We are the Trail Jesters
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.
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.
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.
Ben Kelley got off to a slow start at Dragon Back National Enduro round 4 in Arrington, VA. But by test 3 Ben started to pick up his pace and with the final two tests moved up to 5th in NE Pro1 class and the overall.
Kelley: “I felt like I rode good in the last two tests. I was just not aggressive enough in the beginning so I was just off pace.”
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.
Ben Kelley takes 4th overall at Red Fox National Enduro round 3 in Lynnville, IN. The rain soaked and super muddy single track made for tough enduro conditions … just the way it should be. Ben had solid 4th place test scores but in test5 got stuck for a bit and found the ground too many times. Ben sits in 3rd place National Enduro NE Pro1 championship series points heading into round 4.
Kelley: “It went ok, I rode decent. I think I could have rode a lot better but I was sick all week with a stomach bug so I couldn’t eat or drink water. I was really low on energy.”