News 12 Sep 2016

Russell extends GNCC series lead at Unadilla

Australian off-road ace Strang claims runner-up position.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell extended his 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) XC1 Pro series lead after claiming his seventh overall win of the season in Unadilla.

It was Australia’s Josh Strang of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing/Bel-Ray team who claimed the All Balls Racing holeshot award while Russell found himself buried deep in the pack.

However, Russell made quick work through the pack, and once they checked through timing and scoring for the first time it was the three-time defending champion who had passed Strang and already built a substantial 43-second gap.

With Russell out front it was Strang and Rocky Mountain ATVMC/KR4 Arrive-N-Ride Team’s Thad Duvall who battled it out for second position.

As the three-hour race wore on Russell continued to extend his lead, while Strang and Duvall battled it out wheel-to-wheel. Duvall secured second when Strang took a quick pit stop to take off his hydration pack. Strang didn’t lose much time and kept Duvall in tow.

With a nearly two-minute gap on the duo of Duvall and Strang, Russell was able to rebound from a crash he experienced on the last lap and still see the checkered flag first.

Behind Russell, Duvall and his team members decided to make a pit stop on the last lap allowing Strang, who decided not to pit, by for second. Strang continued to fend off Duvall where a mere three hundredths of a second separated the duo when the crossed the finish line.

SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires’ Steward Baylor Jr. placed just off the podium in fourth, one of his best races this season. Baylor began the day outside the top-10, but worked his way through the pack even as he began to experience brake issues on the last two laps.

Former AMA motocross and supercross ace, Ryan Sipes, rode a consistent race for aboard his Coastal Racing/Rockstar/Husqvarna fifth overall.

Russell now holds a 20-point lead of Australia’s Strang followed by Trevor Bollinger in third, Jordan Ashburn in fourth and Craig Delong rounding out the top five.

The 2016 GNCC series will now head to Marvin’s Mountain Top in Masontown, West Virginia, for round 11 on 24-25 September.