Ben Kelley Earns XC2 250 Pro Class Win

The 12th Annual AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC took place Sunday, June 24 as round nine of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship. After an abundance of rain showers fell throughout the weekend, the rough and rugged conditions created grueling track that lived up to the nickname of “America’s Toughest Race.” When the checkered flag flew after three hours of intense racing it was FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell taking home the coveted win.

Kailub Russell took the checkered flag, earning his seventh win of the season. Ken Hill

The unique live engine start modeled after the famed Blackwater 100 race saw JCR/Honda’s Trevor Bollinger jumping out front with Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. in tow. However, as the leaders came through on lap one it was AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell leading the way on adjusted time as he started from the second row.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall crashed at a high speed, hurt his wrist and was unable to finish Round 9 in Snowshoe. Ken Hill

Russell and Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall were running at the front of the pack and were able to gain momentum in the treacherous conditions. Duvall and K. Russell would push themselves throughout the entire race, unfortunately Duvall would suffer a wrist injury on lap seven ultimately making it unable for him to finish the race.

Steward Baylor Jr. (#514) and Trevor Bollinger (#739) got a good jump off the starting line. Ken Hill

When the checkered flag flew it was K. Russell taking the win, his seventh of the season. Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Grant Baylor had a mid-pack start, but continued to push forward during the race, earning him the second spot on the podium. Rounding out the overall podium at this year’s AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC was Bollinger. After a strong start, Bollinger put his head down and pushed forward battling at the front for his third overall spot.

Trevor Bollinger had rear brake issues and did a wheel swap  and pad change losing minimal time. Going out on the last lap he charged  narrowly missing 2nd place by 3 only seconds after adjusted time. Trevor took 3rd overall for the day. Darrin Chapman photo

After leading the race for the first two laps, R. Russell would manage to hold onto a top five finish with his fourth in XC1 Open Pro. S. Baylor Jr. rounded out the top five after riding with an injured knee. KR4/Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick had his best finish of the season with a sixth in XC1. Buttrick’s teammate Layne Michael also put in a great ride finishing seventh.

Kailub Russell earned the coveted AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC win. Ken Hill

Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Josh Strang was present at the race after welcoming his new baby boy, Maverick on Saturday morning. Strang would come through on lap one close to the back of the pack but would push forward during the three-hour race and finish in the eighth place position. Solid Performance/KTM/Fly Racing’s Jesse Groemm came away with the ninth place finish in XC1.

GNCC welcomed two JNCC riders this weekend at the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC, Ren Ishidoya and Mai Ishimoto. Ishidoya raced in the XC1 Open Pro class, while Ishimoto raced in the 10 a.m. Women class.

Trail Jesters/KTM’s Ben Kelley came away with the XC2 250 Pro class win after a grueling battle on the mountain. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth earned the second place position. Both Kelly and Toth did not make it easy, swapping the lead multiple times during the race. MCS Racing/SIDI/Arai’s Jonathan Girroir earned his first XC2 250 Pro class podium coming away with the third place position. M&E Honda/Fly Racing/Alpinestar’s Austin Lee and SP KTM/Moose Racing/Kenda Tires Ryder Lafferty rounded out the top five.

Ben Kelley (center) took home the XC2 250 Pro class win.Ken Hill

Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Alex Teagarden earned the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class win at Snowshoe after a long hard fought battle with the rest of the XC3 riders. FMF/Maxxis/RPM KTM’s Jesse Ansley and Raines Riding University’s Jason Raines rounded out the podium. Trail Jesters/KTM’s Christopher Bach made his return to racing this past weekend and found himself running at the front of the class before a mechanical issue would force him out of the race on lap seven.

During the 10 a.m. race it was two Sportsman A riders, Gary Fridley and Brad Bakken, take the first two overall positions. KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones took third overall, and first in the WXC class. Fly Racing/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/KTM’s Becca Sheets made her return to racing after injuring her jaw at round six. Sheets would finish second in WXC and fourth overall in the morning. Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish came away with the third place position in WXC.

As the youth riders took off into the fog at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, it was Max Fernandez come through the finish first overall and in the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class. Peyton Whipkey followed earning the second place position and Toby Cleveland would earn third overall and his class win in the YXC2 Super Mini Jr. class. Canon Kuneff, hailing from Fairmont, West Virginia, came away with fifth overall and a class win in the 85cc (12-13) class.

Tayla Jones (center), Becca Sheets (left) and Rachel Gutish (right) rounded out the WXC podium. Ken Hill


XC1 Open Pro Event Results:

  1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  2. Grant Baylor (KTM)
  3. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  4. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  5. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
  6. Cory Buttrick (HQV)
  7. Layne Michael (HQV)
  8. Josh Strang (HQV)
  9. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
  10. Thad Duvall (HQV)

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Kailub Russell (256)
  2. Thad Duvall (202)
  3. Trevor Bollinger (164)
  4. Steward Baylor Jr. (149)
  5. Josh Strang (136)
  6. Ben Kelley (134)
  7. Josh Toth (121)
  8. Ricky Russell (109)
  9. Layne Michael (73)
  10. Craig Delong (72)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2018 National Champion.

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  2. Josh Toth (KTM)
  3. Jonathan Girroir (SUZ)
  4. Austin Lee (HON)
  5. Ryder Lafferty (KTM)
  6. Mike Witkowski (BET)
  7. Zach Nolan (KTM)
  8. Jonathan Johnson (YAM)
  9. Pascal Rauchenecker (HQV)
  10. Zack Hayes (KTM)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Ben Kelley (238)
  2. Josh Toth (225)
  3. Pascal Rauchenecker (145)
  4. Craig Delong (142)
  5. Austin Lee (131)
  6. Evan Smith (111)
  7. Jonathan Johnson (103)
  8. Liam Draper (98)
  9. Mike Witkowski (92)
  10. Zack Hayes (84)

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