Trail Jesters KTM Racing – Tomahawk GNCC Race Report
After the day started with hot and sunny conditions the clouds began to roll in as the flag waved to start the PM race for round 7 of the GNCC series. Getting off to a good start, Ben Kelley entered the woods in 4th place and by the halfway mark of the first lap he was able to move into the XC2 class lead. As he tried to string together solid laps the weather turned and raining hard two different times during the race, changing the conditions completely. “I figured out early on into the race that I would have to ride smooth and carry a steady speed through the woods with the long deep ruts that were filled with rocks and roots. I just focused on always moving forward and picking good lines” Kelley said. With that mentally Kelley was able to move through the pack and found himself sitting physically 3rd overall and with a very dominant XC2 win by the end of the day. “I put together a good race even with the trying conditions and mayhem out on the course” he stated, “Being that this is one of the closest races to home for me I saw a lot of familiar faces and has a lot of friends there cheering me on. It definitely gave me more incentive to perform and have a strong finish. I’m going to try and carry the determination I had this past weekend into the rest of the season.”
Adding another hole shot to his record, Jesse Ansely got off to a killer start in the XC3 class. Shortly after getting into the woods he would find himself in a three-way battle for the lead, as the conditions worsened and the track began to fall apart, the battle would last the well into the first half of the race. Ansley stated “After 3 straight years of dust we finally had some epic conditions…for the first lap that is.” By the end of lap 5 Jesse settled into 2nd place in class and focused on putting down good laps until the checked flag. “I was still able to grab 2nd after a hectic day” said Ansley. Heading into the halfway point of the season Ansley is feeling ready and determined for the next race already, “Although Snowshoe is completely different from what I grew up in, I’ve been practicing hard and getting ready to conquer the mountain in a couple of weeks.”
Getting off to a bad start, Simon Johnson found himself playing catch up for the first half of the day while trying to learn the track and use that to his advantage. At the lap 4 mark Johnson started getting into a groove and was able to push himself in the tough conditions to the end. “The slick New York terrain made me feel right at home. It was much more familiar to me than some of the southern rounds.” Having that added feeling of comfort, Simon pushed through his competition and took home the 250A win, 1st Amateur OA, and his personal best 16th overall for the day. “Getting the win in at my home race is such a good feeling. I was extra nervous before this one knowing my friends and family had tuned out for mthe race. I’m really excited to see how the rest of the season goes” said Simon.
With a top 4 run off the line, Brayden Nolette was ready for battle as the YXC1 class headed into the woods. On the first lap he would make a pass taking over 3rd place, where he would sit until the 3rd lap mark. Laying down smooth and solid laps Brayden caught up to 2nd stating “I was feeling really loose and ready this race, I felt more comfortable going into this race. I made the pass on 2nd when he pitted and then caught 1st. Then Jojo and I battled almost all of the rest of the race.” The battle between the two rising stars was tight for more than half of the race with a few position changes while always staying within 10 seconds of each other as the passed through scoring each lap. At the checkered flag Brayden crossed the finish line 2nd YXC1 less than a 2 seconds behind the leader and 2nd OA. “Racing closer to home I felt like the terrain and dirt were more similar to what I usually ride and it felt much better to actually have an idea of what I was going to be riding on. I just like having the rocks and roots because that’s where we come from!” Brayden said.
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.