GNCC

Steward Baylor Jr. Takes 2019 GNCC Season Opener Victory in Florida

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Steward Baylor Jr. captured the season opener win after a grueling three-hour race in the Florida sand. Photo: Ken Hill
The 2019 AMOSIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, season opener concluded on Sunday, March 10, 2019 in Palatka, Florida with the 5th Annual Wild Boar GNCC.

Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Steward Baylor Jr. would be the first one to cross the finish line after a grueling three-hour race.

As the race got underway it was Heath Harrison who grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award heading into the woods first. When they emerged, it was Kailub Russell in the lead position. Russell would maintain the lead for the first three laps before battling with S. Baylor. At the halfway mark Russell was in the number two position, Russell remained focused for the last three laps and take the checkers and second place overall at the season opener.
It was a sea of green at the holeshot line for the XC1 class, Heath Harrison grabbed the $250. Photo: Ken Hill
Thad Duvall did not get the start most hope for, but by the second lap Duvall was at the front of the pack fighting for second place. After swapping positions throughout the race, Duvall went hold onto the last podium position as the two-lap card came out. Duvall remained consistent during the last two laps, ultimately finishing in third overall.

Trevor Bollinger came through in the fourth place position at the conclusion of a demanding three-hour race. Bollinger looked comfortable and ready to battle for a National Championship. XC1 Open Pro rookie Josh Toth had a good season opener and XC1 debut as he finished in the fifth place position, after battling back from a seventh place start to the day.
Steward Baylor (center), Kailub Russell (left) and Thad Duvall (right) took the top three overall positions at round one. Photo: Ken Hill
The Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki duo of Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn finished sixth and eighth in the XC1 class. Strang and Ashburn both had a great jump off the line, heading into the woods second and third. Phoenix Racing Honda's Andrew Delong would hold onto a seventh place class finish in the Florida sand, while AmPro Yamaha's Paul Whibley took home ninth place. Lunova Racing/Team Green Kawasaki/Stiller Motorsports' Christopher Venditti also made his XC1 debut, rounding out the top 10 in class.

As the XC2 250 Pro class took off it was Beta USA Factory Team's Mike Witkowski grabbing the holeshot. However, it wouldn't take long for XC2 defending champion and Ben Kelley to take over the lead. After getting into the lead Kelley would push throughout the three-hour race, finishing fourth overall on the day and earning the first XC2 win of the season.

Jonathan Girroir came through timing and scoring in the second place position after lap one. Girroir was having a breakthrough season in 2018, finishing third twice, before injuring his knee after eleventh round. Girroir came back in 2019 on a new team and ready to go racing, which definitely was shown as he came through second in the XC2 250 Pro and eighth overall.
Ben Kelley captured the XC2 class win followed by Jonathan Girroir (left) and Mike Witkowski (right). Photo: Ken Hill
After grabbing the holeshot, Witkowski would not fall off the pace. He came through in the third place position at the conclusion of lap one, but would fall back to fifth about halfway through. However, Witkowski would put his head down and push as the two-lap card came out and work his way back to third by the time the race concluded.

In the 10 a.m. race it was Rockstar/Husqvarna/Moose Racing/Shaw Wines Tayla Jones capturing the overall win as well as the WXC class win at the season opener. Fly/Maxxis/Pro Circuit/KTM's Becca Sheets earned second overall and in the WXC class, after coming through one minute behind Jones. KTM/MEPMX/Fly Racing's Mackenzie Tricker earned third in the WXC class and eighth overall in the morning race. A special guest made an appearance in the Sportsman A class, Travis Pastrana signed up and dabbled in some off-road racing for fun.

The 2019 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes in one week, March 16 and 17, in Washington, Georgia with The Specialized General GNCC.
Aussie Tayla Jones took home the WXC win in Florida. Photo: Ken Hill
XC1 Pro Event Results:
1 Steward Baylor (KTM)
2 Kailub Russell (KTM)
3 Thad Duvall (HQV)
4 Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
5 Josh Toth (KTM)
6 Josh Strang (KAW)
7 Andrew Delong (HON)
8 Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
9 Paul Whibley (YAM)
10 Christopher Venditti (KAW)

Overall National Championship Standings:
1 Steward Baylor (30)
2 Kailub Russell (25)
3 Thad Duvall (21)
4 Benjamin Kelley 18 )
5 Trevor Bollinger (16)
6 Josh Toth (15)
7 Josh Strang (14)
8 Jonathan Girroir (13)
9 Michael Witkowski (12)
10 Andrew Delong (11`)

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:
1 Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
2 Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
3 Mike Witkwoski (BET)
4 Evan Smith (HQV)
5 Tegan Temple (KTM)
6 Ben Parsons (HQV)
7 Jonathan Johnson (KAW)
8 Philippe Chaine (KTM)
9 Alex Teagarden (HQV)
10 Zack Hayes (KTM)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:
1 Benjamin Kelley (30)
2 Jonathan Girroir (25)
3 Mike Witkwoski (21)
4 Evan Smith (18)
5 Tegan Temple (16)
6 Ben Parsons (15)
7 Jonathan Johnson (14)
8 Philippe Chaine (13)
9 Alex Teagarden (12)
10 Zack Hayes (11)

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