Press Release –
Digger Doug Gust ran down John Natalie and passed him in the second moto for the overall win at this weekend’s Gatorback national GNC in Gainesville Florida. A lot of pit pundits suspected that “The Digger” might win Florida after dominating the first moto at the last GNC event in Florida. This overall win is the first for the awesome new Suzuki QuadRacer LT R450.
Doug himself felt confident going into this event, “The last race in Texas I got tangled up on the start or I’m pretty sure I would have won that one. I felt really strong down there. This weekend it was the same thing. I screwed up both starts, but still managed to get the job done.” Doug started the 1st moto in 6th place with his teammate Jeremiah Jones in 7th. At the end of lap one they had both moved up when all of a sudden Jeremiah’s bike quit. A rock had been thrown up from his front tire and broke the ignition key housing right off the bike! This one in million break forced Jeremiah to sit out the rest of the 1st moto. Later when asked about the problem, Jeremiah said “Well, they say bad luck comes in threes. This is the third weird thing that’s happened to me so I guess I guess it’s behind me now and it’s all up from here on out.”
As the 1st moto wore on Doug kept moving up. Early leader Joe Byrd suffered a suspension problem and dropped off the pace a little past the halfway point. By the three quarter mark Doug had moved up to second. Leader John Natalie had a huge lead but Doug prodigiously closed the gap. In the end, it wasn’t enough and Natalie won the moto, with Doug in second. The stage was set for a moto two shoot out.
The second moto was deja-vu as Doug started in 6th again with teammate Jeremiah Jones right behind him in 7th. This time however the bad luck cloud hanging over Jeremiah was gone and he and Doug freight trained forward through the field. Jeremiah was all over Doug and helped push Doug forward. “I wanted to help push Doug forward but at the same time he was going for the overall win. I didn’t want to do something stupid and screw up our chance for the overall,” Jones said after the race. He added “The pace was pretty quick and the two of us sort of worked together and really pushed each other.”
The pushing worked as a few laps after the halfway point both Gust and Jones passed John Natalie. Gust then went on to pass leader Joe Byrd. That’s how they finished with Gust taking the overall win with a 2-1 over John Natalie’s 1- 5. This win marked the first of what will surely be many wins for the new LT-R450.
After the race Digger Doug was pretty happy, “Those guys (Natalie and Byrd) started to slow down a little after half way and I just charged up to them and got into the lead. Joe hung tough till the end but I hung tight and brought the win home.” Doug went on to say, “This is the first win for the LTR and concludes a Suzuki sweep for the Daytona Bike week. Suzuki/Yoshimura riders Mat Mladin and Ben Spies went 1- 2 in the Daytona Superbike race, Ricky won Supercross, Team Suzuki won the Flat Track (1 -2) and now we capped it off with Gatorback today! A lot of my friends from Japan are here today and I’m really happy to win this for them. Those guys built a heck of a quad with this LT-R450. I think this is the first GNC Pro win for a fuel-injected bike. Maybe the first win on stock tires (Dunlop) too.”
Jeremiah was happy with his second moto, third place finish. “I’ve had this crazy run of bad luck, ever since Glen Helen. It’s just nice to actually get to race a moto! That was like the first full moto that I’ve run all year. To be able to get out there and run with those guys was great. It was just like running my first race today.” Jones is really looking forward to next weekend’s Macon race, a track where he historically runs really well.