelley was on fire at the Rattlesnake National Enduro round 6 held in Cross Fork, Pennsylvania. Ben surprised everyone with a fast start to the day taking second place overall on the short 3 mile test 1. He then continued to battle for a podium spot throughout the next three tests. Heading into the final test 6 (test 5 was canceled) Ben was sitting in third place overall and down 2 seconds to fellow KTM rider Stu Baylor. Ben’s charge saw him ride to the test win by 17 seconds and to secure a personal best second overall for the day. Ben heads in to round seven of the National Enduro series sitting in third place in championship points.