Thomas Takes Another XC2 Podium Position, Moss & Kirssi Continue To Battle, Mastin Makes Up Ground
April 11, 2011 – Corona, CA – Things continue to heat up in the Grand National Cross Country series… literally as the racers faced temperatures in the 70s at round #4 in Union, South Carolina. Despite suffering a poor start, Fred Andrews Racing/Monster/Team Husqvarna Jason Thomas kept his streak of consecutive podium finishes intact in the XC2 class. Fellow FAR/Husqvarna XC2 teammate Morgan Moss also had another solid top 10 finish at the Big Buck GNCC on his TXC250. Meanwhile FAR’s XC1 racer Simo Kirssi suffered another setback in South Carolina as the former German and European cross country champ continues to get acclimated to the American GNCC style of racing.
Thomas was still confident after the previous week’s win in North Carolina and by the end of the first lap of the challenging 13-mile course, Jason had worked his way up to 5th place. Midway through the second loop he was up into 3rd and by the halfway point he was leading the race. “There were two creek jumps and a super tight section that was a about a mile long,” he explained. “I caught up to the front runners and was in the lead going into the gas stop.”
When he stopped for fuel in the pits, a couple riders got by Thomas. “I was trying to catch up and smashed my foot into a tree! It hurt so bad that at that point I just wanted to finish on the podium.” He put in into cruise control mode and finished in 3rd. “Four podiums in four races, I’ll take that,” added team boss Fred Andrews of the GNCC XC2 points leader.
Husqvarna/FAR’s other XC2 racer Morgan Moss also had a slow start. “I got tangled up on a hill climb on the first lap and lost a lot of time,” said Moss. “I pushed hard after I finally made it up that hill, but I could never get to the front.” However, he did work his way up to a fine 7th place finish.
In the XC1 class, Flying Finn Simo Kirssi had his best race of the season last week with a solid 6th, but had some issues at the Big Buck GNCC this week. “Simo got a good jump off the line on his TE310,” said Farr. “But he was pinched off in turn one and got hung up, leaving him with a so-so start.” The reigning European Cross Country Champion came around the first 13-mile loop in 13th position and he eventually finished 13th in the ultra-competitive XC1 class and 19th overall.
Things were even better for Husqvarna on the women’s side as Mandi Mastin charged to 2nd (and is in second place in the season standing), while Veronica Martin was on the podium in 3rd in the Women’s Jr. class and also sits in 2nd overall in her class. “It was a beautiful day for racing,” said Mastin. “I moved into 2nd place behind Maria Forsberg and was able to hang with her for a couple miles before arm pump set in and I had to back off a bit.”
The arm pump subsided by the start of the third lap and Mandi charged ahead on her Hall’s Husqvarna TXC250. “I knew it was going to be tough to make up the time I had lost, but I put my head down and made the charge! At the end, I crossed the finish line just behind Maria, 5-seconds shy of 1st and in 5th overall,” said Mandi. “I am really pleased with my ride today, and extremely happy with how well my TXC250 handled.”
“It is great to have Jason, Mandi and Veronica on the podium yet again and controlling their own destinies in the GNCC series,” says Husqvarna’s National Marketing Manager Corey Eastman. “It proves the TXC250 is good enough to win.” In addition to consistently finishing on the podium, Husqvarna’s $12 million contingency fund also gives riders good reasons to “Ride More” this season.
After his fourth straight podium, Thomas sits in second in the GNCC X2 championship, just four points out of first. After finishing 7th at the Big Buck GNCC, Morgan Moss stays in 9th overall in the XC2 Class. Simo Krissi is just outside the top ten in the XC1 standings in 12th place and 20th overall. Both Mandi Mastin and Veronica Martin are in close contention with strong 2nd places in their respective classes on the women’s side.
Next GNCC Race: April 30-May 1, 2011 – Loretta Lynn’s GNCC, Hurricane Mills, TN