John Penton GNCC: Win number 2 for Josh Strang the mud master
Babbitt’s Kawasaki’s Josh Strang bounced back from injury to take the 2022 Grand National Cross Country round seven victory at a mudfest John Penton GNCC.
We were guaranteed a new winner at the John Penton GNCC, round seven of the season. By virtue of the sad fact the six-time winner this season so far, Ben Kelley, has a broken leg following a crash last week at the Lead Belt AMA National Enduro.
That NEPG round also scuppered Steward Baylor’s planned comeback and it’s fair to say both would have been aiming for what is probably the coolest winner’s trophy in dirt bike racing.
The new keeper of the 2022 John Penton gas tank trophy is the winner from 2021, Josh Strang.
It must be something about the dirt in Ohio for Josh but this weekend’s John Penton ran in typical conditions with rain turning the course slick and testing for afternoon race.
After grabbing the holeshot away from the line and into the woods for the first time, the Babbitt’s Kawasaki rider basically lead every lap and took flag-to-flag win – after his injuries suffered earlier in the season it was a sweet second time holding that trophy aloft for Josh.
The 2022 season hasn’t been kind to a few of the leading names in the GNCC series and Coastal GASGAS’s Ricky Russell is firmly on that list. Russell was steadily battling in the top three all race and pushed hard in the final lap to close Strang down before ultimately coming home just over 10 seconds adrift.
Magna1 Motorsports Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn is no stranger to putting his bike on the box and, despite some pressure from Josh Toth, ran top three for the majority of the race and maintains a strong second position in the overall standings.
2022 John Penton GNCC results:
First XC2 win of ’22 for Barnes
Phoenix Racing’s Cody Barnes earned his first overall win of the season after taking the lead when Lyndon Snodgrass made a mistake and set the top three free. Barnes needed no second invitation and proceeded to pick off the XC1 class boys in the mud, finishing sixth overall and taking a hard-earned maiden XC2 250 win.
Coastal GASGAS had a double podium visit in the Pro classes with Ryder Lafferty putting in a hard charge late in the race, much like teammate Russell it was a not quite enough but second was a solid result adn it looked like Ryder enjoyed the mud! Tely Energy KTM’s Liam Draper completed the podium in third place.
As the dirt dried out and the champagne was supped from boots, the absent Ben Kelley continues to hold a comfortable points lead overall with Mr Consistant Jordan Ashburn second ahead of Trevor Bollinger who suffered a lengthy pitstop to finish 17th.
Lyndon Snodgrass lost a little gorund on Mike Witkowski in the XC2 but still holds a 20 point advantage
2022 GNCC series points after round 7:
WXC win for Jones
Sunday’s AM race was humid but a lot drier and Rockstar Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones took the win. A mid-pack start meant Jones had to climb her way through the field. Staying strong to through the final lap allowed Tayla to pull clear and take the win half a minute clear by the flag.
Starting off the race with the holeshot, Brandy Richards took a dive off the FMF KTM at turn three. That meant a back of the pack charge was on the cards but Richards got back in the hunt and battled to an eventual second-place overall finish.
AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer was the third rider in with a shout and in fact lead for two laps but ultimately could not hang on had to concede a third place finish.
Shout-out to Thor Powell who not only took home the 150 Schoolboy win but finished an impressive fourth overall behind Archer. Powell did it in this kinda fashion...
2022 John Penton AM race results:
Round eight of the GNCC season takes place on June 4-5 in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania with the Mason-Dixon GNCC.
Photo Credit: Mack Faint + Ken Hill