News 9 Jun 2014

Strang scores season-best second in John Penton GNCC

Australian on a charge in American Grand National Cross Country.

Source: GNCC.

Source: GNCC.

Through the first seven rounds of the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, it’s been a head-to-head battle for the XC1 National Championship between Factory FMF/KTM teammates Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins.

However, with Mullins removed from championship chase due to a recent injury, the reigning champ Russell was poised to take over the points lead on Sunday and he did so in a dominant fashion at the 25th running of the Wiseco John Penton GNCC.

It was the N-Fab AmPro Yamaha ride of Paul Whibley who got off to a great start with the XC1 Holeshot Award but the two-time champ quickly fell back to eighth place on the opening lap. Russell capitalized on a mistake by Whibley and took control of the pace right away, where he led flag to flag of the three-hour race.

While Russell seemed to have the lead position on lock, it was an all-out battle for second place all afternoon. N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn put himself in a favourable position early on, as he jumped in behind Russell for the second place position.

Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Chris Bach (pictured above) joined the battle, with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Josh Strang close behind. The trio exchanged places several times throughout the three-hour battle, making for an exciting spectacle for the race fans in Ohio.

But the battle didn’t come only from the front row, as reigning XC2 Pro Lites Champion Grant Baylor joined the front-runners on the adjusted time clock where he threatened a spot on the overall podium all afternoon. Not only were the physical battles full of excitement, but the adjusted time came down to the final moments, where the young Baylor finished nine seconds ahead of Strang to capture second overall for the day.

Strang, who was forced to come from behind on the opening lap, pushed through to second at the end of the five-lap race, where he led a three-way battle into the final moments of the Sunday Creek motocross track.

Despite a valiant effort by Ashburn, and also Whibley in the final moments, the 2010 GNCC Champion was able to hold them off to capture a season-best second place finish in the XC1 Pro Class and third overall for the day.

Whibley and Ashburn were bar-to-bar in the final turns but this time it was Ashburn who edged out the two-time champ of Whibley to take third place in the XC1 Class and fourth overall for the day.

Factory FMF/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. struggled on the opening lap but the South Caroina native slowly picked up the pace as the race went on. After missing the last round due to injury, Baylor fought his way back to a fifth place finish in the XC1 Class.

After running inside the top three for a majority of the afternoon, Bach lost a substantial amount of time when he crashed on the final lap while running second. Bach ended up just three seconds behind Baylor for sixth place in the class.

2014 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series
Round eight – Millfield, Ohio

XC1 Pro results:
1. Kailub Russell
2. Josh Strang (AUS)
3. Jordan Ashburn
4. Paul Whibley
5. Steward Baylor Jr
6. Chris Bach
7. Thadd Duvall
8. Andrew Delong
9. Takeshi Koikeda
10. Jason Thomas

Championship standings:
1. Kailub Russell 208
2. Charlie Mullins 181
3. Josh Strang (AUS) 161
4. Jordan Ashburn 138
5. Paul Whibley 133
6. Chris Bach 103
7. Andrew Delong 102
8. Steward Baylor 101
9. Thadd Duvall 98
10. Takeshi Koikeda 95

Click here for detailed results