Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC – River Ranch, FL
JG Off Road kicked off their inaugural season at Round #1 of the GNCC season in River Ranch, FL. The weather was cool and blustery, but perfect for racing. The track on the other hand wasn’t so perfect as the riders had to battle a quickly deteriorating track, palmetto roots, and thick dust.
Jennifer Albright was the first of the JG Off Road crew to take on the FL sand. Albright, a FL native felt very comfortable in the sand and set her pace early. Going into the woods in third place, Jennifer put on her charge early and quickly moved up to 2nd place behind KTM rider, Angel Atwell. Jennifer and Angel swapped places a few times throughout the race, allowing Jennifer to be in the lead for 2 laps. Jennifer found herself tangled up behind some lap riders, where Atwell was able to regain and hold the lead. Jennifer took a 2nd place class and overall finish for the day.
Jennifer would like to thank of her sponsors: GEICO, MSR, Lojak Yamaha, MAXXIS, HMF, HiPer Technology, Rekluse, GT Thunder, Spider Grips, Precision, XFR, Cycle Gear, Scott, Flexx, CV4, IMS, ProGraph-X, Triple X Motorsports, PowerMadd, and DP Brakes.
With a day to practice and check out course conditions, the JG Off Road bike gang consisting of Paul Whibley (XC1 - #2), Jimmy Jarrett (XC1 - #6), and Scotty Watkins (XC2 - #15), prepped for a long, grueling 3 hour race. On the eve of the race, the first “Mechanics’ Challenge” was held. Jimmy Jarrett along with his trusty mechanic Jimmy Woodford entered and were quick on the draw – getting the rear tire on and off the bike in under 2 minutes. “Team Jimmy” as they were being called took an astounding 2nd place finish in the Challenge behind Kurt Caselli and his mechanic Charlie.
Jarrett had a great start, heading into the woods in 3rd place. Whibley however didn’t start with luck on his side, getting a late start after having to kick the bike a couple of times. Once his KX450F was started the race was on and he quickly gained ground settling in to 5th for the first few laps of the race.
As the race went on, Jimmy fell back a few spots to 6th place (7th O/A) and settled in there through the finish. Whibley did just the opposite and put on his usual late race charge. He had the crowd, his new wife Katherine and his team holding their breath as he battled his way to the front. The radio was filled with talk of the top three and the position changes going on as Whibley moved up one by one. Whibs ended his day taking the #2 spot on the podium behind Suzuki pilot Charlie Mullins. Nate Kanney rounded out the overall podium.
XC2 Rider, Scotty Watkins jumped to a mid-pack started and worked his way up to 3rd place. Scotty held his 3rd place position strong through most of the race. Watkins ignored the cold and congestion he had been fighting for a week or more as long as he could but it eventually caught up with him. By the end of the 3 hour dust catastrophe, Scotty had only been able to hold on to a 5th place (16 O/A) finish for the day. All things considered, a fine start to the season.
JT and Gretchen Bennett are thrilled with the way their new team has started off the season. Team Manager/Owner, JT Bennett commented, “We couldn’t be happier with how everyone did. Florida is never an easy start for anyone, but everyone hung in there very well… and to for 2 of our 4 riders to podium is an added bonus.”
The team would like to extend a special thanks to all of their sponsors: GEICO, Kawasaki, Moose, Pirelli, Tsubaki, IMS, Works Connection, EBC Brakes, Silkolene, Renthal, Pro Moto Billet, Enduro Engineer, PG Graphics, and Acerbis.
In addition, the guys would like to thank the following sponors:
Paul Whibley – Leo Vince, Shoei, Smith, G-2, Vortex Ignitions, WER, and CTI
Jimmy Jarrett – FMF, Arai, Motion Pro, Cytomax, Applied, UFO, Twin Air, and BRP
Scotty Watkins - FMF and Shoei
And of course a huge thank you to our fans.
The GNCC series will continue on March 7 & 8 for the Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, GA.