February 14, 2005
The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series is billed as America's largest off-road series, but at the 2005 series opener in Texas, two of the world's best rose to the head of the pack. KTM's Juha Salminen, the highly-touted ten-time World Champion from Finland, handled a rugged, rocky track with ease to take the win, a strong performance KTM expected and the competition feared.
"It is great to start off with a win but I really did not know what to expect," said the 28-year-old. "I have not ridden against these riders. The track was rough. I tried a few times to pull away but I would make a mistake. Finally one time I was able to pull away. I was just a little nervous early on, but I am happy now."
KTM's Mike Lafferty battled with Kearney and Salminen all day before ending up third, enough for dubious top-American honors. "You know, it just aggravates the heck out of me because I really wanted to win," said Lafferty. "When those guys want to race like that, go fast early, I have no problems with it. I was comfortable. But the race is won on the last lap, and I wanted to put myself in position to do it, but it fell apart on me. I tried to get a little aggressive and I got tangled with a lapper. Juha went around, and then he swapped out, and I tried to pass him and got tangled in some bushes."
1. Juha Salminen Amherst, OH Pro 111 KTM 6 02:51:13
2. Glenn Kearney Nsw, AU Pro 114 SUZ 6 02:52:18
3. Michael Lafferty Millville, NJ Pro 020 KTM 6 02:52:41
4. Chuck Woodford St Clairsville, OH Pro 011 KAW 6 02:53:27
5. Steve Hatch Scottsdale, AZ Pro 004 KAW 6 02:53:29
6. Robbie Jenks New Straitsville, OH Pro 010 KTM 6 02:54:04
7. Cole Calkins East Sparta, OH Pro 009 KAW 6 02:57:13
8. Stephen Edmondson Hardy, VA Pro 018 KTM 6 02:57:56
9. Charles Mullins TRENTON, OH 250 A 015 YAM 6 02:59:21
10. Jason Raines Belfair, WA Pro 002 YAM 6 03:00:07
11. Aaron Wegner Traverse Sity, MI 250 A 029 YAM 6 03:00:14
12. Brian Garrahan Boulder Creek, CA Pro 012 SUZ 6 03:01:00
13. Scott Summers Petersburg, KY Pro 006 HON 6 03:02:12
14. Dustin Gibson Cmbrlnd Frnce, TN 4 St A 301cc + 911 KTM 6 03:03:26
15. Kevin Bailey Everett, WA Pro 190 YAM 6 03:04:29
16. Nathan Kanney High Falls, NY Pro 016 KTM 6 03:05:36
17. Jesse Robinson Connellys Spg, NC 250 A 017 KAW 6 03:05:56
18. Travis Green Vinton, OH 250 A 504 KAW 6 03:07:07
19. Brett Zofchak Washington, PA 4 St A 0-300cc 033 KAW 6 03:09:43
20. Patrick Garrahan Boulder Creek, CA Pro 831 KTM 6 03:09:52