Kailub Russell Celebrates GTR Full Gas Sprint Enduro Victory
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell drew first blood in the 2020 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series with a decisive victory at the opening round at the GTR Complex in Gaston, South Carolina. Kailub celebrated his 30th birthday on Saturday after topping the time charts by nearly a minute over Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Ricky Russell, while Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang finished third.
Kailub backed up that performance on Sunday by winning five of six tests for the overall victory. “I felt pretty decent and I was pretty happy with where I was on the track and physically,” said Kailub. “Everything was kind of flowing and I was not trying overly hard to put in the times that I was putting in. So that was a plus. We made a bunch of changes throughout the weekend with the bike, playing around with it. Just trying to figure out which direction to go when the track gets a certain kind of condition. We went back and forth and made a bunch of changes and everything seemed to work pretty well all around for the most part. It was a really solid weekend of tuning and testing and having good results, too.”
On Saturday, Kailub won four of the five tests, finishing second in test three when he dropped his front wheel in a hole and went down. Am Pro Yamaha’s Layne Michael took advantage of the situation to nip Kailub by about 1.5 seconds at the finish for the test win. Kailub took Saturday’s win by 6.3 seconds over Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Ricky Russell, who went 6-2-6-3-2 in the five tests. His worst two scores (two sixths) came in the Cross Test. Strang rounded out Saturday’s top three, about 4.5 seconds behind Ricky Russell, while Layne Michael, Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong, Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Liam Draper and Team Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Jordan Ashburn finished out the top seven.
On Sunday, Kailub showed he meant business by winning the opening test by nearly eight seconds over Ricky Russell. Draper turned in one of his best performances of the weekend for third. For the rest of the day, Strang, Michael and Ricky Russell battled over second, while Kailub dominated out front.
Ricky was a last-minute entry and, in fact, debated about even racing at all as late as Friday afternoon. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to race the Full Gas series, because I don’t usually do well in these and I’m not really chasing the series,” said Ricky. “All we were planning on doing was test the bike. Kailub was off in a world of his own, checking out and killing it, while everyone else was really tight. Me, Layne, and Strang were all within ten seconds of each other. It was tight racing. They’d get me on the cross, and then I’d get them a little bit on the enduro. We’d go back and forth and then before I know it I’m in the hunt. I was good fun.”
Despite getting stuck in a mudhole on Saturday and losing considerable time, Rockstar Husqvarna Lan Mills XC rider Tayla Jones beat out BABS Racing/Maxxis/Fly Yamaha’s Becca Sheets by nearly 15 seconds for the win in the Women’s Pro class. On Sunday, Jones won every test.
The 2020 Kenda Full Gas Sprint Enduro Series resumes on February 29-March 1 at Lane Farm MX in Garfield, Georgia for round two if the series. For more info on the series go to www.sprintenduro.com.
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Ricky Russell (Hsq)
- Layne Michael (Yam)
- Josh Strang (Kaw)
- Liam Draper (KTM)
- Craig DeLong (Hsq)
- Jordan Ashburn (Kaw)