ACES Appalachian Championship Enduro Series
Round 3: Ohio Woods Riders’ Grassman Enduro
Story by Heather Wilson
Photos by Heather Wilson/HeatherNWilson.com
NORWICH, OH, MAY 5, 2013
It was an inaugural event for the Ohio Woods Riders. The club hosted a new race in the ACES series that had many riders unsure of what to expect.
“I didn’t really know what to expect of the enduro, since it was a new event,” said KTM rider Josh Gaitten. “I was told it was going to be tougher than either of the first two events, but most people’s ‘tough’ and my ‘tough’ are usually two different things.”
He said that he entered the race with the same attitude as always.
“I just try to race the trail in front of me,” said Gaitten. “Not knowing what to expect for this new event, I just wanted to stay positive and focus on picking good lines and being smart.”
The enduro was 135 miles of fresh trail, a mix of tight woods and open grass-track. A week of good weather made for a great race day.
“You couldn’t have asked for better weather or trail conditions,” said KTM rider Brandon Ivanac. “As long as you had a good tire on, you were good to go.”
Many riders struggled through the first section, which was a little over four miles, due to the muddy trail conditions. The AA riders dropped anywhere from four to six points in the first section.
Wheelsports-backed riders once again competed against each other for the win. Gaitten captured the overall win, dropping 26 points. KTM-mounted Trevor Kline grabbed the second-place spot, dropping 28 points. Beta rider Rodney Judson, a veteran AA rider, earned himself the third-place spot, dropping 29 points.
Josh Gaitten has raced the ACES series since its first season in 2008.
“I was racing the District 11 Enduro Series, which turned into ACES, before that,” said Gaitten. “I love enduros, because you get to race on better trail than a hare scramble/ GNCC. It’s usually single-track and not beat-up, trashed trail.”
Training and endurance go hand in hand when it comes to off-road racing. However, Gaitten said his training isn’t anything like it used to be.
“If I’m lucky, I may get to swing a leg over the bike for an hour or two during the week or do some pedaling if I get home from work in time,” said Gaitten. “It’s definitely not what I’d like to put into it, but it’s – unfortunately – all I’m able to do.”
Most riders would agree that it takes some time to figure out a newly purchased bike. Gaitten had no qualms about buying a new bike the Friday before the event. Then he spent most of the next day mounting stuff on it.
“I got it together in just enough time before dark to take a ride up the road, only to discover the jetting was not to my liking,” said Gaitten. “I contacted Wally at Wheelsports to see what his jetting suggestions were. He brought me a needle to the event on Sunday; we threw it in the bike, and it ran perfectly all day. It was pretty amazing to get a win on a bike I’d only ridden for five minutes the day before the race!”
Gaitten was satisfied with his win.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he said. “I’ve been struggling to find my form after fracturing my hip towards the end of the season last year, which, ultimately, took me out of championship contention. It feels good to get a win under my belt, but I just want to keep the ball rolling and take it one race at a time. I feel like I’m still capable of winning races and championships. I just want to do my thing, focus on my riding and make good decisions on race day, so I can be in a good position at the end of the year.”
Gaitten thanked Wheelsports for their support.
“It’s awesome to have a shop behind you that’s as enthusiastic about your results and your riding as you are,” said Gaitten, who also thanked his parents. “They have always been my biggest sponsor and supporters of me and my racing, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today!”
Husaberg-mounted Michael Jolly took the Overall A for the third straight race this season, dropping 29 points. Yamaha rider Broc Hepler, a past Factory Yamaha and Factory Suzuki motocross competitor, was right on Jolly’s tail, dropping 30 points. KTM jockey Joe Uhrig rounded out the third spot in Overall A, dropping 33 points.
You could say that racing enduros is in Jolly’s blood. He said his dad used to race enduros, and his parents took him to races growing up.
“I was basically born into it,” commented Jolly.
Since the Grassman Enduro was a new race in the series, trail conditions and the difficulty levels were unknown factors, because there was no history for riders to use as comparison.
“I expected the race to be more technical than the previous two enduros, which it was,” said Jolly. “This race had longer sections than what we have seen all year. With these longer sections, fitness played a part.”
Jolly said he really enjoyed the first section.
“Normally, I get a slow start at races,” he noted, “but I had a really good first section that gave me confidence for the rest of the day. There’s always things you can do better or differently, but overall it was just a good day.”
He thanked Moose Racing, Smith’s Powersports, FastAM Productions, FMF, EVS, Twin Air and ODI. He also thanked his wife, Lauren.
Brandon Ivanac was a first-time enduro competitor who managed to snag the Overall B, dropping 36 points and beating his fellow KTM rider Jake Walters by seven points. Aaron Cooney, another KTM rider and the Overall B winner of the first two races of the season, finished in third place in the Overall B category.
Ivanac’s racing career began in 2009. Now he races whenever he can find the time. Although he’s ridden for a few years, he is a newcomer to the enduro world.
“I discovered ACES when a few of my buddies told me how good the series is,” Ivanac said. “The virgin trails are by far the best part of enduros. It’s so much better than riding the same clapped-out track lap after lap in hare scrambles.”
He said he also likes the small breaks between tests.
“It gives me time for a breather and to shake the arm pump,” he said.
He said the enduro was “a little harder than expected” because he is not used to being on a bike for that long.
“Six hours is quite a bit different than a two-hour hare scrambles,” said Ivanac. “Following the arrows was pretty difficult for me at first. I was on row seven, so there wasn’t much of a trail to be looking for in most spots. I passed up all kinds of turns in the first test, which cost me some time. After that, I realized I had to slow down a little and pay more attention. I’m definitely hoping to make it to a few more ACES races this year and contend for the overall B again.”
He thanked Jason Smith and Mike Wist for keeping him on time and showing him the ropes.
“If it weren’t for them,” Ivanac confessed, “I would have been totally lost.”
The Appalachian Championship Enduro Series is a traditional time-keeping enduro series. The next race, the Little Raccoon Enduro, will count as rounds four and five of the ACES Series, in addition to being one of the two ISDE Qualifiers to be held this year. The event will take place on May 25 and 26 in Wellston, Ohio. It is hosted by the Appalachian Dirt Riders.
ACES thanks the following sponsors for contributing to the growth of this series and supporting its riders: Caton’s Cycle Center, Clinton County Motorsports, Cycra, Enduro Engineering, Fly Racing, Husqvarna, JM Cycle, Kenda, KRW Cycles, KTM, Leatt, Moose Racing, Ohio Motorcycle, Osburn Associates, Point View Cycles, Remhert’s KTM/ Kawasaki, Smith’s Power Sports, Sport Cycles, Western Power Sports and Wheelsports.
For more race results, the series schedule, and rules, please visit www.ACES-RACES.com.
Ohio Woods Riders’ Grassman Enduro
Results: May 5, 2013 (Round 3)
AA: 1. Josh Gaitten (KTM); 2. Trevor Kline (KTM); 3. Rodney Judson (Bet); 4. Johnny Barber (Hbg).
200 A: 1. Cody Meeks (KTM); 2. Chuck Foust (KTM); 3. Shane Sims (KTM).
250 A: 1. Broc Hepler (Yam); 2. Mike Molnar (KTM); 3. Tyler Chadwell (KTM); 4. Nathan Bidwell (KTM).
OPEN A: 1. Michael Jolly (Hbg); 2. Tyler Jarvis (GG); 3. Grant Smith (KTM); 4. Bob Heinzerling (KTM).
VET A: 1. Joe Uhrig (KTM); 2. Rick McAtee (Kaw); 3. Billy Farmer (Hsq); 4. Brian Sovak (Yam).
SR A: 1. John Grimm (KTM); 2. Wayne Perdue (KTM); 3. Brian Newberry; 4. Mike Vancise (Yam).
SUPER SR A: 1. Roger Nichols (KTM); 2. Doug Rinehart (KTM); 3. Mark Lederle (KTM); 4. Scott Klamfoth (KTM).
200 B: 1. Brad Graves (KTM); 2. Seth Littler (KTM); 3. Nick Fisher (KTM); 4. Jeffery Kitchen (KTM).
250 B: 1. Brandon Ivanac (KTM); 2. Jake Walters (KTM); 3. Garrett Coe (Kaw); 4. Garet Bennett (KTM).
OPEN B: 1. Aaron Cooney (KTM); 2. Adam Clark (KTM); 3. Thomas Wildenauer II (KTM); 4. Travis Jarvis (KTM).
VET B: 1. Christopher Kight (KTM); 2. Sam Martucci (KTM); 3. Jade Smith (KTM); 4. Trent Gardner (KTM).
SR B: 1. Chris Ray (Yam); 2. Aaron Risden (KTM); 3. Ken Szewczyr; 4. Chuck Freeze (KTM).
SUPER SR B: 1. Edward Morra Jr.; 2. Ron Valdman (KTM); 3. Charles Niederriter (Hbg); 4. Bill Green (KTM).
MASTERS B: 1. Bill Moroz (KTM); 2. Lennie Rhoades (KTM); 3. Alan Gale (KTM).
OPEN C: 1. Shawn Werner; 2. Wayne Farnsworth (Hon); 3. Ben Dempster 4. Jeff Turesher.
SCHOOLBOY C: 1. Brexton Mitchell (KTM).