By Tyler Shepardson, On The Pipe Podcast
Laurinburg, NC (February 11, 2023) – 2018 Full Gas Champion Josh Strang strikes first and remains perfect through ten tests of Sprint Enduro racing in his return to competition from injury and earns $1,400 for the top spot at the season opener of the Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series.
The Babbitts Online Monster Energy Factory Kawasaki rider was sidelined for the latter half of 2022 after undergoing multiple surgeries to repair a broken arm that took him out of last year’s Championship contention after the first round. The time away from racing was completely unapparent after Strang was the first rider to start Test 1 and never looked back; Winning ten straight tests and never relinquishing the Overall Lead.
With the transition to Full Gas becoming a one day event for ’23, comes another change in the format as well. The Pro group of racers start their day on the Enduro Test where they race five consecutive tests before transitioning to the Cross Test for five in a row there, which is a change in the traditional format where all riders alternate between the two special tests.
The new format allowed Strang to build a gap in the Enduro Tests before going to battle in the Cross Test with specialists like 2021 Sprint Enduro Champion Layne Michael, Canadian Motocross Champion Tyler Medaglia, and 2022 FGSE and NEPG Pro-2 Champion Ben Nelko.
FXR GasGas rider Layne Michael made his return to FGSE racing with a splash, earning seven 2nd place test results which would earn him 2nd place Overall on the weekend and $900 for his efforts. Michael shined in the Enduro Test and remained on Strang’s heels as they battled through the trees of North Carolina. In the Cross Test, Michael would drop the first two to Strang and Medaglia before rebounding to take a pair of 2nd fastest times in tests eight and nine.
Cobequid Mountain Sports Callus GasGas’ Tyler Medaglia was a stand out favorite for the ’22 FGSE Championship before heading back North to compete in the Canadian Motocross Championship. Medaglia joins us once again this season and found himself in the top three riders of all but two tests on the day. His consistency would earn him 3rd place on the podium and $550.
In the Pro-2 class, top honors would go to Australian transplant Mason Semmens on a Trail Jesters Racing KTM machine. Semmens, in just his second year of competing in America as an off-road pro rider, put on a show for the fans by putting together a perfect day of his own going 10-0 in the Pro-2 class earning him 4th place in the overall standings.
2nd and 3rd place spots in the Pro-2 class would belong to the Hayes brothers. Carolina KTM’s Chase Hayes would end the day in 2nd while Carolina XC Owner Zack Hayes would round out the podium in 3rd. In true sibling rivalry fashion, the brothers would split the day evenly with five 2nd place and five 3rd place finishes each in tests throughout the day.
The Pro-Am battle really heated up throughout the event, but at the end of the final test it was Tyler Palmer standing in the center of the podium as the Pro-Am winner with an impressive 6th place finish Overall on his Precision Off-road Palmer Motorsports Husqvarna. Bell’s Electric FXR Yamaha rider Toby Cleveland collected two test wins on his way to a 2nd finish in the class while Town & Country Cycle Center KTM rider Neil Enman earned two test wins of his own to solidify the final spot on the Pro-Am podium.
In the Women’s Pro class Aura Schmelyun won 8/10 tests en route to her first Pro victory. Elizabeth Perez would earn two Enduro Test wins landing her in 2nd place for the day while Lexie Babitz landed on the podium in 3rd.
Our next race takes place near the Atlantic coast in Vanceboro, North Carolina on Saturday March 25th at West Craven MX. Come out join us for a day of racing or cheering on your favorite riders for a fun filled day of action!
- Josh Strang
- Layne Michael
- Tyler Medaglia
- Mason Semmens
- Ben Nelko
- Tyler Palmer
- Chase Hayes
- Toby Cleveland
- Zack Hayes
- Caleb Baltimore