News 14 Apr 2015

Russell extends GNCC win streak at Big Buck

Strang maintains pressure with fourth consecutive runner-up.

Image: Ken Hill.

Image: Ken Hill.

Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell extended his win streak to four in a row on Sunday at round four of the 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis in Union, South Carolina.

After more than three-hours of intense racing at the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC, Russell came away with his 26th career win, where he now sits tied with Ed Lojak for third place on the all-time bike Wins list in GNCC racing.

Russell began the day out front after capturing the All Balls Racing Holeshot Award and the two-time GNCC National Champion set the pace from there.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang put himself into the second place position right way on the opening lap and began his three-hour charge toward Russell out front. As Strang worked diligently to catch the leader, JCR Honda’s Chris Bach led the rest of the pack in a race-long battle for the third and final podium position.

Bach jumped into the third place position on the opening lap with AirGroup/Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna’s Ryan Sipes and N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammates Daniel Milner and Grant Baylor close in tow.

The pack exchanged positions throughout the afternoon but the man on the move was XC1 Pro rookie Grant Baylor, who eventually put himself into a favorable third place position around the halfway mark.

Meanwhile, Strang continued to charge toward Russell in the lead, closing the gap to as little as 15 seconds at one point. Russell lost some valuable time in the first couple of laps when he experienced two crashes that sent him off the bike and onto the ground.

However, the reigning champion was able to quickly bounce back to ultimately maintain a 41-second over Strang as he crossed the finish line for his 26th career win in GNCC racing.

Russell’s victory also signifies an undefeated season through the first four rounds, something that hasn’t been done since Strang’s championship reign in 2010. Strang scored his fourth runner-up position of the season, where he sits only 20 points behind Russell in the championship standings.

Despite starting his day outside the top five, South Carolina native Grant Baylor immediately put his head down and made a charge through the pack. Once Baylor made his way into the third place position, it was all eyes on the second place of Strang.

As the white flag flew, Strang held a 20-second advantage over Baylor but an impressive last-lap charge by Baylor resulted in an XC1 career-best finish of third overall, where he finished only four seconds behind in the end.

After running in the podium pack all afternoon, Bach was able to maintain his consistency with a solid fourth place finish for the day, followed by Moto-Tech/KTM’s Steward Baylor in fifth. Sipes lost one position on the final lap to finish sixth behind Baylor.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Delong made his return to racing after a collarbone injury at the season opener removed him from competition at rounds two and three. Delong put in a consistent ride to finish seventh place for the day, with HR Motorsports/Honda-backed Takeshi Koikeda in eighth. Chris Douglas finished ninth and Funmart Cycle/FLY/’s Adam Bonneur rounded out the top 10 in XC1.

N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Daniel Milner experienced bad luck yet again in his first full season of GNCC, a broken chain putting him out of the running on the final lap of the race, but he was still credited 12th overall.

The 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes on 26 April with the Limestone 100 GNCC in Springville, Indiana.

Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series
Round four – Big Buck GNCC

XC1 results:
1. Kailub Russell
2. Josh Strang (AUS)
3. Grant Baylor
4. Chris Bach
5. Steward Baylor
6. Ryan Sipes
7. Andrew Delong
8. Takeshi Koikeda
9. Chris Douglas
10. Adam Bonneur
12. Daniel Milner (AUS)

XC1 championship standings:
1. Kailub Russell 120
2. Josh Strang (AUS) 100
3. Thad DuVall 70
4. Grant Baylor 68
5. Chris Bach 62
6. Jordan Ashburn 55
7. Ryan Sipes 53
8. Takeshi Koikeda 43
9. Adam Bonneur 41
10. Tyler Medaglia 40
12. Daniel Milner 36

Click here for detailed results