GNCC

Kailub Russell Earns 48th Win at VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC

Tayla Jones starts title defense with a win

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Day two of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship, racing action took place today, February 25, at the Big Buck Farm in Union, South Carolina.

Rain showers would take place earlier in the morning, but cloudy and cool conditions would make for the perfect conditions at the 1 p.m. pro bike start.

Anticipation was at a record high as the green flag flew for the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC season opener. Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Josh Strang took the All Balls Racing $250 XC1 Holeshot by edging out AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell.

Thad Duvall put his Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna into the lead on lap one, while a pack of XC1 Pro riders assembled behind him. When they came through timing and scoring, the top five riders were just seconds apart. Duvall held that lead for the first two laps, but Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Steward Baylor Jr picked up the pace.
Kailub Russell and Thad Duvall battled to the checkered flag in South Carolina. Credit: Ken Hill
Baylor Jr made the pass for the lead during the third lap, along with JCR Honda's Trevor Bollinger moving into the number two spot. Duvall found himself in the third place position at the halfway point, but he had company from FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell.

Off the start K. Russell found himself in an undesirable position as he came around on the first lap in the seventh place position. K. Russell put his head down and push on to make the pass for the lead during lap four. News from the FMF PowerPoint was that Duvall and Baylor Jr were side by side, with K. Russell only a second behind them. When they emerged from the woods heading into the finish, K. Russell was in the lead followed by Duvall and Baylor Jr when the white flag came out.

Russell and Duvall battled throughout the last lap, ultimately crossing the finish line just inches apart. Baylor Jr finished third overall, followed by Bollinger and Strang. KR4/Husqvarna and XC1 Pro Rookie Layne Michael finished out the day sixth in XC1 and eighth overall, followed by R. Russell. KR4/Husqvarna/GTR Complex rider Cory Buttrick returned to GNCC Racing and finished a strong eighth in class, and 13th overall.
Aussie MacKenzie Tricker grabbed the WXC holeshot, but Becca Sheets and Tayla Jones followed closely. Credit: Ken Hill
Beta USA's Jordan Ashburn put in a strong performance in the 2018 season opener where he finished ninth in XC1. Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Grant Baylor finished 10th in the XC1 class, while Rockstar Energy/Leatt/Maxxis' Ryan Sipes was running sixth before being forced to pull off due to bike issues.

As the 10 a.m. amateur race took off, KTM-mounted rider, MacKenzie Tricker took the holeshot and early lead with Fly Racing/Maxxis/SeatConcepts/KTM rider, Becca Sheets and KR4/Husqvarna's Tayla Jones in tow. Sheets would make the pass and hold the lead in WXC, but a last lap pass by defending champion Jones would give her the season opener win. Sheets and Tricker rounded out the podium.

The 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes in two weeks March 10 and 11, in Palatka, Florida with the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC.
Josh Toth takes the early points lead in the XC2 250 Pro class as he goes for his second consecutive title. Credit: Ken Hill
VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC - Union, South Carolina
Round 1 of 13 - Sunday, February 25

XC1 Open Pro Event Results:
1 Kailub Russell (KTM)
2 Thad Duvall (HQV)
3 Steward Baylor Jr (KTM)
4 Trevor Bollinger (HON)
5 Josh Strang (HQV)
6 Layne Michael (HQV)
7 Ricky Russell (YAM)
8 Cory Buttrick (HQV)
9 Jordan Ashburn (BET)
10 Grant Baylor (KTM)

Overall National Championship Standings:
1 Kailub Russell (30)
2 Thad Duvall (25)
3 Steward Baylor Jr (21)
4 Trevor Bollinger (18)
5 Josh Strang (16)
6 Josh Toth (15)
7 Ben Kelley (14)
8 Layne Michael (13)
9 Pascal Rauchenecker (12)
10 Austin Lee (11)

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