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Race Report Team Shenandoah Honda/USWE – Round 4 of the GNCC was held in Union SC for the “Big Buck”. Team Shenandoah Honda/USWE-sports.com rider Thad Duvall did recovered enough from his big crash two weeks ago (he tore some of his rib cartilage) to give it an honest effort. Unable to train properly and still in some pain, he rolled on the starting line.
Once the flag dropped he was in the back of the XC1 field, not something that we planned and he had his work cut out for him. After five minutes he crossed the timekeeping scoring in 18 overall and 8 th in the XC 1 class. Duvall started to pass riders left and right and by the time he passed the scoring area again he was in 3rd place (XC1), 28 seconds behind second place Mullins. The course was rough and took it’s toll on Duvall and his painful chest and ribs.
Unable to keep up with the two front runner, he rode the rest of the race in nomansland to a well deserved third place, his second podium for the year. Duvall: ”I was a tough day. Not be able to practise last week and still being in pain, I knew that it would be hard to fight for a win. My start was bad but luckily I was able to move into third really quickly and settle down in a comfortable pace. Unfortunately it was not fast enough to fight with Mullins and Russell, but overall I’m happy with a podium”.
Fred Andrews Racing (FAR) – Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong got back to his winning ways at the Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina, taking another big victory in the XC2 class. DeLong checked out from the field, extending his championship lead to over 20 points after only four rounds!
Andrew DeLong and the Fred Andrews Racing Husqvarna team headed to the Big Buck GNCC in search of another win. DeLong started the season with a win streak, but was stunted at round three by a hard crash. AD still managed to limp to a fourth-place finish to retain the points lead, but made a prompt return to the top of the podium in South Carolina.
DeLong tackled the 12-mile course aboard his TXC250R, and steadily pulled a gap over the field. With a lead of over a minute just before the white flag, DeLong unintentionally kept things exciting with a hard crash. Andrew managed to rip his rear fender off and smash his exhaust half shut, reducing his lead to 25-seconds. Some quick work in the pits and a steady last lap allowed DeLong to still capture the win.
“I had a great start and just put the hammer down,” DeLong said. “I had a big lead and almost gave away this win… but I still won!”
Factory FMF/KTM – Teammates Charlie Mullins and Kailub Russell topped the podium again for the fourth consecutive race adding a third win to Mullins championship hunt and the fourth podium for Russell. Rain the week prior had made the track condition prime for off-road racing. There were only a few mud holes and the course was moist enough in most areas to keep the dust down. The optimal conditions allowed the racing to be close in all classes.
Mullins and Russell launched off the line to top three starts. Russell quickly moved into the lead with Mullins in tow and the two teammates speedily pulled away from the rest of the field. Russell would lead the first three laps of the race before Mullins made a pass for the lead after the gas stop. Russell suffered a crash shortly after the gas stop and lost 15 seconds to his teammate. He quickly recovered and put down a fast lap in order to make up 7 seconds on Mullins. For the final lap of the race the teammates were within 10 seconds of each other. As they approached the last mile of the race, Russell fell in a corner which allowed Mullins to move ahead and claim his third win of the season. Russell finished approximately 30 seconds behind in the runner-up position.
“Kailub gave me a run for my money today,” commented Mullins. “We have been close all season but today was definitely a challenge. It is great to be battling with my teammate and to have someone push me at each event. I am glad to get the win here today and add to my points lead.”
In the GNCC XC2 Pro Lites class KTM support rider Grant Baylor grabbed the holeshot. He ran inside the top five all day and eventually went on to finish second overall. His podium finish at the Big Buck GNCC allows him to maintain second place in the championship standings.
Factory FMF/KTM rider Maria Forsberg, fresh off her silver medal at the Women’s X-Games EnduroCross in Brazil, put together another solid performance to claim her third win in a row. Forsberg got off to a great start and battled with RPM/KTM rider Kacy Martinez throughout the day. When the checkered flag flew Forsberg took the win, Martinez finished second and Jessica Patterson rounded out the podium.