GNCC

Josh Strang Shares Points Lead Heading Into This Weekends GNCC

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The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, returns to the Palmetto State this weekend, April 30 and May 1, for the Inaugural CST Tires Camp Coker Bullet GNCC to be held at the popular Moree's Sportsman's Preserve in Society Hill, South Carolina.

The newest addition on the 13-round GNCC circuit is no stranger to racing due to the fact that many motocross races were once held on the property. However, since then the racing facility has been closed, meaning this weekend is the only time that ATVs and dirt bikes will be on the property, making this a truly special event.

FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing/Bel-Ray's Josh Strang come into this weekend currently tied for first in the points championship standings. Both racers have found themselves on the center step of the box twice the season, but Russell recently had a standout performance at the last round and will look to use that momentum to repeat his success this Sunday.

The three-time and defending champion has had a rocky start to the beginning of his season, but seems to have reached a turning point.

"I'm really excited for this round," said Russell. "We've never been there before so no one knows what to expect, but I hear it's kind of sandy, and the racing should be pretty tight because the trails will be all-new and fresh."

This weekend marks the first time that an off-road race has been held at the facility which will put the entire XC1 Pro class on an equal playing field. Strang, the 2010 National Champion, is known for his ability to quickly adjust to unfamiliar racing surfaces. Strang took home the win at the Inaugural Maxxis Cannonball GNCC earlier this year and will strive to do the same this weekend while he continues his quest for the National Championship.

"The last track was pretty fast, and I'm expecting this weekend to be a little more technical," said Strang. "Overall I think it will be good to experience a new track and see what it has to offer."

JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Chris Bach is on a podium streak taking a third and second place at the last two rounds. The only thing missing from Bach's season is an overall win. The Indiana native has suffered from lingering issues that resulted from a crash earlier this season, but it looks as if things are back on-track for Bach leading into Society Hill.

"I like the sand," said Bach. "I had a good ride going in Florida and felt really comfortable. I always like going to a new track where no one knows the terrain because it puts us all on a level playing field. It worked out to my advantage at the new race in New York last year and I was able to get the win there so hopefully that happens again this weekend."

Unfortunately, one of the top podium contenders will be missing from the XC1 Pro lineup this Sunday. Coastal Racing/Rockstar/Husqvarna's Ryan Sipes recently underwent surgery from an injury he sustained at a race last weekend that resulted in a broken pinky. Sipes plans to return for the next round at Indiana.

Sitting just five points behind Sipes is N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Daniel Milner. Milner found himself on the box at the season opener in Florida where he used his experience in the sandy terrain to his advantage. The XC1 Pro division will find themselves facing another sand round this weekend, and even though the track will not be as rough as Florida it will still play a role in deciding the National Champion. Milner heads into this weekend with hopes to land another podium finish and move up in the championship points standings.

Perhaps the two racers with the most experience in the race conditions this weekend are the Baylor brothers. N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Grant Baylor had his season best finish at the last round with a sixth place. However, the 2015 runner-up is eager to improve that score and find himself on the box. SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires-backed Steward Baylor Jr. holds the eighth place position as they move into the fifth round, just one place behind Grant.

After an impressive top five finish, Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing's Jordan Ashburn has moved inside the top ten in points where he currently sits in ninth. At the last round, Ashburn charged to the front and led a couple of laps and the Tennessee native will be a man on a mission this weekend as he aims for his first podium finish of the season.

In the XC2 Pro Lites division, JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Trevor Bollinger remains undefeated after sweeping the first four rounds. The North Carolina native has had nothing short of an impressive season where majority of the races he has worked his way through the pack to come out on top at the end of the three-hour race. However, Coastal Racing/Husqvarna/MSR's Craig Delong follows close behind him and has shown great speed and consistency with three podium finishes.

Beta USA/Fly Racing/Kenda Tires' teammates Jesse Groemm and Tegan Temple come into this round sitting third and fourth. Indiana native Austin Lee and Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Layne Michael head into this Sunday's race tied for fifth.

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