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2020 Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team

Copake Lake, N.Y. (January 8, 2020) – Trail Jesters KTM Racing is pleased to introduce our five rider 2020 roster of professional and amateur athletes that will compete at the regional, national and international level. Our primary series is GNCC where we field three XC2 250 Pro, one WXC and one 150A rider. We will also contend the Full Gas Sprint Enduro series in Pro2 class and compete in select New England regional events.

Jesse Ansley is the reigning two time GNCC XC3 125 Pro/Am champion and a multi time national champion at many levels of amateur and youth racing. For 2020 Jesse will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in the GNCC XC2 250 Pro class and Full Gas Sprint Enduro Pro2 class.

Johnny Girroir is a five time New England JDay Offroad champion. For 2020 Johnny will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in the GNCC XC2 250 Pro class and Full Gas Sprint Enduro Pro2 class.

Simon Johnson is the reigning GNCC National Amateur Rider of the Year and 250A Class Champion. For 2020 Simon will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in the GNCC XC2 250 Pro class.

Taylor Johnston is a multi-time New England Women’s champion in NETRA Hare Scrambles and JDay Offroad Sprint Enduro. Taylor is the reigning two time “Tough like RORR” Women’s Champion. For 2020 Taylor will ride a KTM 250 XC-F in the GNCC WXC class.

Brayden Nolette is a multi-time NETRA and ECEA Youth champion. Brayden finished 2019 as 2nd GNCC Youth Overall in his first year racing at the national level. For 2020 Brayden will ride a KTM 125 SX in the GNCC 150A class.

“I’m very pleased to see the Trail Jesters KTM Racing rider line up for 2020”, said Antti Kallonen, Manager of KTM Off-road Racing. “I applaud their development of young talent and will continue to look to the team to produce offroad champions for the KTM brand.”

“Last year was truly rewarding on many levels. We learned a lot, we achieved a lot and I’m very proud of all the riders and support crew focus and dedication paying off.”, said Ross Mauri, founder of Trail Jesters. “I want to see these five riders continue to progress in 2020 and I appreciate the opportunity that KTM and our sponsors have provided for us.”

Team Sponsors: KTM, FMF Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Dunlop Tires, Motorex, Edelmann Sales, Bullet Proof Designs, P3 Carbon, Motool, Specialized, Seat Concepts, IMS Products, TF Racing Suspension, Hinson Racing, Squid Decals, Nihilo Concepts, XCGear, Action Trailer Leasing, Reeva Transport, SuperB Batteries, and ZR Throttle.

We are pleased to partner with Steve Hatch Racing for rider training and coaching.

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.

2018 National Enduro rd 6 – Cross Fork, PA

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.


Ben Kelley with 2-3-4-3-1 test scores for 2nd overall at Rattlesnake National Enduro.

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 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.