Gas Gas Offroad on the Podium at 24 Hour Challenge
Riders and teams from around the country gathered in Maplesville Alabama for the 10th annual running of the Gas Gas Offroad Perry Mountain 24 Hour Challenge.
In their first ever attempt at the hot and grueling 24 hour race, the newly formed six man Gas Gas Offroad racing squad fought hard, overcoming an unexpected mid race set back to claim 3rd place overall behind the winning team of FMF KTM lead by motocross-offroad legend Mike Brown, and eventual runner up Quality Time KTM featuring MX hero John Dowd.
The action started quickly for the Gas Gas team as 6 time Texas Enduro Circuit champion Haydn Franklin roosted off the start laying down solid lap times on the 10 mile dusty open course settling into 4th place behind the two KTM teams, and Action Kawasaki.
The second rider in the Gasser line-up, another Texas native and National Enduro contender Cole Kirkpatrick immediately turned in impressive laps and was able to move the team into podium position as the Quality Time KTM team ran into problems early.
For the next 6 hours the impressive FMF KTM team steadily increased their lead while the talented Gas Gas squad put in consistent laps to stretch their lead over 3rd place by over 13:00 minutes. As dusk fell all appeared to be going as planned, when the Gas Gas XC 300 Race model lost a top shock bolt forcing rider Stephen Edmondson to be towed back into the pits.
It was an impressive pit stop for the Gas Gas team. Crew members Richard Kirkpatrick, Neil Tucker, Taras Massey and Chuck Ware put Edmondson back on course in just 13 minutes but the time lost still dropped the team outside of the top 5 overall.
As night fell and the lights came out the team kept pushing. A strategic and risky change in the rider line-up by crew chief Ben Weathers was designed for a late night charge which left former SERA Champion Carsten Cagle, Haydn Franklin, Jeff Melik and Sorcs Champion Ben Hobbs to pull the load throughout the grueling night shift so Edmondson and Kirkpatrick could push to the checkers after sunrise.
The strategy paid off largely in part to Cagle, Franklin and Melik gutting out tremendous night shift rides which helped set up Ben Hobbs to make the pass on the Action Kawasaki team for 3rd place at day break in an off camber section of the course.
After making the pass for podium position Hobbs handed the bike off to a rested Cole Kirkpatrick who was able to extend the gap over the 4th place team before he handed off to the teams finisher, Stephen Edmondson. As he did the whole event, Edmondson would put in a solid ride to secure a podium finish by a comfortable margin.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the riders, the pit crew, and the bike” said Gas Gas National Sales Manager Clay Stuckey “These guys fought all night and never gave up”
Gas Gas Offroad would like to thank: Enduro Engineering, Rekluse Motorsports, Thunderbird Energetica, Trail Tech, RidePG.com and Motorex USA for their support.
About Gas Gas Offroad US:
The Peachtree City Georgia based company is the exclusive distributor of the Spanish built premium brand Gas Gas Offroad Motorcycles in the United States.
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