By: GNCC Racing

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Oct. 30, 2016) – It was a bittersweet day as the 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, came to a close for the season in Crawfordsville, Ind. Ironman Raceway hosted more than 2,400 riders in the course of the two-day Ironman GNCC event, but at the conclusion of today’s 1 p.m. pro bike race it was FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell who stood atop of the podium and earned his 40th career overall win.

thad duvall ironman 2016

As the green flag dropped for the XC1 Pros, it was MCS Racing Suzuki/Obermeyer/Kenda/MX Tech/Fly Racing’s Ricky Russell who jumped out ahead of the rest of the field, grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. While R. Russell led the way into the Indiana woods, it did not take long for K. Russell to secure the lead.

Even though K. Russell was in a familiar position, he had to fight off the pressure he felt from Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4 Arrive-N-Ride Team rider Thad Duvall where only a mere second separated the pair as they checked through timing and scoring for the first time. The duo continued charging hard and, before long, they had gapped Westfield Powersports KTM Presented by Moose Racing’s Jordan Ashburn, who held the third-place position.

As the season was coming to a close it was evident that Duvall wanted to end on a high note and, by the third lap, he had secured the lead position. K. Russell continued to hang with him and was able to make the pass back for the lead when Duvall pitted and he did not. Duvall raced out of his pit and managed to keep K. Russell in his sights.

K. Russell and Duvall showed no signs of slowing down as the race reached its halfway point. Duvall eventually found himself in the lead once more until K. Russell made quick work in the open-field section and took the position once more.

It wasn’t until the two-lap card came out that Duvall faced some issues. “There was a hill climb that had two different lines around it. Kailub went up one side, so I went to the other. I thought it was clear, but when I got to the top there were about five lappers who were stuck,” said Duvall. “I tried everything I could do to get around them, but I fell when I went up on the bank and, thanks to another racer, I was able to get going a lot quicker than I thought I was going to be able to.”

As the race wore on, another battle began brewing between the Baylor Brothers and R. Russell. SRT/KTM/Kenda Tires-backed Steward Baylor Jr.’s strong showing ended on the white-flag lap when he was forced to pull off the track due to a mechanical issue. His brother, Grant Baylor, continued to power through on his N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha-backed machine when R. Russell also faced a setback.

ironman bike podium 2016

“I had a lot of trouble in the beginning with my setup and thought about calling it a day,” said R. Russell. “But I just couldn’t do that because it was the last race and I refused to go out that way. I was determined to give it my all, and then I came back up and was fighting for a podium position. I was running third on the last lap, and I got pointed to the wrong line in a mud hole. I ended up going down pretty bad, and Grant [Baylor] was able get around me, which he was definitely hard-charging, but I still wanted and feel like I deserved the podium.”

While Duvall was able to recover quickly, K. Russell was well on his way to adding valuable time to his lead and, by the time the checkered flag waved, K. Russell had a 38-second lead on Duvall, who finished in the runner-up position. G. Baylor’s consistency paid off as he crossed the line in third, marking his third podium finish of the year.

“The fans just make this race an awesome experience,” said K. Russell. “I had a great day riding with Thad. I haven’t ridden for a week and a half, so it made it a tough day, but it’s unbelievable that I was able to capture my 40th career overall win today.”

The 1:00 p.m. race was broadcast live in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video now. Please click here to view the full three-hour race coverage. In addition to the archived race coverage on Racer TV, a highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. Complete results from today’s racing can be found here.

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