FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang captured his sixth podium finish of the season – out of a possible seven -- at the 2011 Grand National Cross Country Series at the John Penton GNCC in Millfield, OH, on Sunday. With this third-place finish, Strang is now 14 points ahead of second place in the title chase of the XC1 bike class.
In Sunday’s race, Strang got off to a promising start on his FMF Makita Suzuki RM-Z450, but suffered a get-off in the second turn of the event. As a result, Strang had to pick off the competition on his way back to the front of the pack.
“I got a good start on the FMF Makita Suzuki RM-Z450,” said Strang. “So my run of good starts is still intact. But I got run wide in the first turn and then, in the second turn, someone ran into a few of us and took us out.”
Undaunted, the FMF Makita Suzuki rider put his head down and worked his way back into the top five by the halfway point of the race. When the checkers flew, Strang had moved into the third podium spot.
“The first lap was decent, I think I was close to the front,” said Strang. “On the second lap, I lost a little ground in a really tight section, but after that, I started picking guys off, and on the last lap I caught Cory Buttrick and passed him for third… The FMF Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 was perfect and pulled really strong on these tough hills.”
Strang and his FMF Makita Suzuki crew are looking at a few months of downtime as the series goes on hiatus for the remainder of the summer. Although he extended his lead over second place in the overall championship points standings this weekend, Strang isn’t resting on his laurels until September.
“We’ve got two months off,” said Australian Strang. “I’ll spend a bit of time with my parents, who are coming in from Australia. But then, we’ll get back down to work and get ready for Unadilla.”
The 2011 FMF Makita Suzuki team’s next event is Sunday, September 11, in New Berlin, NY, for the Unadilla GNCC, round eight of the AMA Grand National Cross Country Series.
Millfield GNCC XC1 Class Results:
1. Paul Whibley
2. Kailub Russell
3. Josh Strang
4. Charles Mullins
5. Cory Buttrick
6. Thaddeus Duvall
7. Nathan Kanney
8. Rory Mead
9. Russell Bobbitt
10. Nick Fahringer
2011 GNCC XC-1 Class Standings:
1. Josh Strang – 174
2. Charles Mullins – 160
3. Paul Whibley – 149
4. Nathan Kanney – 111
5. Cory Buttrick – 110
6. Kailub Russell – 109
7. Christopher Bach – 80
8. Mike Lafferty – 64
9. Jimmy Jarrett – 60
10. Thaddeus Duvall – 58