Once again, the team split up and headed to two different race tracks on Saturday, as the EnduroCross team, lead by team manager JT Bennett headed to Columbus, OH and the GNCC team went just an hour and a half east to St. Clairsville, OH with support from Gretchen Bennett and Mark Weiland.
The track this week was tight and technical, but the crew had slightly more room to work with than in South Carolina, allowing for faster speeds and the opportunities for devastating mistakes and lead swapping.
All three riders (Ryan Rodgers, Eric Rodgers, and Wally Palmer) were qualified for the evening program at this week’s event with both Rodgers boys in the Amateur Main Event. After an awesome start, the Rodgers brothers were out in front of the pack, making the track look easy. Ryan (aka R2) took the win, closely followed by Eric. This finish qualified them both for the Dash for Cash, in which R2 led for most of the race, but a small mistake cost him the win, allowing for Eric to cash in on the $500 top of the podium finish. For the Expert heat races, semi’s, and LCQ, all three riders were so close to qualifying positions for the Expert Main, but unfortunately fell slightly short each time. Each race they have shown improvement and are hungry to get into that main before the end of the season.
This race gave way to a new winner with Geoff Aaron taking top honors in the center of the podium, Taddy Blazusiak took second and Colton Hakker saw his first podium on the year, rounding out the top 3.
The EnduroCross team would like to extend a special thanks to all of their sponsors: GEICO, Lojaks Yamaha, B&B Yamaha, MSR, Pirelli, Rekluse, Tsubaki, IMS, Works Connection, EBC Brakes, Silkolene, Renthal, Pro Moto Billet, Enduro Engineer, PowersportGrafx, and Acerbis.
And of course a huge thank you to our fans.
The EnduroCross series will continue on October 24 in Denver, CO.
Now onto the GNCC. The track had seen a lot of rain during the week leading up to the race, giving way to muddy conditions for the quads. Sun and wind on Saturday, as well as over 500 quads roughing it up – the mud tacked up by Sunday, giving the bikes different terrain to take on.
Jennifer Albright jumped to a rough start this round, getting behind on the start and having to push her way through the pack all day. Although having multiple issues throughout the day, battling other riders and a muddy, tough track; Albright kept her spirits up and her head down throughout the day. Despite all of her efforts, Jennifer took a 6th place class finish on the day. With one round to go, Jennifer currently sits in 4th place in the points standings.
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, Moto Pro Training, and DP Brakes.
As previously mentioned, the muddy mess that the quads had to deal with turned into tacky and sometimes slippery mud for the bikes, pair that with a couple big mudholes, and you’ve got yourself some great GNCC racing.
Whibley and Jarrett got off to a mid pack start and pulled each other up through the ranks during the first lap. Whibley put on his normal charge and found himself up to 2nd place by the end of the first lap with Jarrett on his tail in 3rd. Throughout the next 4 laps, Whibley exchanged positions with Charlie Mullins, but after a front end wash out and another slip up after jumping a mud hole, Mullins was able to pull away from Whibley, putting him in 3rd for the day. Whibley had the chance to wrap up the Championship this weekend, but his championship rival, Josh Strang wasn’t prepared to give up his hopes taking the battle down to the finale in Crawfordsville, IN. "The title was on my mind early in the day, but once I started riding, I didn't really think about it," said New Zealand's Whibley, who could have clinched the title if he had beaten Strang. "I just didn't have it for those guys today. Josh and Charlie rode awesome and third was the best I could do." This finish allows Whibley to remain in the points lead. Jimmy Jarrett ended up taking a 5th place class finish (8th overall), bumping him back up into 4th place in the points with one round to go.
Scotty Watkins was racing what could be considered his home turf – living just an hour and a half away from this track, and had the fan base there to prove it. The mudhole was a sea of yellow GEICO shirts with Watkins fans making sure he didn’t miss a beat (or get stuck) in the thick, deep, Ohio mud. Watkins got off to a good start and held strong for the rest of the race, even taking the lead at one point. Battling with Jason Thomas and Cory Buttrick all day, a slight mistake let Buttrick get the best of him and land Watkins a 3rd place finish on the day (10th overall). This finish bumped Scotty into the top 10 in points with only one race left in the season.
Strang – 1st
Mullins – 3rd
Whibley – 3rd
Thomas – 1st
Buttrick – 2nd
Watkins – 3rd
The team would like to extend a special thanks to all of their sponsors: GEICO, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Moose, Pirelli, Tsubaki, IMS, Works Connection, EBC Brakes, Silkolene, Renthal, Pro Moto Billet, Enduro Engineer, PowersportGrafx, and Acerbis.
In addition, the guys would like to thank the following sponsors:
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
JT Bennett – MSR and Lojaks Yamaha
And of course a huge thank you to our fans.
The GNCC series will continue on October 24th and 25th for the Klotz Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, IN. The ITP Powerline Park GNCC will air on the VS network October 31st at 4:00 PM (ATV) and November 7th at 4:00 PM (Bikes). For a full listing of the TV schedule, visit: http://www.gnccracing.com/pages/gncc-television.