The Specialized General: Motorcycle Race Report
DeLong Earns First Career Overall Win
Craig DeLong (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) earned his first-ever overall GNCC win in the Georgia mud. Photo: Ken Hill
Following a dry and sunny day of ATV racing on Saturday, round 3 of the 2023 Grand National Cross Country Racing Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) continued on Sunday with motorcycle racing as heavy rainfall infiltrated the grounds of Aonia Pass MX Park in Washington, Georgia.
As the XC1 Open Pro class took off the line it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award and the lead position. DeLong would continue to battle at the front of the field, and he would eventually begin to place a bit of a gap on the rest of the XC1 racers. After earning podium finishes at the first two rounds, Delong would earn his first-ever career overall GNCC win
Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang would battle at the front of the field but would fall back to sixth on the second lap of the race. As he continued to push, he would make his way back up to third by the time the white flag was waving. Strang would move into the second place position on the last lap of the race and earn his first podium finish of the season in the tough conditions, where he seems to excel as he claimed a podium finish at the 2021 Ironman GNCC.
Battling back-and-forth for the duration of the race was Rocky Mountain/Tely Energy/KTM Racing’s Steward Baylor. As his race bike almost didn’t make it to the line Baylor was prepared to battle on a 2-stroke KTM machine that was under in his pit area. However, just as the 10 seconds call was about to be made Baylor’s mechanic made it to the line with his race ready bike. Baylor would come through sixth on lap one but would battle through to take over second and then third as the race continued on. Baylor would find himself in fourth as the white flag waved but would soon move into the third place position as he made his way to the checkered flag. Baylor now holds a three point lead in the National Championship standings.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley knew when the rain continued to fall that it was going to be a survival race. As Kelley entered the woods fourth on the opening lap he would continue to push, but he would go down in the mud which put him back to seventh at the halfway point. Kelley would continue to push throughout the remaining laps and would work his way up to fourth as the checkered flag flew. Kelley sits just three points behind Baylor in the points standings.
Josh Strang (Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green) battled through the conditions to earn second overall. Photo: Ken Hill
Kelley’s teammate, FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Jonathan Girroir put in a good ride finishing fifth overall on the day. As he came around on lap one timing and scoring had him back in the tenth place position. Girroir would push through the gnarly conditions, making his way up to fifth with two laps to go. He held his position and made good line choices throughout the last lap, putting him just five seconds behind his teammate.
Coming through to take eighth in the XC1 class was Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Grant Baylor, who battled back from an eighth place start to the day. Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn would start his day at the front of the pack as he ran third for the first couple of laps. However, Ashburn would fall back to seventh as the checkered flag came out.
Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall battled back-and-forth as he had to make his way through field after falling back to eleventh at one point. Duvall continued to put his head down and push through the muddy course earning eighth in the XC1 class. GASGAS/FXR/Scott Goggle’s Layne Michael battled back to earn ninth in the XC1 class as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Trevor Bollinger rounded out the top 10 in XC1. AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell would have a stellar start to the day as he ran up front for majority of the race. However, on the last lap he would suffer a mechanical issue and be unable to make it to the checkered.
Angus Riordan (FMF/RPM KTM) earned his first-ever XC2 250 Pro class win.
Photo: Ken Hill
In the XC2 250 Pro class it was FMF/RPM KTM Racing’s Angus Riordan making his way into the lead as the white flag flew indicated one more lap to go. Riordan would start his day back in sixth and steadily work his way up through the pack. Riordan would put his head down and push, creating over a two-minute gap over the rest of the XC2 field. Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing’s Evan Smith was off to a good start as he grabbed the $250 Steel City Men’s Clinic XC2 Holeshot Award. Smith would continue to run at the front of the pack for the first couple of laps, but he would continue to push throughout the duration of the race. Smith would come through to make a last lap pass and place second on the day in the XC2 class. Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cody Barnes would battle his way up to third in the XC2 class, earning his first podium finish of the season.
Jason Lipscomb (Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing) earned the
FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class win. Photo: Ken Hill
In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class it was Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing’s Jason Lipscomb jumping off the line to earn the $100 Lojak Cycle Sales XC3 Holeshot Award. As the race continued on Lipscomb would continue to lead the way for the duration of the race. When he came through to the checkered flag, he would have a 16 minute gap on the rest of the XC3 field. Hall’s Cycles/Enduro Engineering/Moose Racing’s Jhak Walker would make his way into second as the white flag flew, and he would continue to battle for the last lap holding onto that number two position. FXR/X Brand Goggles/6D Helmets’ Dakoda Devore would come through to earn third in the class after a sixth place start to his day.
Rachael Archer (AmPro Yamaha) came through to earn her first
WXC class win of the season. Photo: Ken Hill
On the last lap of the race Archer would make her way around Gutish, and she would continue to push on towards the finish line. When the duo came to the finish line it was an all-out race to the finish as the ruts had accumulated so much water you really could not tell how deep any of them were. Archer would make her way up to the finish line first, but she would get sideways and tip over with Gutish making her way almost over top of her to earn second on the day. Steede would continue to battle through to take third back from KTM/FXR/Enduro Engineering’s Shelby Turner and make her way to the checkered flag to round out the top three in the WXC class.
Craig DeLong (center), Josh Strang (right) and Steward Baylor (left) rounded out the top three
The Specialized General Results and Points Standings
Round 3 of 12
Sunday, March 12, 2023
XC1 Pro Event Results:
- Craig DeLong (HQV)
- Josh Strang (KAW)
- Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
- Ben Kelley (KTM)
- Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
- Grant Baylor (KAW)
- Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
- Thad Duvall (GAS)
- Layne Michael (GAS)
- Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
*Overall National Championship Standings:
- Steward Baylor (76)
- Ben Kelley (73)
- Craig DeLong (67)
- Jordan Ashburn (43)
- Grant Baylor (42)
- Ricky Russell (39)
- Josh Strang (38)
- Ryder Lafferty (36)
- Angus Riordan (35)
- Lyndon Snodgrass (33)
*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2023 National Champion.
XC2 250 Pro Event Results:
- Angus Riordan (KTM)
- Evan Smith (BET)
- Cody Barnes (HON)
- Ruy Barbosa (HON)
- Michael Witkowski (HON)
- Lyndon Snodgrass (KAW)
- Ryder Lafferty (GAS)
- Mason Semmens (KTM)
- Liam Draper (YAM)
- Philippe Chaine (KTM)
XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:
- Ryder Lafferty (74)
- Angus Riordan (67)
- Lyndon Snodgrass (61)
- Liam Draper (52)
- Ruy Barbosa (51)
- Cody Barnes (49)
- Evan Smith (47)
- Mason Semmens (41)
- Michael Witkowski (34)
- Jonathan Johnson (34)
Comments are closed.