SNOWSHOE, W. Va. – West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain played host to the 7th Annual AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC on Sunday, where racers from all over the world converged atop the largest ski resort in the state to try their hand in conquering the toughest racecourse on the circuit. After three hours of battle between man and machine, it was Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell who came out on top.
Kailub Russell finished over three minutes ahead of the rest of the XC1 pack on Sunday Photo: Hill
As the current XC1 Pro points leader heading into the ninth round, Russell began on the first row of the unique live engine start, alongside Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Josh Strang, N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn and KTM Support rider and XC2 Pro Lites points leader Grant Baylor, who entered this race in fifth place in the overall standings. Russell got a good jump and led the front-runners into the opening lap of racing, but the reigning champ had a few heavy challengers early on with the time adjustment.
Row one starters: Josh Strang (4), Kailub Russell (1 left), Grant Baylor (1 right), Jordan Ashburn (7)Photo: Hill
Back on the third row was RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Thad DuVall, who quickly made his way into the second place position with about twenty-seconds of time adjustment on his side. Factory Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong interjected himself into the battle by lap two, where he exchanged positions with DuVall and Ashburn throughout the first three laps. However, things quickly took a turn for the worst for DuVall on the fourth lap just as he broke into the overall lead on the adjusted time clock. DuVall began experiencing mechanical issues that ultimately ended his day with a tow back to the pits, which was a very disappointing ending to the day for the West Virginia native.
Russell laid down the fastest lap of the afternoon on lap three Photo: Hill
Amidst the increasingly difficult Snowshoe track conditions, the top three contenders seemed to keep the pace and consistency all afternoon. Russell maintained a lead that just couldn’t be touched, while Ashburn continued to chase down the leader in the second place position. Despite a hard charge by the Tennessee native of Ashburn, Russell finished more than three minutes ahead of the pack to capture his third straight win of the season. After nine rounds of racing, Russell holds the XC1 Pro points lead heading into the summer break.
Jordan Ashburn had his best career finish with second overallPhoto: Hill
Ashburn put forth a career-best performance with a second place overall for the day.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. had a come-from-behind performance, making his way from outside the top ten on the first lap to finish fifth overall for the day and fourth in the XC1 Pro class. Johnny Campbell Racing Honda’s Chris Bach began just behind Baylor and finished fifth overall for the day.
After running just outside the top three overall in the beginning, Strang finished the day sixth in the XC1 class, and ninth overall.
Andrew Delong put a solid ride together to capture his first career XC1 podium finish Photo: Hill
The battle for the lead position in the XC2 Pro Lites class was one of the most exciting, as Grant Baylor and Trevor Bollinger went head-to-head for the class win. The duo went back and forth all afternoon, but it was the reigning XC2 champ Baylor who came out victorious after three hard hours of racing. Baylor’s performance was good enough to land him fourth overall, while Bollinger came in second in the XC2 class, and sixth overall.
XC1 podium: (left) Jordan Ashburn, Kailub Russell, (right) Andrew Delong Photo: Hill
Pennsylvania’s Nick Davis put his KR4 Arrive-N-Ride KTM atop the XC2 Pro Lites podium for the second straight week with an impressive hard-charge late in the race. Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise KTM Race Team’s Jesse Groemm finished fourth in the class, while Raines Riding University/Atlas Cycles’ Ricky Russell rounded out the top five.
XC2 podium: (left) Trevor Bollinger, Grant Baylor, (right) Nick Davis Photo: Hill
Indiana’s Mike Witkowski earned yet another $125 American Kargo Top Amateur Award with 17th overall, while grabbing the 250 A class win at Snowshoe.
In the 10 a.m. race, it was West Virginia’s very own Stephen Thaxton who captured the overall victory. Thaxton edged out his Super Senior A 45+ competitor Ricky Matteson, who took second overall for the day, as well as second place in the class. In a last ditch effort to capture a podium position in front of his home state crowd, 200 C winner Coalton Cupp put himself into third overall with an impressive last-lap charge for third.
Kacy Martinez secured the WXC Championship at round nine Photo: Hill
In the WXC Class, it was Factory FMF/KTM’s Kacy Martinez atop the podium once again. With her eighth win of the season, Martinez was able to secure her first career WXC Championship at the ninth round. KR4 Arrive-N-Ride’s Brooke Cosner captured her first career podium with a second place finish in the class, while Virginia native Sarah Baldwin rounded out the podium with a third place finish.
South Carolina’s Cole Mattison made it six-in-a-row on Sunday with the Youth overall victory, as well as the Super Mini (14-15) class win. Mattison was joined atop the podium by Pennsylvania’s Austin Bryant in second and Alabama’s Kyler Godwin in third.
The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series heads into a break for the summer, resuming in October with round ten. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.
XC1 Event Results:
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
- Andrew Delong (HSQ)
- Steward Baylor (KTM)
- Chris Bach (HON)
- Josh Strang (YAM)
- Jason Thomas (KTM)
- Paul Whibley (YAM)
- Jesse Robinson (YAM)
- Ryan Sipes (KTM)
*Overall National Championship Standings:
- Kailub Russell (233)
- Charlie Mullins (180)
- Josh Strang (165)
- Jordan Ashburn (154)
- Grant Baylor (134)
- Paul Whibley (123)
- Andrew Delong (119)
- Ricky Russell (109)
- Steward Baylor (102)
- Chris Bach (92)
*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2014 National Champion.
XC2 Event Results:
- Grant Baylor (KTM)
- Trevor Bollinger (HON)
- Nick Davis (KTM)
- Jesse Groemm (KTM)
- Ricky Russell (YAM)
- Chris Douglas (KTM)
- Zach Love (KTM)
- Jedediah Haines (YAM)
- Sam Evans (KTM)
- Layne Michael (HON)
XC2 Series Standings:
- Grant Baylor (232)
- Ricky Russell (215)
- Trevor Bollinger (185)
- Layne Michael (127)
- Shane Hufford Jr (114)
- Jesse Groemm (108)
- Callan May (101)
- Sam Evans (100)
- Chris Douglas (99)
- Jedediah Haines (87)