FMF/KTM Race Report – GNCC Opening Round

 

River Ranch, FL – FMF/KTM rider Kailub Russell finished on the podium in the XC2 class at the opening round of the GNCC Series at the Westgate Resort Dude Ranch while teammate Steward Baylor finished 7th overall.

Russell, the defending XC-2 Champion, shined in Monday’s practice session and looked to be the one to beat on Tuesday afternoon. Russell had a great jump at the start of the XC2 race, rounding the first turn in 2nd, but a bobble in the slick terrain caused him to lose balance and run alongside his bike before he got back on board at the end of the pack. He quickly moved himself into the top three by the end of the first lap. Shortly after, Russell began to pump up and had to slow his pace. “I suffered from arm pump today a couple different times during the race which really set me back,” commented Russell. “I just didn’t get comfortable out there and lost some time to the front runners.”

On top of Russell’s arm pump issues, he also collided with another rider in a dangerous spot on the track where experienced riders where jumping the section while others were rolling the outside line. Russell leaped into the air to jump the section and collided with a rider who opted not to do the jump, sending them both to the ground. Despite his setbacks Russell still walked away with a solid 3rd place finish at the opener. KTM privateer Jesse Robinson earned 2nd overall.

Russell’s new teammate, 15 year-old Baylor, also had an up and down race. Baylor garnered a mid-pack start on his KTM 250 XC two-stroke and quickly moved into the top ten. Baylor was running in 6th position for the majority of the race before hitting a bridge which riders had to duck down behind their bars to cross under. The impact of the crash sent Baylor to the ground and caused him to lose a few minutes before recovering and returning to race action. He eventually finished 7th.

XC1 riders Nate Kanney and Cory Buttrick ran inside the top ten for the majority of the race. Kanney consistently changed positions within the top ten as he would put in a good time for half of a lap and then encounter a set back on the next. “The course was really tough today and I would charge hard through one section and catch up to some guys, then the next section I would ride straight into a rut that I thought would be a good line, sink in, and spend the next two minutes digging my bike out,” remarked Kanney. Despite his efforts to put in a good finish, a mechanical problem on the second to last lap caused him to DNF the race. Buttrick had a decent ride and finished in 8th position with blisters to prove it. Mexico’s Red Bull/KTM rider Sergio Diaz finished 9th overall.

However, the talk of the day was definitely about KTM privateer, Chris Bach, who got a great start in the XC1 class, ran inside the top three for the majority of the race, led for a small stint near the end and battled with Joshua Strang for the overall. Bach eventually finished in 2nd place just 7 seconds back from Strang.
 
In the Women’s class, RPM/KTM rider Maria Forsberg, made her debut appearance as a regular in the Women’s GNCC Series along with fellow KTM rider and WMA star Sarah Whitmore. Off the start, Whitmore got the jump, came in a little too strong, and laid it down in the first corner. Unfortunately, Forsberg was right behind her, ran into the back of her bike and also fell. Both KTM riders recovered quickly and were running 1st and 2nd within the first few miles. “I was really nervous after we crashed but we helped each other climb through the pack and were up front before we knew it,” remarked Forsberg. The two women riders battled back and forth for the first lap and half before Whitmore suffered her first crash allowing Forsberg to pull ahead. Three-quarters into the race Forsberg had over a four minute lead on the rest of the field. She maintained her pace and took an easy win.

Unfortunately, the rough palmettos were not as kind to Whitmore who suffered a bad crash on the third lap which caused her to DNF the race with a broken nose and slight concussion. “Although, I had a rough experience at my first GNCC, I want to come back and try again,” remarked the ever- optimistic Whitmore.

Next Event: Round 2 – Washington, GA
 
Overall XC1 Class –
1)Joshua Strang
2)Chris Bach – KTM
3)Charles Mullins
4)Jimmy Jarrett
5)Thad Duvall
6)Glenn Kearney
7)Barry Hawk
8)Cory Buttrick – KTM
9)Sergio Diaz – KTM
10)Paul Whibley

Overall XC2 Class –
1)Jason Thomas
2)Jesse Robinson – KTM
3)Kailub Russell – KTM
4)Josh Weisenfels
5)Jake Korn – KTM
6)Dustin Gibson – KTM
7)Steward Baylor – KTM
8)Scott Watkins
9)Travis Hullfish
10)Corey MacDonald

Women’s Class –
1)Maria Forsberg – KTM
2)Mandi Mastin
3)Kelsey O’Donnell
4)Ashley Crouch
5)Shelby Rolen – KTM
6)Sarah Whitmore – KTM
7)Kelly Hall – KTM
8)Samantha Steiner – KTM
9)Vanessa Marcoux – KTM
10)Karine Geoffrion

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