UNION, S.C. (April 12, 2015) – Factory FMF/KTM’s XC1 Pro Bike rider Kailub Russell extended his win-streak to four, while N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar/MXP’s XC1 Pro ATV rider Walker Fowler earned his second victory of the season at round four of the 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, in Union, S.C.
After more than three-hours of intense racing at the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC in the XC1 Pro Bike class, Russell came away with his 26th career win, where he now sits tied with Ed Lojak for third place on the All-Time Bike wins list in GNCC Racing.
Russell began the day out front after capturing the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award and the two-time GNCC National Champion set the pace from there. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang put himself into the second-place position on the opening lap and began his three-hour charge toward Russell out front. Russell lost some valuable time in the first couple laps when he experienced two crashes that sent him off the bike and onto the ground. However, the reigning champion was able to quickly bounce back to ultimately maintain a 41-second lead over Strang as he crossed the finish line for his 26th career win in GNCC Racing.
Russell’s victory also signifies an undefeated season through the first four rounds, something that hasn’t been done since Josh Strang’s championship reign in 2010. Strang scored his fourth runner-up position of the season, where he sits only 20 points behind Russell in the championship standings.
Despite starting his day outside the top five, South Carolina native Grant Baylor immediately put his head down and made a charge through the pack. Once Baylor made his way into the third-place position, it was all eyes on Strang. As the white flag flew, Strang held a 20-second advantage over Baylor, but an impressive last-lap charge by Baylor resulted in an XC1 career-best finish of third overall, where he finished only four seconds behind in the end.
It was a tough day for Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR’s Thad DuVall, who experienced rear brake issues and spent valuable time in the pits. DuVall finished 24th overall.
In XC1 Pro ATV racing, CST/PirateMX.com/LSR/DeRisi/Tireblocks/SG-backed Adam McGill collected yet another $250 AMSOIL XC1 Pro Holeshot Award to begin the day out front. McGill turned up the pace immediately, with Fowler, Maxxis/B. Neal Motorsports’ Brycen Neal, Bithell Racing/Maxxis/Precision-backed Chris Bithell and JMR/ATVRiders.com-backed Jarrod McClure close behind.
McGill worked hard to create a comfortable gap on the rest of the field early on, but around the halfway mark of the four-lap race, Fowler began his charge to the front. As the two-lap card fell, Fowler made his move to the front and the lead duo battled their way to another exciting finish. Despite the pass, McGill didn’t let Fowler out of his sights as the two raced into the final turns of the two-hour race, with only seconds separating their machines. In the end, Fowler held a three-second lead on the West Virginia native as he came through for his second victory of the season in South Carolina.
The excitement didn’t stop with the lead battle. Neal and Bithell exchanged the third-place position several times throughout the first hour of the race, but it was McClure who upped the pace in the final moments to break through for his first podium appearance of the season with third overall.
Despite running inside the top three for a majority of the afternoon, Neal finished about 35 seconds off the podium at round four. However, Neal’s consistency thus far has earned the sophomore XC1 Pro rider a third-place position in the championship standings amidst a talented field of veteran riders. Bithell extended his consistent string of top-five finishes with his third fifth-place finish of the season.
After getting off to a mid-pack start, Maxxis/SSi/FLY/Yamaha’s Chris Borich maintained a consistent pace where he ultimately finished sixth overall for the day. Borich’s sixth-place finish marks the second time in four races that the six-time champion has finished off the podium, where he sits in fifth place in the early championship standings.
The 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes April 25 and 26 with the Limestone 100 GNCC in Springville, Ind. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.