National Enduro championship contender Cole Kirkpatrick, who recently confirmed a deal with GasGas Offroad US to ride the new XC250 GasGas in the AMA/Rekluse National Enduro Series for 2011, underwent surgery this week to repair an old shoulder injury.
The 23-year-old native of Lubbock, Texas, who won two rounds of the series in 2008, has been plagued with various injuries throughout the ‘10 season, including a re-injury of an old shoulder separation, but is looking forward to getting back on the podium in '11 after successful surgery.
"I'm looking forward to riding a GasGas next year," said Kirkpatrick. "I had a chance to ride the bikes a couple of times over the last few weeks and I have to say I'm impressed. The bikes handle great and the people involved in the US effort are great too. People I've known for years."
Kirkpatrick underwent shoulder surgery on Thursday of this week to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. "It's an injury that's been nagging me since 2007 and I finally decided to get it fixed," said Kirkpatrick. "I dislocated it several times over the last two years, so it was something I need to have done. Plus, I know it has affected my performance. It was like I was just going through the motions these last two years - it basically resulted in me riding very cautiously and not being aggressive."
Kirkpatrick first rode the new GasGas after the final round of the series in Indiana, and then made the decision to sign after doing more testing in Texas.
"Alan Randt did some suspension for me and I felt really comfortable on the bike," said Kirkpatrick. "The motor is as strong as my KTM and I feel it turns better, so I think I will be faster next year, especially with my shoulder getting repaired. I'm excited about next year because I was kind of getting burned out on the series and I think my program needed some changes, and this came at just the right time."