News 14 Jun 2016

Strang stands atop Tomahawk GNCC podium

Australian overcomes clash with Russell for victory.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series presented by Maxxis continued with the Dunlop Tomahawk GNCC, where Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing/Bel-Ray’s Josh Strang claim the win.

When the green flag waved SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires’ Cory Buttrick found himself getting a quick jump off the line and earning the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award, but it wouldn’t take long for Strang to transition in the lead as they entered the woods.

Meanwhile, FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell and Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing’s Jordan Ashburn both struggled to get off the start and were buried toward the back of the pack.

Strang continued to hold onto the lead as they checked through timing and scoring for the first time after a quick lap. Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4 Arrive-N-Ride Team’s Thad Duvall and FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Russell Bobbitt trailed in second and third.

The dusty conditions began to take their toll when Duvall faced an unfortunate situation in an open field section when he was clotheslined by a string that was marking a turn. This incident put Duvall back into 11th.

Russell slowly started reeling in Strang around the halfway point of the race where he was only fifteen seconds behind. N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’ Grant Baylor and Ashburn also settled into a battle in the latter half of the race for the last podium position. After switching back-and-forth multiple times Baylor was able to hold the position once lapped riders came between them.

Once the white flag came out it was an all-out battle between Strang and Russell with only six seconds separating the pair. Russell was able to work his way around Strang, but not even a mile later Strang was eager to get back in the lead.

The two came together during the pass ultimately taking both of them out. While Strang was able to quickly recover, Russell faced a mechanical issue which left the defending champion unable to finish the race.

“I got off to a quick lead and I think the dust helped me get a gap,” said Strang. “Kailub started to catch me on the last two laps and then was right on me on the last lap. Around the six mile marker we had different lines and he came up next to me and we rubbed and I backed off and he passed me.

“Then about a half mile later the same opportunity came up where I was able to get up next to him and we both came together and got tangled. He hit a tree and then I hit the next tree in line. I’m not a dirty rider but that’s racing. We both want to win and it’s unfortunate that it had to be this way.”

Ashburn stayed consistent and kept charging in an attempt to catch back up to Baylor. A mere second would separate them as they crossed the finish line in second and third. Both riders have had their fair share of issues this season, but proved today that they will be overall contenders for the remaining five races.