Reigning Champ Josh Gaitten Clinches Round 2 Victory
Overall A & Overall B Won Consecutively
by Mark McGrath and John Bittner
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Reigning champ and Wheelsports-backed rider Josh Gaitten certainly didn’t get “Lost in Lodi,” as he came out on top, grabbing the Overall win at the Lost in Lodi Enduro held in Shade, OH. Gaitten has won the championship four times since 2008.
Gaitten said the trail for Lost in Lodi was a bit deceiving. “It appeared to be nice, tacky dirt, but it was actually quite slick,” he said. “Even though the conditions were slick, the Lodi crew did a fantastic job laying out the course. Quality trail, great arrowing, and good check placement all made for a challenging but very fun course. Plus, my bike was as good, if not better, than ever. The top and bottom end of my bike were destroyed after the first enduro, but thanks to fresh new engine parts, adjusted suspension, and some other fine tuning by Wheelsports’ mechanic Marty Kehlmeier, the 300 was in top form for Lodi.”
Gaitten said he had a lot on his mind during the race. “Being my first race back after my close friend Rory Mead’s accident, I felt I was missing a lot of patience,” Gaitten said. “I visited him the weekend after his accident. And after spending time with him and seeing what he’s going through, it hit close to home for me. Like the champion he is though, he’s working hard every day and has been making improvements on a daily basis. With that in mind, I did my best to ride for Rory and use just an ounce of the determination he’s shown in this experience to push me through the day.”
Gaitten said he has so many people to thank. “My parents are vital to my racing and always do what they can to help,” Gaitten said. “Wheelsports has been huge in keeping my bike ready and prepped with everything I need. Rekluse has come onboard this year and the Core EXP 2 has been a game changer for me. I’d also like to thank FMF, Renthal, Acerbis, Scott Goggles, Leatt, Enduro Engineering, and Whirlygig Ink.”
Nearly the same outcomes were seen A and B Overalls as the first race of the season. In the A classes, it was Vet A rider Mark McGrath, aboard his Extreme Action Sports KTM, who consecutively won Overall A win, dropping 14 points. Vet A rider Eric Kriberney once again narrowly missed the Overall A, finishing one point behind McGrath, and Chris Starman, 250A class rider, followed with 16 points dropped.
The Overall B position was grabbed for the second time this season by Vet B rider John Bittner, who dropped 20 points. Bittner once more beat his class competitor Christopher Knight who dropped 29 points.
When asked what his key to winning is, Bittner said, “Being consistent and keeping it on two wheels.” And unlike the first race of the season when everyone was fighting to stay warm, Bitter said the key to this particular race was vented gear to stay cool.
He said the trail was “deceivingly slippery in some areas” but that his ride was great… until he got a flat front tire in the second to the last section.
“I am excited to race the rest of the season,” Bittner said. “Also, I’d like to thank the Lost in Lodi crew for having such a great event and cutting some great trails.”
The next round of ACES, the Grass Man Enduro, will be held May 4th in Norwich, Ohio. The event is hosted by the Ohio Woods Riders. Key time is 10 a.m., with sign up from 7-9:15 a.m. on race day or 6-7 p.m. the night before the event, should competitors choose to camp at the enduro location.
About the Author
Heather Wilson is a motorcycle enthusiast that rides both dirt and street bikes whenever she gets the chance. She grew up riding dirtbikes, attending local motorcycle races and helping out in her parents’ motorcycle dealership. She’s an Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism Alum and now does public relations and marketing in the motorcycle industry. HeatherNWilson.com