ricky russell jncc racing 975

Photo Credit: Miya Zawa

Ricky Russell made his trip to Japan a victorious one by claiming victory in the final round of the JNCC series at Jigatake.

The AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series continued their 12-year partnership with the Japan National Cross Country (JNCC) series this past weekend, Sunday, November 5. 

N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell was elected to represent the United States at the Jigatake Ski Resort in Omachi City, Nagano, Japan, after his successful 2017 XC1 season where he finished third overall. 

Russell capped off his already successful year and claimed the overall victory at the season finale AAGP JNCC race. 

Russell got off to a top-five start and battled in the three-hour race with Japan's best off-road talent, such as former GNCC competitor and current JNCC champion, Takeshi Koikeda. 

Russell found himself crossing the finish line victorious for the second time this season, after winning his first GNCC overall at Snowshoe Mountain earlier this year in June. 

Koikeda and Manabu Watanabe rounded out the premier AA class and overall podium

“Our trip to Japan was awesome,” explained Russell. “The entire JNCC race family took us in and treated us with top-notch hospitality. 

“This was the perfect way to end my season, and I'm excited to come back home with another JNCC win. I would like to say a special thanks to Racer Productions, Yamaha, Masami, Yoshi, Ayako and the entire JNCC crew for making this possible.”

GNCC Jr. Trail Boss and former XC2 250 Pro racer, Ryan Echols, also made the trip to Japan with Russell. 

The JNCC series partnered with Husqvarna to provide an FC250 for Echols to race, where he finished second in the AA2 class.

It is a tradition for JNCC President Masami Hoshino to invite GNCC riders to the season finale in exchange for a Japanese rider that will compete in a single round of the GNCC series. 

Earlier this year, Yamamoto Hiroshi traveled to West Virginia and raced in the XC1 Open Pro class at the Snowshoe GNCC in June where he finished 14th in class, respectively. 

The 2017 GNCC Racing Award Banquets will be hosted in Morgantown, West Virginia on December 1/2.