Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green Collects Nine Championships at 2012 Thor Winter Olympics

2012-11-26 23:17
The 2012 Thor Winter Olympics at Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainesville, Fla., commonly known as “Mini Os”, combines both supercross and motocross competition and is one of the largest amateur motocross nationals of the season. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green started the week with two supercross championships by Keith Johnson in the Plus 35 and Plus 40 classes. Johnson carried his momentum on to the motocross track and claimed a third championship in Plus 40. Team Green’s Austin Forkner collected seven moto wins throughout both supercross and motocross and won the Supermini 1 (12-15) and 85 (12-13) Modified motocross championships to earn the coveted Bronze Boot award. Combined, Kawasaki achieved nine championships and 45 overall podium finishes.

Coming Back Strong
Johnson is one of the veterans on Team Green and he wasted no time in solidifying his status as one of the top vet riders of the week. In supercross, Johnson was untouchable. He grabbed almost every holeshot on his KX™450F and easily took the top qualifying positions in the Plus 35 and Plus 40 classes. On Wednesday, he replicated that performance by winning both main events and won both Winter Olympic Supercross Championships. Sitting out most of the year with injury, Johnson was not sure where his fitness would be racing motocross due to his lack of seat time. Although he admitted to not being 100-percent up to speed, Johnson won the first moto of the Plus 35 on his way to second overall in Plus 35 and Plus 30. In the Plus 40 class, Johnson won the first moto and finished second in the final moto, which was enough to take the overall and win his third championship of the week.

“I’m really happy with my week,” said Johnson. “I was hurt a lot this past year so considering I haven’t been able to ride, I’m happy. I had my starts dialed in supercross, but didn’t get the best of starts in motocross. This is only the third time I’ve been able to race this year so my hands and arms got a little tired, but I had a lot of fun and look forward to 2013.”

Top Youth Rider
Forkner entered the Winter Olympics as a heavy favorite in the minibike classes and did not disappoint. In supercross he won two qualifying races and finished second overall in both Supermini 1 (12-15) and Supermini 2 (13-16). Content with nothing but winning, Forkner was hard to beat in the first motos of motocross and collected three out of four first moto wins. On Saturday, Forkner ran away with championships in the 85 (12-13) Modified and the Supermini 1 (12-15) classes and finished second in Mini Sr. (12-15) Modified. Overall Forkner won two championships and scored three additional overall podiums, which earned him the Bronze Boot Award. The Bronze Boot is awarded to the top youth rider of the Winter Olympics and has been won by many of today’s top professionals.

“My week started a bit rough, but I was able to finish strong,” said Forkner. “In supercross I qualified well for all the main events, but in the mains I didn’t ride like myself and made a bunch of mistakes. Going into motocross I realized what I had done wrong and knew what I needed to improve on. The track was gnarly, but I was pretty consistent and finished with two championships. I’m honored to receive the Bronze Boot. A lot of really good riders have won this in the past and to be included with them is awesome. It’s a great way to finish off the year.”

Podiums on Podiums
In additional to Johnson’s and Forkner’s titles, Kawasaki riders such as Tristan Lane took home championships in the 250 C Stock and Modified classes, Jordan Jarvis in Girls (9-11) class, and Jim Neese in the Plus 35 class. Behind these front-runners were a number of Kawasaki riders finishing on the podium. Tanner Stack finished with six overall podiums on his KX™85, while Darian Sanayei and Mark Worth both put the KX™250F on the podium in the B classes. Kawasaki earned 20 overall supercross and 25 overall motocross podiums for a total of 45 overall podium finishes.

Team Green Trackside Support
Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green is more than just a team of top riders. The Team Green Trackside Support semi is onsite to assist any Kawasaki rider with full factory support. Team Green is equipped with emergency parts, professional mechanical assistance and the best technical recommendations. From jetting issues, to full motor rebuilds, Team Green saw it all each and everyday of the Winter Olympics and was there to land a hand to any Kawasaki rider in need.

The Whoops
Most riders loved the supercross track, but there was one obstacle that set riders apart. Gatorback’s supercross track is a toned down professional supercross track in order to accommodate bikes ranging from 50cc to 450cc, but the whoop section was a full-blown stadium supercross whoop section. Many riders do not get to practice on whoops like these and it was evident from their speed through that section.

“The key is to enter the whoops fast,” said Sanayei. “You’re not going to pick up any speed as you skim the tops of them therefore the faster you go into them, the faster you’ll hit them. It’s tougher than it looks. It takes dedication and confidence to click fourth or fifth gear and hit them wide open.”

The Gator Pit
Gatorback’s motocross track features plenty of jumps and elevation changes. As riders approach the finish line, they drop a couple 100 feet into the “Gator Pit” quarry and come rocketing back out over the finish line. With 40 classes and many with multiple divisions, the track took a beating. There were over 2000 entries for motocross; riders had to conquer deep ruts, whooped-out acceleration bumps and square-edge breaking bumps.

Setting the Foundation
Team Green’s history goes back over 30 years and the program’s goals have remained the same. Most of today’s top professionals were part of Team Green at some point during their amateur career and credit Team Green to their success. Team Green helps groom promising riders for a professional career and the support they’re given aids in the transition to the pro ranks. At the 2012 Winter Olympics, Kawasaki had over 500 entries, more than any other manufacturer, and it is a result of the unmatched premium Kawasaki product, amateur support and contingency.

“I was part of Team Green when I was really young,” said Johnson. “The program really helps groom the new, up-in-coming kids with bikes, team shirts, photo shoots, interviews; the kids love that. It gets them excited and makes them feel like they belong. Being on the team definitely helped me in my career. It took away many of the worries and it helped me perform at my best. It’s such a great program and I’m so happy to be part of it.”

2012 Thor Winter Olympics
Gatorback Cycle Park – Gainesville, Fla.
November 19 - 24, 2012

Supercross Championships
Keith Johnson – Plus 35
Keith Johnson - Plus 40

Second-Place Finishers
Darian Sanayei – 250 B Stock
Nathan Hall – 250 C Stock
John Grewe – Plus 45
Austin Forkner – Supermini 1 (12-15)
Mike Treadwell – Plus 35
Mike Treadwell – Plus 40
Austin Pare – 250 C Modified
Austin Forkner – Supermini 2 (13-16)
Brodie Keefe – Open C Modified
Tanner Stack – 85 (12-13) Modified

Third-Place Finishers
Keenan Mokma – 250 C Stock
Garrett Marchbanks – 85 (9-11) Stock
Earl May – Plus 45
Jordan Jarvis – Girls (9-12)
Tanner Stack – 85 (12-13) Stock
Scott Sheak – Plus 35
Zachery Bishop-Burnett – Schoolboy (13-16)
Scott Sheak – Plus 30

Motocross Championships
Austin Forkner – Supermini 1 (12-15)
Keith Johnson – Plus 40
Austin Forkner – 85 (12-13) Modified
Tristan Lane – 250 C Stock
Jordan Jarvis – Girls (9-11)
Jim Neese – Plus 35
Tristan Lane – 250 C Modified

Second-Place Finishes
John Grewe – Plus 45
Keith Johnson – Plus 35
Tanner Stack – 85 (12-13) Stock
Mike Treadwell – Plus 40
Keith Jonhson – Plus 30
Darian Sanayei – 250 B Modified
Austin Pare – 250 C Modified
Austin Forkner – Mini Sr. (12-15) Modified
Austin Pare – Open C Modified
Tanner Stack – 85 (12-13) Modified

Third-Place Finishes
Scott Sheak – Plus 35
Christina Older – Women (12+)
Forrest Smith – Plus 25
Tanner Stack – Mini Sr. (12-15) Stock
Mark Worth – Schoolboy (13-16)
Jim Neese – Plus 30
Mark Worth – 250 B Modified
Tanner Stack – Mini Sr. (12-15) Modified

Source: Kawasaki

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