Australian maintains third in championship standings.
West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain played host to the seventh annual AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC on Sunday, where racers from all over the world converged atop the largest ski resort in the state to try their hand in conquering the toughest racecourse on the circuit.
After three hours of battle between man and machine, it was Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell who came out on top.
As the current XC1 Pro points leader heading into the ninth round, Russell began on the first row of the unique live engine start, alongside Rocky Mountain ATV/MC N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Josh Strang, N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn and KTM Support rider and XC2 Pro Lites points leader Grant Baylor, who entered this race in fifth place in the overall standings.
Russell got a good jump and led the front-runners into the opening lap of racing, but the reigning champ had a few heavy challengers early on with the time adjustment.
Back on the third row was RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Thad DuVall, who quickly made his way into the second place position with about 20 seconds of time adjustment on his side. Factory Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong interjected himself into the battle by lap two, where he exchanged positions with DuVall and Ashburn throughout the first three laps.
However, things quickly took a turn for the worst for DuVall on the fourth lap just as he broke into the overall lead on the adjusted time clock. DuVall began experiencing mechanical issues that ultimately ended his day with a tow back to the pits, which was a very disappointing ending to the day for the West Virginia native.
Amidst the increasingly difficult Snowshoe track conditions, the top three contenders seemed to keep the pace and consistency all afternoon. Russell maintained a lead that just couldn’t be touched, while Ashburn continued to chase down the leader in the second place position.
Despite a hard charge by the Tennessee native of Ashburn, Russell finished more than three minutes ahead of the pack to capture his third straight win of the season. After nine rounds of racing, Russell holds the XC1 Pro points lead heading into the summer break. Ashburn put forth a career-best performance with a second place overall for the day.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. had a come-from-behind performance, making his way from outside the top ten on the first lap to finish fifth overall for the day and fourth in the XC1 Pro class. Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Chris Bach began just behind Baylor and finished fifth overall for the day.
After running just outside the top three overall in the beginning, Strang finished the day sixth in the XC1 class, and ninth overall. He maintains third in the championship standings.
The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series heads into a break for the summer, resuming in October with round 10.
2014 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series
Round nine – Snowshoe, WV
XC1 Pro results:
1. Kailub Russell
2. Jordan Ashburn
3. Andrew Delong
4. Steward Baylor
5. Chris Bach
6. Josh Strang (AUS)
7. Jason Thomas
8. Paul Whibley
9. Jesse Robinson
10. Ryan Sipes
XC1 Pro championship standings:
1. Kailub Russell 238
2. Charlie Mullins 181
3. Josh Strang (AUS) 176
4. Jordan Ashburn 163
5. Paul Whibley 146
6. Andrew Delong 123
7. Steward Baylor 119
8. Chris Bach 119
9. Thad Duvall 107
10. Ryan Sipes 101