Team Suzuki’s Josh Strang’s: Race Recap on the John Penton GNCC, Ohio
Photos: Matt Ware/KJ dug out of the DB files
The John Penton GNCC has been known for either extremely muddy or extremely dusty races and luckily this year it was looking good to be a perfect track and conditions for the Sunday race.  I had a good lead (in the series points) up to the race and I’d been back in California training at Rodney Smith’s house for two weeks prior to the race so I was feeling really good and confident that I could get another win.

I was happy to see the track rut and roughen up in the morning races. After walking the track I knew my suspension setup would work well since I tend to run a little stiffer combination, which keeps the bike up in the ruts and lets me get more aggressive when the terrain deteriorates.
    I have struggled all year with starts and this race was no different, I was last into the first corner and had to start from the back once again.  Half way through the first lap I had navigated up into 4th or 5th and then we got into some new virgin trail, it was some of the tightest stuff I have raced on in GNCC and was actually hard to “race” because it was impossible to pass.  By the time I came out onto the track I was in third and only 12 seconds back from the front two.  Charlie Mullins, Barry Hawk and I had a little group going and I thought we were going along pretty good, I got stuck in a little hole and dropped back to 5th behind those guys.  By the end of the 2nd lap my time was 40 seconds slower than the two leaders and this shocked me since I thought I had a pretty good pace going.  Lap three I picked up the pace again and was still off, by this time I was a minute down going into gas and after a few words from my team I figured it was time to put my head down and close the gap.  My Suzuki was running awesome and I was able to push for the whole lap and coming into the finish I figured I had closed the gap back down to under a minute and hopefully close enough to catch them.  I was surprised that they again pulled 25 seconds on me.  The last two laps after realizing that the gap wasn’t getting any smaller I backed it down a little and stayed in third until the finish.

I’m still in the championship hunt, which is what’s important, and I’m excited to get to snow shoe to get my Suzuki back up in the winner’s circle. One again I’d like to thank everyone at my FMF Makita Suzuki team, and the guys at Moose, Smith, Shoei, Sidi, and Foremost Insurance for the awesome help they give me. Thanks for all your help and go and check out my new website at

Editor’s Note: There was some conjecture about the results as several of the racers were reported by spectators as having a hot line in the woods. Still, there was no formal protest by any of the teams.

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