Kailub Russell Continues His Quest for the National Championship with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mountaineer Run GNCC Win. Thad Duvall and Ricky Russell Round Out Overall Podium
The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, spent the weekend at Marvin’s Mountain Top in Masontown, West Virginia, for the fifth annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mountaineer Run GNCC. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s continued his dominance at the eleventh round where he earned his eighth overall win of the season today, September 25.
MCS Racing Suzuki/Obermeyer/Kenda/MX Tech/Fly Racing’s Ricky Russell jumped out to the early lead once the green flag waved and earned the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Pro Holeshot Award. Russell was able to use his good start to his advantage and avoid the first turn pileup that involved Lojak Cycle Sales/JTR OffRoad’s Jason Thomas and Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing’s Ashburn.
“As easy as it may look sometimes, it’s never easy,” said Kailub Russell. “The track was pretty brutal with the dusty and hard-packed conditions, and it really takes a toll on your body and you just have to be patient. I got a terrible start and I was just impatient after that and continued to push through.
“The course was rough and I felt a little off all day,” said Duvall. “I just couldn’t ride my bike the way I wanted to. I decided to slow down and ride my own race to feel safe and keep it off the ground. When Ricky caught up to me I realized I wasn’t ready to get third again so I just put my head down and charged pretty hard the last few laps.”
Meanwhile Ricky Russell was determined to return to the front pack after his crash at the start of the race. With Kailub Russell beginning to pull a gap on Duvall, Ricky Russell was closing the gap on him. Kailub Russell would face a few small mistakes in the latter half of the race resulting in his radiator shroud being displaced. With only two laps remaining the podium contenders all decided to ride smart through the rough and rugged track conditions.
Kailub Russell would end up crossing the line 54 seconds ahead of Duvall who placed second. Ricky Russell grabbed the last spot on the box earning his first ever XC1 Pro podium and first podium for his Obermeyer/MCS Racing Suzuki team.
“I got off to a great start and then just got a little wild in the third corner and went down,” said Ricky Russell. “I got back up and was mid-pack trying to work my way through the dust. I crashed a few more times and then I started picking my lines and slowly worked my way through everyone. It’s been a rough year with ups and downs but it just feels good to finally make it happen.”
SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires-backed Steward Baylor Jr. had another stellar performance where he just finished off the podium in fourth. Ashburn would recover from the first turn crash to place to earn ninth overall and fifth in XC1 Pro. Cory Buttrick’s breakout ride resulted in sixth in class in addition to rounding out the top ten overall.
The familiar face of Coastal Racing/Husqvarna/MSR’s Craig Delong found himself in the early lead earning the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Pro Lites Holeshot Award. Delong’s teammate, Layne Michael, made an early push for the lead and continued leading until finding trouble in the FMF Powerpoint. Bollinger was able to capitalize on Michael’s mistake and take over the lead. Bollinger continued to lead until the checkered flag. Michael recovered for second in the XC2 Pro Lites class and AmPro/N-Fab Yamaha’s held onto third.
“I was fighting with vision issues all day,” said Bollinger. “Once I recovered from my bad start and had a clear track I was able to put the hammer down. I had something to prove after Unadilla, because that was one of my worst rides. It feels good to be back on top.”
A fourteenth overall finish vaulted Masontown native Zach Nolan to the top of the amateur ranks where he was awarded $125 American Kargo Top Amateur Award. 4-Stroke A Lites class winner Dustin Simpson and North Carolina’s Braxton McGee followed in the amateur overall podium in second and third.
KTM-mounted rider Hunter Riemer once again found his way to the middle of the podium in the 8 a.m. youth bike race. Class rookies, Zack Davidson and Michael Beeler Jr., rounded out the overall podium in second and third.
The 1 p.m. bike pro race was broadcast LIVE in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video now by visiting the GNCC LIVE page online.
The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series continues next weekend, October 1 and 2, with the Polaris Ace Powerline Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
For more information on the series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCCLIVE.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mountaineer Run GNCC Masontown, West Virginia Round 11 of 13 Sunday, September 25
Photos: Ken Hill
XC1 Pro Event Results:
Kailub Russell (KTM) Thad Duvall (HSQ) Ricky Russell (SUZ) Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM) Jordan Ashburn (KTM) Cory Buttrick (KTM) Josh Strang (HSQ) Johnny Aubert (BET) Ryan Sipes (HSQ) Chris Bach (HON) *Overall National Championship Standings:
Kailub Russell (286) Josh Strang (236) Trevor Bollinger (155) Jordan Ashburn (143) Steward Baylor Jr. (134) Thad Duvall (130) Craig Delong (127) Ricky Russell (120) Grant Baylor (117) Chris Bach (105) *Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2016 National Champion.
XC2 Pro Lites Event Results:
Trevor Bollinger (HON) Layne Michael (HSQ) Josh Toth (YAM) Benjamin Kelley (KTM) Michael Witkowski (KTM) Craig Delong (HSQ) Vance Francis (HON) Austin Lee (YAM) Samuel Evans (YAM) Zack Hayes (KTM) XC2 Pro Lites Series Standings:
Trevor Bollinger (276) Craig Delong (233) Layne Michael (205) Benjamin Kelley (166) Jesse Groemm (158) Joshua Toth (156) Vance Francis (122) Samuel Evans (119) Michael Witkowski (111) Zack Hayes (105)