GNCC XC1 Champion Kailub Russell was given the opportunity to ride his first Pro Motocross on a Factory KTM this weekend and he made the most of it. With a three-month break in the GNCC series, where he is the current point leader, Russell trained at Aldon Baker’s compound with Marvin Musquin in preparation for round 10 at New Berlin, New York. He was probably hoping for rain, and he got his wish. After qualifing 12th earlier in the day, he made good use of his off-road racing skills as he put his KTM 450SX-F into sixth place off the muddy start. He rode steady in the early laps to put himself into a top-five position after five laps, and he continued to climb as high as third-place by lap eight. With a couple of small crashes late in the race, Russell lost a few positions to ultimately finish sixth in his first-career 450MX race.
Russell got off to a great fourth-place start in Moto 2 and he immediately began mixing it up with the front-runners early on. While running inside the top five, Russell unfortunately got caught up in the tail end of another rider’s crash ahead of him. The impact of the crash ended up breaking Russell’s rear brake pedal and sent him straight to the ground. Despite not having use of the rear brake, Russell re-mounted and charged ahead in the tenth-place position. However, that’s when misfortune struck again as he experienced a high-speed crash that sent him wailing to the ground and ultimately resulted in a banged-up elbow. From there, Russell and his team made the tough decision to call it a day, leaving him with a 30th place finish in Moto 2. Russell was able to salvage 13th overall in his first-ever AMA Pro Motocross National with combined moto scores of 6-30.
Russell: “The day started off really good, I qualified 12th in practice and in the first moto I got off to somewhat of a decent start but I had a lot of trouble keeping my goggles clean the first few laps and there was chaos everywhere. I made a bunch of good passes, I really kind of surprised myself and got up just outside the top five. I actually worked my way into third and was running there for a while but I had a little crash coming out of Gravity Cavity – I had to throw my goggles off and my gloves got all muddy so I struggled to hold onto the bars for the last ten minutes. I had one more tip-over but I rode it in the first moto to a sixth. In the second moto, I got off to a really good start. [Justin] Barcia got around me and then I think he got a little out of control and ended up looping his bike in front of me, which ended up hitting me, broke my brake pedal and I crashed and went down. I got going in tenth and just tried to feel the track out without the rear brake, which was tough today because it was so sloppy and you needed to rely on the brakes in some of the turns. I was riding really well but ended up having a pretty good crash and the bike tackled me and banged my elbow up – it hurt pretty good. Overall, I was really happy to be here and really pleased with my qualifying results and my first moto, but I’m just bummed with all the chaos that unfolded in the second one.”