Yamaha Racing Snowshoe: Motorcycle Race Report
Kelley Returns to The Top in West Virginia

The Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) concluded its ninth round of racing, Yamaha Racing Snowshoe, on Sunday, June 25, atop Cheat Mountain in Snowshoe, West Virginia. Some sunshine made an appearance after rainy conditions were presented to the area throughout the week, it was clear that the tradition of the old Blackwater 100, known as “America’s Toughest Race,” was still alive.

As row one took off, the Snowshoe GNCC event pays tribute to the Blackwater heritage as the race starts “in town” with riders lined up in groups of five or seven on the main road. They start live-engine ever 10 seconds, and are time adjusted based off of what row they begin on. The early lead would go to AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell as they came through on lap one.

Ben Kelley (FMF/KTM Factory Racing) earned his second win of the season at round nine in West Virginia. Photo:Mack Faint


However, as they came through on lap two it would be Rocky Mountain/Tely Energy/KTM’s Steward Baylor leading the way. Not far behind them FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley was making the necessary moves towards the front of the pack, and he would move into the lead position by the time they came around to the finish line on lap three. Kelley would continue to hold the lead and push forward for the next two laps. When the checkered flag came out, Kelley would come through with over a minute lead to earn his second win of the season.

Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn would have a consistent race at Snowshoe as he held the number two position for the majority of the race. Ashburn would battle for the lead but would be unable to make a pass stick. He would hold onto second overall at round nine. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Jonathan Girroir would also have a good race as he continued to battle in the third overall position for the duration of the race. Girroir would come through to round out the podium before summer break.

After briefly holding the lead, Baylor would have to make a long pit stop to have a rear tire changed. He could get back out on the track and continue to charge, making his way up to fourth overall for the day. Baylor Jr. now sits tied in the points standings for the National Championship. Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Grant Baylor would round out the top five overall finishers on the day as he worked his way up from seventh.

Jordan Ashburn (Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna) battled throughout the race to finish second overall at Snowshoe. Photo: Ken Hill


Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong, who is now tied with Baylor in the points standings for first, did not have the race he hoped for at Snowshoe as he came through sixth in XC1 and 11th overall on the day. His teammate, Trevor Bollinger would come through in seventh with a 15th overall finishing position.

Battling back after running outside the top 10 for the majority of the day was Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang. As he came through to the finish, he would cross the line eighth in the XC1 Open Pro class. GASGAS/FXR Moto/Scott Goggle’s Layne Michael would come through behind Strang to earn ninth in the class, while Enduro Engineering/GASGAS’ Joshua Toth made an appearance at the GNCC event to round out the top 10 in XC1. Unfortunately for Russell he would only be able to complete three laps before having to retire from the race.

Johnny Girroir continues his rise up the ‘fast guy’ food chain with a strong third at the tough Snowshoe GNCC. Photo Mack Faint


AmPro Yamaha’s Liam Draper earned his second-straight XC2 250 Pro class win of the season atop Snowshoe Mountain Resort. However, Draper would battle throughout the day with Phoenix Racing Honda’s Ruy Barbosa as they swapped the lead position for a brief period. Draper would soon regain the lead and come through to earn the win, while Barbosa would hold onto second in the class when the checkered flag flew. FMF/RPM KTM Racing’s Angus Riordan would find himself in podium contention once again after working his way up from a seventh place start to the day. Riordan would make the pass for third on the last lap and hold onto until he reached the checkered flag.

Liam Draper (AmPro Yamaha) earned his second XC2 250 Pro class win at the Yamaha Racing Snowshoe GNCC. Photo: Mack Faint


In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class it was Bonecutter Off-Road/Steel City Mens Clinic/XC Gear’s Thorn Devlin returning to the GNCC races and earning the class win after leading all five laps of the race. Carolina XC/Moose Racing/KTM’s Zack Hayes would work his way up to second in the class after a fourth place start to the day. Osburn Off-Road/JDP Suspension/Bell Helmet’s Jayce Knopp would steadily work his way up through the pack and round out the FMF XC3 podium with a third place finish on the day.

Thorn Devlin earned the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class win. Photo: Ken Hill


Earning the Snowshoe GNCC Top Amateur Honors was Nicholas Defeo of the 4-Stroke A Lites class as he earned the class win and came through 14th overall on the day. Cooper Jones would come through to earn second Top Amateur as he earned the 250 A class win and finished 18th overall. Michael Delosa finished second in the 250 A class and 22nd overall, earning himself the final spot atop the Top Amateur podium.

Rachael Archer (AmPro Yamaha) earned another WXC and overall morning win at Snowshoe. Photo: Ken Hill


As the morning race got underway and the WXC racers took off it was AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer getting out front early in the race. Archer would continue to push and place a gap out front as the race wore on. As the checkered flag flew Archer would come through to earn her sixth win of the season.

GASGAS/Over and Out/RG Factory Racing’s Rachel Gutish would hold onto second for the duration of the race, even after a slight mechanical issue would set her back from making a push to battle for the lead. Raines Riding University/Yamaha Racing’s Prestin Raines would swap the third place position multiple times with Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede. However, Raines would hold on to earn her second podium of the season with a third in the WXC class.

Gary Fridley of the Super Senior A class would come through to earn second overall in the race behind Archer, and Tucker Kenreigh would earn third overall and first in the 150 B Schoolboy (12-17) class.

Ryan Amancio earned the Bike Youth overall win in the muddy conditions. Photo: Ken Hill


In the Youth Race it was Ryan Amancio coming away with the overall win at Snowshoe, followed by James Jenkins and Canyon Richards rounding out the top three overall finishers. All three also completed the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. (14-15) class podium.

Doc Smith would come through to earn the YXC2 Super Mini Jr. (12-13) class win, while Ethan Harwell and Brayden Baisley rounded out the YXC2 top three finishers. Ryder Sigety claimed the 85 Big Wheel (11-15) class win, Ryder Reick earned the 85 (12-13) class win, Brody Boland would earn the 85 (7-11) class win, Tucker Aldrich brought home the 65 (10-11) class win, Jace Mitchell claimed the 65 (9) class win and Tripp Lewis earned the 65 (7-8) class win. Addison Harris clinched the Girls Super Mini (12-16) class win, Sahara Robinson would earn the Girls 85 (7-13) class win, Aubrey Tsakanikas would take home the Girls 65 (7-11) class win while Peyton Robinson earned the Trail Rider (7-15) class win.

Ben Kelley (center), Jordan Ashburn (left) and Jonathan Girroir (right) rounded out the top three overall finishers at the Yamaha Racing Snowshoe GNCC. Photo: Ken Hill


Yamaha Racing Snowshoe Results and Points Standings
Snowshoe, West Virginia
Round 9 of 12
Sunday, June 25, 2023

XC1 Pro Event Results:

  1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  2. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
  3. Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
  4. Steward Baylor (KTM)
  5. Grant Baylor (KAW)
  6. Craig Delong (HQV)
  7. Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
  8. Josh Strang (KAW)
  9. Layne Michael (GAS)
  10. Joshua Toth (GAS)

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Steward Baylor (178)
  2. Craig Delong (178)
  3. Ben Kelley (174)
  4. Jordan Ashburn (153)
  5. Grant Baylor (130)
  6. Jonathan Girroir (124)
  7. Ricky Russell (113)
  8. Josh Strang (109)
  9. Ruy Barbosa (104)
  10. Angus Riordan (98)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2023 National Champion.

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Liam Draper (YAM)
  2. Ruy Barbosa (HON)
  3. Angus Riordan (KTM)
  4. Grant Davis (KTM)
  5. Cody Barnes (HON)
  6. Michael Witkowski (HON)
  7. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
  8. Evan Smith (BET)
  9. Jack Edmondson (KTM)
  10. Jonathan Johnson (BET)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Liam Draper (194)
  2. Ruy Barbosa (191)
  3. Angus Riordan (177)
  4. Cody Barnes (176)
  5. Ryder Lafferty (145)
  6. Michael Witkowski (139)
  7. Mason Semmens (131)
  8. Evan Smith (123)
  9. Jonathan Johnson (107)
  10. Jesse Ansley (97)


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