GNCC

Kaliub Russell Starts GNCC Title Defence With Win, Josh Strang Second

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The 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, kicked off its 41st annual season on Sunday with the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC in Palatka, Florida.

Factory FMF/KTM‰Ûªs Kailub Russell picked up right where he left off last season with a commanding victory in the XC1 Pro Class.


With two consecutive GNCC National Championships behind him, Russell entered the 2015 opener as the heavy favorite. Russell got off to a favorable start behind N-Fab AmPro Yamaha‰Ûªs Jordan Ashburn, the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award winner. Ashburn grabbed the early lead but it didn‰Ûªt take long for Russell to make his way to the front.

The major battles took place just behind the leader as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing‰Ûªs Josh Strang went back-and-forth with fellow Husqvarna-mounted riders Ryan Sipes and Thad DuVall early on. As the trio charged toward the front, JCR Honda‰Ûªs Chris Bach slowly inched his way into the battle.

By the halfway point, Bach had made his way into a podium position while Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR‰Ûªs DuVall charged close behind.
Josh Strang put forth a solid second-place ride at the Wild Boar GNCC Photo: Hill Josh Strang put forth a solid second-place ride at the Wild Boar GNCC - Credit: Ken Hill
AirGroup/Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna-backed Sipes experienced a big crash just after the halfway mark that ultimately hindered his chances at an overall podium finish. Strang capitalized on that, creating a gap between himself and the third place finisher; however, Russell continued to put time on the 2010 GNCC National Champion.

Meanwhile, DuVall caught up to Bach on the final lap as the duo finalized their charge toward a podium finish.

After three grueling hours on one of the most challenging and rough courses that GNCC has to offer, Factory FMF/KTM‰Ûªs Kailub Russell made a big statement with a commanding lead over the rest of the field. Russell‰Ûªs win marks his 23rd career overall victory and his first-ever overall win at a season opening round in Florida.

Strang came through over two and a half minutes behind Russell to secure second place overall, while Indiana‰Ûªs Chris Bach put his JCR Honda atop the third and final podium position. Despite a hard charge at the end, DuVall finished the day with fourth overall at the season opener.

Canadian Motocross Lites Champion Tyler Medaglia made an appearance at the opening round, finishing an impressive fifth overall for the day. Medaglia joins an onslaught of Husqvarna machines inside the top ten running with big support from Husky Canada and Parts Canada. Sipes settled into the sixth place position despite a big crash after the halfway point.

N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammates Grant Baylor and Jordan Ashburn finished seventh and eighth places respectively. HR Motorsports-backed Takeshi Koikeda finished ninth and Cory Graffunder rounded out the top ten.

Australian Daniel Milner was forced out of the race after two laps due to a crash that left him feeling worse for wear, though the is aiming to line up for round two this coming weekend.
XC2 podium: (left) Ricky Russell, Nick Davis, (right) Jason Thomas Photo: Hill XC2 podium: (left) Ricky Russell, Nick Davis, (right) Jason Thomas - Credit: Ken Hill
In the XC2 Pro Lites division it was Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR‰Ûªs Nick Davis who came away with the first victory of the season at the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC.

Pennsylvania‰Ûªs Tegan Temple shot out to grab the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Pro Lites Holeshot Award but Davis made his way to the front by lap two. Upon recovering from an injury that sidelined him for some time, Raines Riding University/Atlas Yamaha/OffRoadViking.com put in a solid ride to capture the second place position at the season opener. Canadian Motocross Lites Champion Tyler Medaglia made an appearance at the opening round, finishing an impressive fifth overall for the day. Medaglia joins an onslaught of Husqvarna machines inside the top ten running with big support from Husky Canada and Parts Canada. Sipes settled into the sixth place position despite a big crash after the halfway point.

N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammates Grant Baylor and Jordan Ashburn finished seventh and eighth places respectively. HR Motorsports-backed Takeshi Koikeda finished ninth and Cory Graffunder rounded out the top ten. DirtWise/Maxxis/KLIM‰Ûªs Jason Thomas hung on tight in the final laps of the three-hour battle, finishing atop the podium in third place.

Zack Hayes captured the victory in the Open A division, which was good enough to earn a $125 American Kargo Top Amateur Award with 22nd overall.

The 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes March 14 and 15 with the Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, Georgia. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.
XC1 podium: (left) Josh Strang, Kailub Russell, (right) Chris Bach Photo: Hill XC1 podium: (left) Josh Strang, Kailub Russell, (right) Chris Bach - Credit: Ken Hil
XC1 Overall Round Results and Championship Standings:
1. Kailub Russell
2. Josh Strang
3. Chrtopher Bach
4. Thaddeus Duvall
5. Tyler Medaglia
6. Ryan Sipes
7. Grant Baylor
8. Jordan Ashburn
9. Takeshi Koikeda
10. Cory Graffunder
DNF. Daniel Milner

XC2 Overall Round Results and Championship Standings:
1. Nick Davis
2. Ricky Russell
3. Jason Thomas
4. Tegan Temple
5. Craig Delong
6. Layne Michael
7. Cory Buttrick
8. Miachael Witkowski
9. Brad Bakken
10. Drew Torrance

Outright Round Results and Championship Standings:
1. Kailub Russell
2. Josh Strang
3. Chrtopher Bach
4. Thaddeus Duvall
5. Tyler Medaglia
6. Nick Davis
7. Ryan Sipes
8. Ricky Russell
9. Jason Thomas
10. Grant Baylor

Top Image: Kailub Russell celebrates with a "nose wheelie" through the finishline with a victory Photo: Hill Kailub Russell celebrates with a "nose wheelie" through the finishline with a victory

Credit: Ken Hill

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