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Reining champ Josh Gaitten wins second round of Appalachian Championship Enduro Series

April 27, 2014

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, Ohio. Gaitten has won the championship four times since 2008.

“I enjoy enduros, because you can ride with your buddies and have fun, but still in a race setting,” said Gaitten (right). “New-comer Andy Brannon and my cousin, Jake Walters, have been riding the enduros with me this year, and it's fun to bench race between sections. However, I busted up my ankle pretty good at the first enduro, and it’s still in rough shape. So I didn’t get to do any riding between the races. The season is still very early, but this win is definitely the direction I wanted to head in.”

Over 180 riders competed in the second round of ACES on April 13th. The weather made for great riding conditions, being in the high 70s.

“Lost in Lodi isn’t your typical enduro,” said Kevin Brown, ACES volunteer and one of the event organizer for the enduro. “It started as a vision from Greg Meeks, another event organizer, who’s a an enduro hot shot from back in the day. The event really has an enormous amount of backing by the local community – more than I have ever seen with an enduro. All of the event proceeds go to the Richland Area Volunteer Fire Department.”

Volunteers laid out nearly 100 miles for the event, with approximately 65 miles being pure trail riding. The club members worked on laying out the trails since February, when the weather was frigid. “We had an awful winter and wet weather leading up to the event, so the course was laid out to be easier,” Brown said. “We still had some tough sections due to the wet ground, but I think we had as good of a balance as possible. The later numbers and less experienced riders had a tough day, but finishing what I call a ‘real Southern Ohio spring enduro’ should feel like an accomplishment.”

Gaitten dropped nine points to beat AA rider Jeff Melik who dropped 10 points. Trevor Kline was close behind, dropping 11 points. Rounding out fourth place overall was Zach Klamfoth, who dropped 12 points.

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.

John Bittner, Overall B

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.

For the full schedule of ACES races and the latest news, visit and our social media accounts: Facebook - & Twitter - @ACES_race.

Lost in Lodi Enduro Results

Overall: Josh Gaitten             Overall A: Mark McGrath                   Overall B: John Bittner


1. Josh Gaitten

2. Jeff Melik

3. Trevor Kline

4. Zach Klamfoth

5. Brett Zofchak

6. Michael Jolly

7. Cary Eberts

8. Johnny Barber

9. Brian Melik



1. Shane Sims



1. Billy Weaver

2. Chris Starman

3. Nathan Bidwell

4. Ryan Pendeville

5. Tyler Chadwell

6. Jeff Hill


Open A

1. Aaron Cooney

2. Grant Smith

3. Brian Rickard

4. Tommy Ryan

5. Robert Heinzerling

6. Andy Matheny

7. Adam Clark

8. Jordan Collins

9. Matthew Houy

Vet A

1. Mark McGrath

2. William Farmer

3. Eric Kriberney

4. Colin Klier

5. Matthew Hatten

6. Jason Smith

7. Mike Copsey

Senior A

1. Gene O’Nail

2. Andy Brannon

3. Harvey Whitaker

4. William Kaeppner, Jr.

5. John Grimm

6. Wayne Perdue

7. Keith Vermillion

8. David Olive

9. Mike Vancise

10. Michael Wist

11. Greg Cutright

Super Senior A

1. Scott Klamfoth

2. Mark Lederle

3. Norm Into

4. Roger Nichols

5. Edward Morra, Jr.

6. Doug Rhinehart

7. Dan Knecht

8. Mark Adkins

200 B

1. Trent Gardner

2. Alex Exline

250 B

1. Matt Boyer

2. Matt Kemp

3. Bryan Flowers

4. Brady Riley

5. Anthony Edgar

6. Dillon Anthony

7. Dylen Price

8. Chad Campbell

9. Ryan Hoehn

10. Garrett Wilson

11. Jared Sabo

12. Logan Mullins

13. Garet Bennett

14. Jake Walters

Open B

1. Joe Geyer, Jr.

2. Ben Evans

3. Zachary Zombek

4. Jason Francis

5. Cory Ringer


Vet B

1. John Bittner

2. Christopher Knight

3. Jason Estep

4. Jeremy Bernhart

5. Ed Steele

6. Jason Adkins

7. Jesse Short

8. Ryan Curtiss

9. Nick Fisher

10. Patrick O’Nail

11. Scott Clayton

12. Justin Schwartz

Senior B

1. Kenny Hoyle

2. Tom Finello

3. Ed Rahn

4. Terry Hartman

5. Jade Smith

6. Steve Christy

7. James Curtiss

8. Marion Price


Super Senior B

1. James Copsey

2. Brian Haney

3. Mark Pendeville

4. Charles Niederriter

5. Tom Gemmell

6. Bill Green

7. James Culbertson, Jr.

8. Jim Crowley

Masters B

1. Bill Moroz

2. Ron Bohn

3. Michael Schwartz

4. Alan Gale

5. Jimmie Withem

6. Joe Klingensmith

Open C

1. Justin Secrest

2. Ben Dempster

3. Shad Wonders

4. Brent Long

5. Kristoffer Reeves

6. Joshua Zombek

7. Will Culbertson

8. Greg Hudepohl

9. Justin Boyer

10. Lane Gilbraith

11. Gary Thomas

12. Michael Bail

13. Dave Weber

14. Robert Wellert

15. John Dustman

16. Roger Arney

17. Daniel Campbell


Schoolboy C

1. Elliot Edwards



1. Nicholas Dickens



1. Kraig George

2. Kerry Reeds

3. Eric Williams

4. Scott Jerpbak

5. Larry B. Wheeler

6. Jeffery Wright

7. Tom Carpenter

8. John Angelone

9. Pete Magill

10. Jeffery Smith

11. Jim Norris

12. Larry H. Wheeler

13. Jacob Henry

14. Andrew Richards

15. Charles Hopper

16. David Sandusky

17. George Kohus

18. John Conway

About ACES

A non-profit established in 2008, Appalachian Championship Enduro Series (ACES) is an AMA-sanctioned traditional time-keeping enduro series. The season consists of 10 enduros, held mainly in the Southeastern Ohio region, hosted by 10 different enduro clubs who are members of ACES. Race fees are $50 per race for points-paying classes and $40 per race for non-points paying classes. AMA membership required.

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