Team FMF Makita Suzuki scored a top five finish in the first round of the 2011 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Championship at River Ranch, FL on Tuesday. Reigning GNCC XC1 Champion Josh Strang finished fourth on the rough and demanding 13-mile course in Florida. Teammate Josh Weisenfels injured his ankle in a practice crash the week before the event and did not compete.
Strang had a strong start aboard his FMF Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 and went into the woods in third position. He used the power of his Suzuki to move into first position about halfway through the first lap. A small mistake near the finish of the first lap put Strang back to second as they entered the woods for lap two. Strang eventually fell back to fourth but was able to make his way back up to third before a crash on the next to last lap put him back to fourth place. Strang rode strong to the end, crossing the line for a fourth-place finish.
"The race didn’t go quite how I wanted it to," said Strang. "I wanted to finish the race today with a win. I’m pretty disappointed about today. I did get a good start –I finally got my starts down. I’ve been practicing them all week and it’s important to get a good start here. I tightened up a bit the first two laps and kind of just rode around. I was able to get up to third but on the next to last lap I hit a couple roots and cartwheeled a bit and fell back to fourth. I’ll take fourth. My FMF Makita Suzuki team and my RMZ were great today. I’ll just pick it up and head on to Georgia."
FMF Makita Suzuki’s next event is The Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, GA on March 12 - 13.