From KTM – Factory FMF/KTM riders Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins battled for the entire three-hour race at the second round of the GNCC Series to finish less than a bike length apart when they crossed the finish line to finish first and second respectively.
It was Mullins who grabbed a great start rounding the first corner in third position. Russell was close to him but slid out in the first corner to recover mid-pack. Russell quickly made up time and headed into the woods inside the top ten.
At the end of the first lap, Mullins, Russell and Thad Duvall battled for the top spot. From there, the three continued to swap the lead multiple times always staying within a three second window of each other for the entire seven lap race.
On the final lap, Russell led Mullins as they headed into the woods. Halfway through Mullins was able to make a pass for the lead. Unfortunately, he took a bad line in a mud section moments later allowing Russell to get back around. “Once I got back by Charlie, I was determined to not let him get the win. I wasn’t going to lose it on the last lap,” commented Russell.
Russell did hold on for the duration of the final lap to finish just a bike length ahead of Mullins at the finish. Now two races into the series, the two teammates are tied for the points lead.
Joining them in victory circle was their teammate, Maria Forsberg, who took the overall win in the Women’s class over fellow KTM rider Kacy Martinez. “I had a lot of fun today,” commented Forsberg. “I always like this event; I just wish it were a little muddier.” Heading to the third round, Forsberg, Martinez and Jessica Patterson are tied for the women’s points lead.
In the XC2 Pro Lites class, it was KTM support rider Grant Baylor who nailed the holeshot and took the early lead. Although he lost the lead on the second lap, he never stopped pushing and was able to hang on to finish a strong second place overall.
From Husqvarna – A mere four days after having dominated the opening round of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series, XC2-class racer Andrew DeLong backed it up with another victory, this time at The General GNCC in Washington, Georgia.
Much like the season opener in River Ranch, Florida only days earlier, the win was a tough fight for DeLong. This time he had Grant Baylor to duel with in the battle for the XC2 class lead. True to form, DeLong let his training do the talking. With two laps left, AD came in for fuel, where his mechanic, Joe Maurer, said, “It’s time to see who’s in shape!”
An all-out sprint in the last laps of the three-hour race saw DeLong with a 23-second lead at the white flag. He pushed hard to the finish, leaving Baylor and factory motocross racer Zach Osborne to battle for second.
“This track was a tough one,” DeLong said. “I gave it all I had today! I had a few crashes today and could not get into a good groove. I was just trying to go steady and then sprint the last two laps. I’m tired after all this racing in one week, but really excited to start the season strong!”
Shenandoah Honda – Round 2 of the GNCC Series was held just five days of the the Florida opener in Georgia, just barely enough time to let the body heal up. Team Shenandoah Honda/USWE-sports.com rider Thad Duvall felt good and ready to race when the flag dropped. Entering the woods section in sixth position, Duvall was able to make a couple of aggressive passes in the first two laps resulting in a third place after two laps. Able to keep the leaders in site, Duvall, Russell and Mullins fought hard for the win in the next few laps.
For a short while Duvall took the lead but made a couple mistakes towards the end and had to settle for third. Duvall: “Everything was going well until the end were I wanted to go for the win but ended up making a few mistakes. I learned a lot today racing with the leaders for most of the race. The Honda 450 worked really well and I was able to push the limit”.
With this third place, Duvall now sits in fourth place in the standings, just two points behind Josh Strang in third. The team will now focus on the Texas National Enduro round that was added to their calender after a great third place at round two in SC. The Texas enduro is made possible by Maxim Honda, Woodland Park Associates, mydoorco.com and additional hard work and dedication of Shenandoah Honda.