Josh Strang and Daniel Milner Go 1-2 at GNCC Season Opener


The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC) presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, kicked off the 42nd Annual Season at the popular Rodman Planation in Palatka, Florida.

It did not take long for the racing action to heat back up following a four month off season. In the end it would be Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing/Bel-Ray's Josh Strang crossing the finish line first with a commanding victory.

As the green flag dropped it was FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Factory Kailub Russell who pulled a big lead over the rest of the XC1 Pro class, but quickly tipped over taking down Coastal Racing/Rockstar/Husqvarna's Ryan Sipes and Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing's Jordan Ashburn with him.

Ricky Russell stuck with it and came out with the $125 All Balls Racing XC1 Pro Holeshot Award. R. Russell would continue leading the XC1 Pro class through the first lap, but eventually fell back to 11th overall by the time the checkered flag came out.

Strang was able to capitalize on R. Russell's mistake and moved into the lead early on. JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Chris Bach was on Strang's back fender for the first half of the race where they switched back-and-fourth for the lead. Eventually Strang was able to pull past Bach where he had a 30 second gap on second at the end of the race.

"The last half of the 2015 season was good to me," said Strang. "I didn't spend any time pre-season training in Florida, so I just wanted to come down here and do well and try to win if the opportunity was there. Today I felt like I was riding pretty well and it was good to get a win."

Meanwhile Kailub Russell was in the back of the pack working his way up from 11th. He was able to make up major time over the course of the last couple of laps creating a heated battle for second with N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Daniel Milner. Milner would be able hold off the three-time National Champion and beat him to the line by two thousandths of a second.
XC1 Podium: (2) Daniel Milner, (1) Josh Strang, (3) Kailub Russell. Photo: Ken Hill
After putting up a good fight for the overall, Bach would eventually end up in fourth. Sipes would work his way through the pack to end up with an impressive fifth place finish. N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha-backed Grant Baylor finished sixth, followed by Canadian competitor Tyler Medaglia in seventh, Ashburn following in eighth and KTM/SRT's Steward Baylor in ninth.

It looked as if things were shaping up for Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/FAR Racing Husqvarna's Thad Duvall, but unfortunately he came across a mechanical issue in the first half of the race that prohibited him from finishing.

"Sometime during the second lap Thad hit something that messed with the connectors fuel hose and the plastic and it eventually broke the connector off and then the fuel pump stop working," said Team Manager Fred Andrews.

The 2016 AMSOIL GNCC Series resumes next weekend, March 12 and 13, at the brand-new Maxxis Cannonball GNCC in Sparta, Georgia.

Main Photo: Josh Strang heads into round two with the points lead.
Photo: Ken Hill

Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC - Palatka, Florida - Round 1 of 13

XC1 Event Results:
1. Josh Strang (HSQ)
2. Daniel Milner (YAM)
3. Kailub Russell (KTM)
4. Chris Bach (HON)
5. Ryan Sipes (HSQ)
6. Grant Baylor (YAM)
7.Tyler Medaglia (HSQ)
8. Jordan Ashburn (KTM)
9. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
10. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)

Overall National Championship Standings:
1. Josh Strang (30)
2. Daniel Milner (25)
3. Kailub Russell (21)
4. Chris Bach (18)
5. Ryan Sipes (16)
6. Grant Baylor (15)
7. Tyler Medaglia (14)
8. Jordan Ashburn (13)
9. Trevor Bollinger (12)
10. Steward Baylor Jr. (11)

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