Trail Jesters KTM Racing – Black Sky GNCC Race Report
Summer break has ended as we headed back to racing at the inaugural Black Sky GNCC in Harpursville, NY for round 10 of the series. This unfamiliar technical track littered with rocks and roots played into Ben Kelley’s style as the green flag flew and the XC2 line was off and rolling. Heading into the woods in 5th, Kelley played it smart hunting down his competition one by one and making the pass for the lead on the second lap. With heavy pressure from 2nd place for the first half of the race Kelley road smooth and consistently to then pull a lead in the second half of the race. “The track actually turned out to be a lot faster than I expected. You really had to focus and be on your toes or you would be on your head before you knew it. Fortunately, I managed to stay rubber side down all day.” As the racers hit the 3 hour mark and the checkered flag waved Ben Kelley would go on to finish the day taking the XC2 win, 5th overall, and clinching the XC2 championship for a second year in a row! Kelley stated, “It has been an amazing season so far. I’m undefeated in the XC2 class and it brought me my second championship. I couldn’t ask for more. I’m beyond happy to back up the season I has last year with an even better performance this time around.”
Chomping at the bit to get back to GNCC racing was Jesse Ansley. As the XC3 class took off buzzing at the wave of the start flag, Ansley grabbed another holeshot and quickly put on a sprint to gap the competition. Adapting to the new location of this event and different terrain than he prefers Jesse found himself leading the XC3 class and sitting 26th overall. With two laps to go and feeling determined, Ansley, put down a charge to try and climb up in the overall and would end the day taking home another XC3 win and 22nd overall. Ansley stated, “We got the class win, which at the end of the day is what’s most important, but I want to be fighting for top 15 overalls each and every race.” As we head into the final 3 rounds of the 2019 GNCC season Jesse is focusing on being healthy and taking it one race at a time. “The championship is coming down to the wire, and it’s mine to lose. The season has been awesome in my eyes. Cody and I have pushed each other to new levels and it’s getting us both ready for XC2 next year” said Jesse.
As the 250A class raced to the first corner, Simon Johnson got off to less than an ideal start on the day. Feeling determined to make up some ground, Johnson quickly began making moved and working his way up through the pack. While trying to catch up to the lead, small mistakes pushed him further from where he wanted to be. Holding down 4th place for the majority of the race, Simon got into a groove, and with the terrain feeling just like home, he was able to really make up ground at the end of the race, finishing the day 2nd 250A and 23rd overall. With a handful of races left in this season Simon reflected and stated “I feel like I’ve come a long way since the beginning of the year. I’m excited and confident heading into these last three rounds.”
In the morning Youth race, Brayden Nolette got a great jump off the line and rounded the first corner in 4th and made a pass for 3rd as he entered the woods. By the end of the first lap Brayden made his way into 2nd place with 1st place right in front of him. As the battle for the lead continued into the second lap he was able to make a pass and check in leading on lap 3. With the competition hot on his heels Brayden put down solid, consistent laps the rest of the race, “I felt like I was riding so smooth and picking good lines” he stated. Nolette came out on top as they crossed the finish line, taking his first YXC1 win of the season. “I am definitely a lot more confident now and it boosts my urge to come back in two weeks for more!” Nolette 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.