Johnny Girroir takes the win at the J Day Off Road Red Fern GP over Sweden’s Andreas Linusson…
The Red Fern GP has been an interesting venue over the last 6 years. The farm, as beautiful as it is, has been subject to extreme mud or treacherous dust for the last five events.
In fact the majority of J Day Off Road racers have never experienced the Chester NH track without adverse conditions. That would finally change yesterday with 70 degree temps, sunshine and primo dirt. We had all won, and the racing hadn't even started yet!
The talk of the town going into first Pro Moto was Swedish visitor Andreas Linusson. Sure this is not the first international rider the MSR J Day GP Series has welcomed, Fredrik Noren (Sweden), Jason Thomas (Wales) Loic Leonard (Canada) to name a few, but this was unique because for the first time, an elite Swedish rider chose to come here to New England, simply to contest in the up and coming J Day events.
This created a special buzz before the start. Over the years, some of the best pros in the world have been surprisingly beat by the New England J Day heavy hitters. Could the Swede find himself in the back of the pack fighting for a top 10? Or would he pull the holeshot and check out? Either way the crowd was excited and rightfully so.
The first holeshot was snagged by Jason Connell aboard the Motorsports Nation KTM 250 XC. Johnny Girroir would quickly move into the lead in the grass track and Andreas would follow him to the front and duck in behind the Champ.
Jason Connell was sitting in third with Riordan close behind. Somewhere in the woods Andreas would make a move on Girroir and when the two emerged from the trails into the Pro Taper Xtreme Section, the crowd was going crazy.
Both riders were blasting their two strokes from berm to berm, while sneaking away from third place. Andreas would keep Johnny at bay until the third lap where he explained that his arm pump was no match against the raw speed and determination of Johnny G.
The Champ would take the win with 6 seconds over Linusson putting two KTMs 1-2. Once again in stealth mode, Brendan Riordan sniped a solid podium finish on the YZ 250F ahead of Jason Connell and the hard charging Bob Santheson.
As the sun was setting, the Pros were on the line for their second woods moto. Jason Connell kept it decked and snagged the $100 STS Motorsports Award. Johnny Girroir and Andreas would not be so lucky. JG69 would come out decent enough to move into the lead by the first lap.
Andreas would get stuck in a first corner pileup and start playing catch up. Johnny would set a blistering pace out front and was feeding off of the crowd. In the grass track sections he was smashing berms as hard as possible in exchange for cheers, and eventually he would take an easy win. Behind Johnny, Jason Connell and Andreas would battle for the second spot. The battle lasted five laps and Jason Connell rode with craft and determination.
He would dice with the European but make his final move in front of the crowd on the last lap to secure second place and set him up with 3rd overall for the day. In fourth for the moto was Brendan Riordan and 5th would go to Nate Smith.
Photos: Brian Nevins Photography
It was a long wait for optimal Spectro Red Fern conditions but they were certainly worth it. After all was said and done, the top 10 OA would finish as follows:
1. Johnny Girroir KTM
2. Andreas Linusson KTM
3. Jason Connell KTM
4. Brendan Riordan YAM
5. Nick Kordana KTM
6. Nate Smith KTM
7. Bob Santheson KAW
8. Ben Gustavson KTM
9. Nick Hunter KTM
10. Jason Langenback SUZ