Ryan Sipes: Ryan Sipes, the ISDE overall champion, was Husqvarna-mounted on Barry Hawks’ new
Coastal team. Ryan is a motocrosser who is still
looking for the three-hour speed necessary to contend in the GNCCs.
Charlie Mullins: Also back in the saddle after a
full year of recovering from wrist surgery was multi-time champion Charlie Mullins. Everyone was concerned about his nearly fused wrist and its ability to
take the pounding lashed out by the viscous circuits.
Other notables included Thad Duvall, now
Husky-mounted on the FAR/Rocky Mountain ATV
team; Daniel Milner; Grant Baylor mounted on the
YZ450FX for the N-Fab/Am Pro Yamaha team; and
JCR’s Chris Bach and Trevor Bollinger racing Honda
CRFs. Ricky Russell, Steward Baylor, Jason Thomas,
Cory Buttrick and Jordon Ashburn all have new rides
and would play a role in the main event.
Josh Strang came off the start with guns blazing.
He dominated the Palatka, Florida, opener with
some newfound speed and, in spite of not feeling
overly confident racing in the sand chop, Josh and
his Husky took the win over Daniel Milner (YZ450FX),
who is considered to be the star of the Sprint
Enduro series. Kailub Russell ended up third and not
happy about it. He crashed in the first turn and went
from dead last into the top five by the halfway point.
He tangled with Thad Duvall and went down hard,
putting him way back in the field. By the finish he
had caught Milner!
JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger
started out the year on fire
winning both of the XC2 Pro
Lites races on his CRF250R.
Photo: Ken Hill