News 27 Sep 2010

Off-Road: Strang returns to form with GNCC round win

Aussie Josh Strang is on track to clinch the American GNCC series in 2010.

Aussie Josh Strang is on track to clinch the American GNCC series in 2010.

Australian Josh Strang returned to form at the Titan GNCC in Lafayette, Tennessee, taking an exciting and hard-fought win over championship rival Charlie Mullins.

After opening the season with four-straight wins and building a relatively safe lead in the series standings, Strang struggled during the middle part of the season, failing to make the podium in four of the next six races.

However, at the Titan GNCC – round 11 of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series – the FMF/Makita Suzuki rider was fast and relentless, holding off constant pressure from the Obermeyer/Am Pro/FMF Yamaha-backed Mullins for almost the entire distance of the race.

At the finish, Strang crossed the finish line with just one second to spare over Mullins, giving the Aussie his fifth win of the year.

“Charlie and I had an awesome race today and I think we both had fun,” said Strang. “We were wheel to wheel for most of the race, and at one point I hit a lapper and Charlie got by me, but things worked in our favor and we moved a little closer to the championship.”

Mullins still has a mathematical chance of wrestling the title away from Strang, but his chances got slimmer with Strang’s win. Mullins has three wins to his credit this year and wanted nothing more than to add a fourth, and he pulled out all the stops in an effort to make it happen.

“I gave it everything I had at the end but Josh rode well,” said Mullins. “He pegged a lapper and he ended up going down and I got around him. I tried to push and break away but he was able to catch me and he made a pass on me in one of the fields.

“I did everything I could on the last lap, trying to find places to get him, but it was pretty hard to pass out there and I just couldn’t make it happen. He rode well and I think I did too so all in all it was a good day.”

Behind the Strang/Mullins battle, an equally exciting and hard-fought skirmish took place between Am Pro/FMF Yamaha’s Thad DuVall and FMF/KTM’s Cory Buttrick over the final spot on the podium.

DuVall ran solo in third for mush of the race, but Buttrick moved into the picture as the three-hour race neared its end. Both riders ended up going down during the final two laps, but at the finish it was Buttrick sneaking across the line just ahead of DuVall.

“I was in third all by myself and then I had a big crash and Cory got around me,” said DuVall. “Cory and I were running a pretty good pace and on the last lap, about halfway through, Cory took a pretty good crash and I was able to get back into third. I had it and then not far from the finish I went wide in a corner and got tangled up with a lapper and Cory got me for third.”

Glenn Kearney had one of his best rides of the year to finish fifth, the factory Husqvarna rider taking advantage of a new 310cc kit for his 250 TXC.

“I got a really good start and I think I rode good,” said Kearney. “I screwed up on a couple of hills and fell down in the dust a few times, but the new 310 worked really well, especially for the first race with it.”

The XC2 race, Kailub Russell claimed his seventh win of the season with a dominating performance at the Titan, despite starting the race nearly last.

“I just did what I had to do,” said Russell, who at one point was in contention for the overall win. “I wasn’t worried about the overall, I knew it would be tough to do that because the track was so gnarly today. I just couldn’t get the power to the ground and the XC1 guys were pulling me.”

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Series will return on October 9th and 10th for the ITP Power Line Park GNCC, held in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

XC1 Round Results
1. Josh Strang (Suz)
2. Charlie Mullins (Yam)
3. Cory Buttrick (KTM)
4. Thad Duvall (Yam)
5. Glenn Kearney (Hsq)
6. Barry Hawk Jr. (Yam)
7. Paul Whibley (Yam)
8. Chris Bach (KTM)
9. Shane Obabion (KTM)
10. Justin Williamson (Kaw)

XC1 Standings
1. Josh Strang (259/5 wins)
2. Charlie Mullins (230/3 wins)
3. Cory Buttrick (211/1 win)
4. Paul Whibley (190)
5. Chris Bach (184)
6. Nate Kanney (171)
7. Glenn Kearney (164)
8. Barry Hawk Jr. (138)
9. Kenneth Gilbert (120)
10. Jimmy Jarrett (113)