By: GNCC Racing
MASONTOWN, W.Va. (Sept. 25, 2016) – The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, spent the weekend at Marvin’s Mountain Top in Masontown, W.Va., for the fifth-annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mountaineer Run GNCC. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell continued his dominance at the 11th round where he earned his eighth overall win of the season.
MCS Racing Suzuki/Obermeyer/Kenda/MX Tech/Fly Racing’s Ricky Russell jumped out to the early lead once the green flag waved and earned the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Pro Holeshot Award. Russell was able to use his good start to his advantage and avoid the first-turn pileup that involved Lojak Cycle Sales/JTR OffRoad’s Jason Thomas and Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing’s Ashburn.
Misfortune struck Ricky Russell in the third turn, allowing SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires’ Cory Buttrick to lead the way into the woods. Buttrick maintained the lead position as he checked through timing and scoring for the first time. After getting off to an unfavorable start, Kailub Russell made quick work and held the second-place position behind Buttrick.
“As easy as it may look sometimes, it’s never easy,” said Kailub Russell. “The track was pretty brutal with the dusty and hard-packed conditions, and it really takes a toll on your body and you just have to be patient. I got a terrible start and I was just impatient after that and continued to push through.”
While Kailub Russell was busy pushing through the field, Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4 Arrive-N-Ride Team’s Thad Duvall was following in his tracks. Duvall sat within striking distance of Russell at the conclusion on the second lap, but faced bike setup issues, which ultimately set him off the pace.
“The course was rough and I felt a little off all day,” said Duvall. “I just couldn’t ride my bike the way I wanted to. I decided to slow down and ride my own race to feel safe and keep it off the ground. When Ricky caught up to me I realized I wasn’t ready to get third again so I just put my head down and charged pretty hard the last few laps.”
Meanwhile Ricky Russell was determined to return to the front pack after his crash at the start of the race. With Kailub Russell beginning to pull a gap on Duvall, Ricky Russell was closing the gap on him. Kailub Russell faced a few small mistakes in the latter half of the race, resulting in his radiator shroud being displaced. With only two laps remaining the podium contenders all decided to ride smart through the rough and rugged track conditions.
Kailub Russell ended up crossing the line 54 seconds ahead of Duvall, who placed second. Ricky Russell grabbed the last spot on the box, earning his first-ever XC1 Pro podium and first podium for his Obermeyer/MCS Racing Suzuki team.
“I got off to a great start and then just got a little wild in the third corner and went down,” said Ricky Russell. “I got back up and was mid-pack trying to work my way through the dust. I crashed a few more times and then I started picking my lines and slowly worked my way through everyone. It’s been a rough year with ups and downs, but it just feels good to finally make it happen.”
SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires-backed Steward Baylor Jr. had another stellar performance, where he finished just off the podium in fourth. Ashburn recovered from the first-turn crash to place ninth overall and fifth in XC1 Pro. Cory Buttrick’s breakout ride resulted in sixth in class in addition to rounding out the top 10 overall.
The 1 p.m. bike pro race was broadcast live in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video now by visiting the GNCC LIVE page online.
The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series continues next weekend, Oct. 1-2, with the Polaris Ace Powerline Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio.