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Josh Strang second in debut ride for Babbitt’s Kawasaki | News

Josh Strang has finished second overall in his debut rider for Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki at the South Carolina Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro.

Over 400 riders filled the start grids at the opening round of the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series in Gaston, South Carolina, where Kailub Russell emerged as the overall victor ahead of a stacked field of talented pros.

Russell was making his return to the Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series, having last competed in 2015 – a year when he won the title. The FMF KTM rider hadn’t lost a step, however, and posted the fastest time in the first test of the weekend by an amazing eight seconds over the next closest rider. The two-day event would not be a Russell runaway, though, as Josh Strang would end up splitting wins over the course of the two days, with Russell winning Saturday’s round and Strang winning Sunday’s.

In all, Russell won five of the six tests on Saturday and two of six on Sunday to claim the overall win by 35 seconds over Strang.

Strang, who was making his first appearance with the new Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team at the South Carolina race, improved from fourth place on Saturday to first place on Sunday en route to second place overall. The Aussie off-road star won three tests on Sunday to edge Russell by four seconds to win the Sunday round.

Strang was pleased with the runner-up finish in his debut with the new team.

“I think I had a case of nerves on Saturday, but I was still pretty steady. I think I maybe put a bit of pressure on myself because of the new team,” said Strang. “I was more relaxed and I rode like I know how to ride on Sunday. It was a stacked class with everyone that was here, and the track got super rough, so it was a tough race. I’m happy with second and I’m looking forward to the season. It’s going to be a really competitive year.”

In the Women’s Pro division, Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones took the overall win by over two minutes ahead of Mackenzie Tricker.

“It was a pretty good weekend and the track was pretty fun, although it got pretty rough,” said Jones. “I had one or two crashes, but other than that I had a good weekend and it was a good start to my 2019 season.”

Ohio’s Becca Sheets was third on a Maxxis-sponsored KTM.