GNCC KICKOFF- RUSSELL DOMINATES!

 

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Kailub Russell finally got off to a great start at round one of the GNCCs. This doesn’t bode well for the competition.

 

GNCC KICKOFF- RUSSELL DOMINATES!

Photos by Ken Hill

The 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, kicked off its 41st annual season on Sunday with the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC in Palatka, Florida. Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell picked up right where he left off last season with a commanding victory in the XC1 Pro Class.

 

With two consecutive GNCC National Championships behind him, Russell entered the 2015 opener as the heavy favorite. Russell got off to a favorable start behind N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn, the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award winner. Ashburn grabbed the early lead but it didn’t take long for Russell to make his way to the front.

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Josh Strang put forth a solid second-place ride at the Wild Boar GNCC, but was over two minutes behind Kailub.

The major battles took place just behind the leader as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang went back-and-forth with fellow Husqvarna-mounted riders Ryan Sipes and Thad DuVall early on. As the trio charged toward the front, JCR Honda’s Chris Bach slowly inched his way into the battle. By the halfway point, Bach had made his way into a podium position while Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR’s DuVall charged close behind.

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Chris Bach made his return to the overall podium with a third place finish at round one on his JCR Honda.

AirGroup/Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna-backed Sipes experienced a big crash just after the halfway mark that ultimately hindered his chances at an overall podium finish. Strang capitalized on that, creating a gap between himself and the third place finisher; however, Russell continued to put time on the 2010 GNCC National Champion. Meanwhile, DuVall caught up to Bach on the final lap as the duo finalized their charge toward a podium finish.

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Thad DuVall just narrowly missed the podium at the season opener on his new Husky ride.

 

After three grueling hours on one of the most challenging and rough courses that GNCC has to offer, Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell made a big statement with a commanding lead over the rest of the field. Russell’s win marks his 23rd career overall victory and his first-ever overall win at a season opening round in Florida.

Strang came through over two and a half minutes behind Russell to secure second place overall, while Indiana’s Chris Bach put his JCR Honda atop the third and final podium position. Despite a hard charge at the end, DuVall finished the day with fourth overall at the season opener.

 

 

Canadian Motocross Lites Champion Tyler Medaglia made an appearance at the opening round, finishing an impressive fifth overall for the day. Medaglia joins an onslaught of Husqvarna machines inside the top ten running with big support from Husky Canada and Parts Canada. Sipes settled into the sixth place position despite a big crash after the halfway point.

 

N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammates Grant Baylor and Jordan Ashburn finished seventh and eighth places respectively. HR Motorsports-backed Takeshi Koikeda finished ninth and Cory Graffunder rounded out the top ten.

In the XC2 Pro Lites division it was Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR’s Nick Davis who came away with the first victory of the season at the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC.

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XC2 podium: (left) Ricky Russell, Nick Davis, (right) Jason Thomas

 

 

XC1 Event Results:

Kailub Russell (KTM)

Josh Strang (HSQ)

Chris Bach (HON)

Thad DuVall (HSQ)

Tyler Medaglia (HSQ)

Ryan Sipes (HSQ)

Grant Baylor (YAM)

Jordan Ashburn (YAM)

Takeshi Koikeda (HON)

Cory Graffunder (KTM)

 

XC2 Event Results:

Nick Davis (HSQ)

Ricky Russell (YAM)

Jason Thomas (KTM)

Tegan Temple (KTM)

Craig Delong (HSQ)

Layne Michael (HON)

Cory Buttrick (BET)

Michael Witkowski (KTM)

Brad Bakken (YAM)

Drew Torrance (KTM)

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