Russell Makes Last Minute Pass for Limestone 100 GNCC Overall Win


The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, took place today, May 15, with the Fifth Annual Limestone 100 GNCC at the iconic Lawrence Country Recreational Park in Springville, Indiana.

After an abundant amount of rain fall in the week prior to the event the racetrack shaped up nicely by the time the 1 p.m. Pro race took to the Indiana woods. It would be FMF/KTM's Factory Racing's Kailub Russell claiming the overall win after making a pass on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing/Bel-Ray's Josh Strang in the last straightaway.

As the green flag waved N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Daniel Milner had a quick jump off the start and grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, but by the time they hit the apex of the first turn JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Chris Bach had moved into the lead with Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/FAR Racing Husqvarna's Thad Duvall in the mix as well.

"The track shaped up a lot different than it was when I originally walked it this morning," said Russell. "It ended up making for some great technical racing with multiple lines."

Once they checked through timing and scoring for the first time, which was located approximately one mile from the start, Bach still had control of the lead. Duvall would still maintain the second place, while Russell and Strang was back in fourth and fifth.
Daniel Milner grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Pro Holeshot Award - Credit: Ken Hill
By the second lap, Russell would make his way into the lead with Duvall and Strang following. Once the three-hour race hit the halfway mark Duvall would find himself in front. However, the three would exchange the lead every few minutes creating an exciting race for not only the fans, but also the racers themselves.

Once the white flag came out it was an all-out battle for the win between Duvall, Strang and Russell. Duvall would continue to have the lead on the last lap, but unfortunately make a small mistake right after seeing the flag allowing for Strang and Russell to get back around him.

"I felt like I could have won all day, but I just came up short the last lap," said Duvall. "I made a mistake and rode super tight. I tried everything I could do the last lap and had a good line going up the hill climb gaining seconds, but it was a sprint to the finish and I couldn't make up the time."

After racing wheel-to-wheel for majority of the last lap, Russell knew he had to make the pass on Strang for the lead at the next possible section. With the Pro Row situated just one turn before the finish line, Russell charged for the lead passing Strang down the straight stretch. Strang would hang with him, but would not be able to get back around in the last turn finishing in second just one thousandths of a second behind Russell.

"I don't feel like I was the fastest guy out there today," said Russell. "I just had a bunch of little tip-overs. It was almost easier to be behind than lead today, because of all the bad lines and lappers.

"We all had a good battle and it seemed like every mile we just kept changing out the lead. After we came back through the starting area I knew there wasn't many places to pass from there. Josh got protective and was riding the inside lines and I was able to make a hairball pass on him and stick it out for the overall."

"Kailub and I started going a little faster on the last lap," said Strang. "We went back and forth a few times and he got me right before the end and I just couldn't get back around. It's unfortunate, but it was still a good race overall."

Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing's Jordan Asburn finished just off the podium in fourth. Ashburn was able to ride one of the most consistent races of the day to earn the impressive finish. After leading the first lap, JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Chris Bach would fall back to finish fifth overall. Milner followed Bach in sixth with a tenth overall.

Although he would finish eleventh overall, Obermeyer/MCS Racing Suzuki/Kenda/Fly Racing's Ricky Russell took home seventh in the XC1 division with KTM/SRT's Cory Buttrick in eighth and fourteenth overall.

Starting on the second row was the XC2 Pro Lites class where Coastal Racing/Husqvarna/MSR's Craig Delong found himself reaching the holeshot line first and claiming his fifth $100 Hot Cams XC2 Holeshot Award of the season. However, by the end of the grueling race it was JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing's Trevor Bollinger standing in the middle of the box.

This win marked Bollinger's fifth win of the season. Delong would put in a hard fought race and finish second, with Trail Jester Racing's Benjamin Kelley putting in an equally impressive ride for third. After leading the first half of the race, Trail Jesters Racing's Joshua Toth would have his best race of the year finishing fourth and Beta USA/Fly Racing/Kenda Tires' Jesse Groemm followed in fifth.

"There's going to be breakdowns and days that I just don't feel good on the bike," said Bollinger. "It's a long championship and I'm just taking it one race at a time. Today everything worked well together to get back where we were."
WXC Podium: (2) Tayla Jones, (1) Brooke Cosner, (3) Becca Sheets. Photo: Ken Hill
In the 10 a.m. amateur race it was KTM rider Phil Smith who took the middle spot on the podium followed by Pennsylvania's Carl LeBlond in second and Bonzi/'s Brooke Cosner in third.

While Cosner finished third overall, she claimed her first WXC victory of the season with a minute and a half lead. N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Tayla Jones finished an impressive second with FLY Racing/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/Yamaha's Becca Sheets following in third.

The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes in two weeks, May 28 and 29, with The Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio.

XC1 Pro Event Results:
Kailub Russell (KTM)
Josh Strang (HSQ)
Thad Duvall (HSQ)
Jordan Ashburn (KTM)
Chris Bach (HON)
Daniel Milner (YAM)
Ricky Russell (SUZ)
Cory Buttrick (KTM)
Philippe Chaine (KTM)
Chris Douglas (SUZ)

*Overall National Championship Standings:
Kailub Russell (166)
Josh Strang (142)
Chris Bach (105)
Jordan Ashburn (84)
Daniel Milner (80)
Trevor Bollinger (77)
Ryan Sipes (66)
Craig Delong (65)
Steward Baylor Jr. (62)
Thad Duvall (53)

XC2 Pro Lites Event Results:
Trevor Bollinger (HON)
Craig Delong (HSQ)
Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
Joshua Toth (KTM)
Jesse Groemm (BET)
Michael Witkowski (KTM)
Austin Lee (YAM)
Layne Michael (HSQ)
Vance Francis (HON)
Samuel Evans (YAM)

XC2 Pro Lites Series Standings:
Trevor Bollinger (153)
Craig Delong (129)
Jesse Groemm (101)
Layne Michael (95)
Tegan Temple (87)
Benjamin Kelley (86)
Austin Lee (77)
Joshua Toth (71)
Trevor Barrett (68)
Samuel Evans (67)

Top Image: Kailub Russell and Josh Strang were wheel-to-wheel at the finish.Photo: Ken Hill

Credit: Ken Hill

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