Johnny Girroir signs off in winning style as bumper entry turn out in force for the final round of the J Day Off Road series at Southwick.
With a Halloween/Retro theme in place for the series finale, the day was about as perfect as it could get as far as fall racing weather goes – 60’s and sunny – and the place was absolutely packed. Southwick always draws a huge crowd, and this time was no different.
Photos: Brian Nevins Photography
Pro 125/Pro Vet Moto 1
To honour the throwback theme, 2016 Pro 125 champ Kyle Hangos brought out an oldie but a goldie - a gorgeous 1998 Suzuki RM 125. But when the green flag dropped it was Paul “Poacher” Goyette, from the Pro Vet class who edged out Hangos for holeshot. Hangos quickly passed Poacher and began to check out in typical Hangos fashion.
Just behind Goyette was non other then, the legend, the “Junkyard Dog” John Dowd. On lap 2 Dowdy was able to pass Poacher Goyette and hold down the first place position in Pro Vet and second place overall behind Hangos. Nate Smith was sitting in the #2 spot in Pro 125 and seventh overall at the half way point of the moto.
The pro vet class had some heavy hitters battling amongst themselves and the Pro 125 riders. Coming from the back of the field, Keith Johnson, who runs the MX-338 facility, made his way from seventh in Pro Vet, 16th overall, to second in Pro Vet and fourth overall in the moto.
In the Pro 125 class Matt Hougentolger and Ryan Quinn battled for the #3 spot swapping positions multiple times, but it was Hougentolger who was able to hold on to third. When the checkered flew it was Hangos taking the ’98 RM to a Pro 125 win, Nate Smith second and Matt Hougentolger third.
John Dowd took the Pro Vet win with Keith Johnson closing the gap to only 12 seconds and Paul Goyette third.
Open Pro Moto 1
The current J Day champ Johnny Girroir got the holeshot followed closely by Kyle Hangos and Jason Connell. Girroir and Hangos were on a whole different level of speed from the rest of the field. The two were bar-to-bar. No more than five seconds separated them the entire race. It was a game of cat and mouse and the spectators loved it.
Hangos was on Johnny’s rear fender just waiting patiently to make his move. On the 2nd to last lap Kyle pulled the trigger. He squared up Johnny in the woods and made his move to the #1 spot. He had his hands full keeping Johnny behind him for the last lap and a half. But he held him off for the win in Moto 1.
Jason Connell was riding strong in third with two laps to go he had a gnarly wreck in the Pro Taper extreme section landing on top of a lapped rider. He was able to get going again and hold on to the #3 spot but this allowed Jason Klammer, who was running in fourth, to gain some time and get Connell in his sight.
Klammer was riding a borrowed bike after his Trail Jester backed KTM wouldn’t come to life as he was getting ready for moto 1. Running in 5th was Justin Sokol trying to keep Klammer honest the whole moto pushing to get around him. Unfortunately he went head first into a tree and punctured his radiator.
Now in the fifth position was NESC’s Derrick Barnaby. On the second to last lap he went to make the pass on Klammer in the extreme section but slammed into the face of a log and went down hard. He lost a spot to the 455 of Conor Sheridan but made a last lap push and got back around Sheridan to round out the top 5 in moto 1.
Pro125/Pro Vet Moto 2
Pro 125 rider Nate smith edged out Hangos and Goyette for the hole shot. Hangos went down in the woods and Smith found himself with a five-second lead half way through lap 1.
By lap 2 Hangos had made the pass for first and once again checked out. At the half way point Hangos had a 20-second lead and Smith was battling with the Junkyard Dog John Dowd for the #2 spot.
Dowd was able to build a 14 second gap between him and Smith. Bob Santheson was sitting second in Pro vet and fourth overall with a 10-second cushion over Andy Mathieu.
Paul Goyette had some trouble on lap 3. His chain locked up in the extreme section. He ran over to the fans to asked for tools and got lucky. He found someone with an adjustable wrench fixed his rear wheel and mounted a strong come back to eighth in pro vet. At the finish it was Kyle Hangos who took the win in a dominant fashion.
John Dowd got the win in Pro Vet and second overall. Smith made a last lap push on Dowdy, he closed the gap from 14 seconds to just 3 seconds going into the scoring barrels. He would have to settle for a 2nd in pro125 and 3rd overall. Bob Santheson took home 2nd in Pro vet and 4th overall.
Open Pro Moto 2
The STS Holeshot award went to Johnny Girroir followed by Kyle Hangos, Conor Sheridan, Jason Connell and Justin Sokol heading into the woods.
At the end of lap 1 Girroir had a 3 second lead over Hangos followed by Klammer, pro vet rider john Dowd, and Conor Sheridan. At the half way point Girroir had began to check out after Hangos tangled with a lapped rider and went down.
This incident caused some bike damage for Hangos and had to salvage what he could due to failing brakes and a tweaked front end. He still managed to finish second. Brendan Riordan and Conor Sheridan got together and Sheridan was sent into a tree ending his race early. Then Riordan went down hard and dropped back to 18th after he and Connell traded plastic and paint.
In the meantime John Dowd passed Jason Klammer on lap 3. Klammer wasn’t done yet. He was hot on Dowd’s heels, waiting for him to make a little mistake. But that mistake wasn’t going to happen. Dowd was able to hold off Klammer in dominant fashion for the rest of the moto for third with Girroir taking the win over Hangos. Connell held steady for fifth and Derek Barnaby finished in sixth place.
Top 10 Pro 125
1st: Kyle hangos
2nd: Nate smith
3rd: Matt hougantolger
4th: Ryan Quinn
5th: Thomas Dexter
6th: Matt Frantz
7th: Nicholas Ribbe
8th: Zack Toth
9th: Tyler Loud
10th: Jay Balboni
Top 10 Pro Vet
1st: John Dowd
2nd: Andy Mathieu
3rd: Shawn Jackson
4th: Jason Boron
5th: Bob Santheson
6th: Paul Goyette
7th: Brooks Hamilton
8th: Jason Hedges
9th: Keith Goyette
10th: Keith Johnson
Top 10 Open Pro
1st: Johnny Girroir
2nd: Kyle Hangos
3rd: Jason Klammer
4th: Jason Connell
5th: Derrick Barnaby
6th: Ryan Dowd
7th: Justin Sokol
8th: Brendan Riordan
9th: Nate Smith
10th: Cody Williams