Fifth win of the season for Kelley as Russell returns to racing
Results from round five of the 2022 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) at Society Hill South carolina where Ben Kelley continued his perfect season with victory and Kailub Russell returned to action – in the Sportsman class...
Moree’s Sportsman’s Preserve at Society Hill, South Carolina hosted a typically packed GNCC weekend of races on a course which brought back the moto track this year to mix up some air time for riders as well as the beaten-up woods riding.
The feature race holeshot went the way of Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Ricky Russell on his return to competition from a shoulder injury. But as in previous rounds this season, FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley took the lead in the opening lap and put in another flawless performance during the three-hour race. Relentless pace saw Kelley set the fastest lap time on every one of the six laps to take his fifth-straight win and a perfect 150 points haul for the season.
“This track beat me down last year and coming into it this year, I did all the right things and I felt good.” Explains Kelley. “The track was super square-edge and rough, so it was tricky. You could go so fast, which I loved, but it was slippery out there. Going onto the moto track was awesome, I’m pumped they put that back in and jumping through those rollers was sick! It’s awesome to get another win but I’m just trying to stay focused – just riding and trying to do my thing.”
Camp Coker Bullet GNCC results:
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Trevor Bollinger worked his way up from fifth on lap one. Third by the halfway point, Bollinger benefitted from his teammate Craig DeLong suffered a pitstop refuelling issue which meant he had gas splashed over him. By the white flag Trevor was in P2 and he made it stick for his second podium on the bounce.
“It feels good to be up here again,” Bollinger said. “I knew it was going to be gnarly today but I wasn’t too worried with where I was at, I just kept plugging along. I think this is my first podium ever here and I feel like I earned it today. It feels good to be back where I was when I was fighting Kailub [Russell] and Thad [Duvall] for race wins. Now, I’m calm and collected and I feel like I know how to race again.”
Baylor G’s first podium of the season
Taking third overall and his first podium of the season was Rev Motorsports GASGAS Racing’s Grant Baylor. Working away in the mid-pack for much of the race, Baylor began the final lap in fourth but he continued to push and grabbed third overall from DeLong.
Magna1 Motorsports Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn had his equal “worst” results of the season to round our the top five in XC1 class and remains second overall in the championship points.
2022 Championship points after round 5:
Lafferty takes maiden XC2 win
As the XC2 250 Pro class took off it was RPM/KTM Racing’s Angus Riordan who hit the holeshot and lead on the opening lap. AmPro Yamaha’s Michael Witkowski was on his case and took the lead for three laps but came under pressure from Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Ryder Lafferty.
Just 1.3 seconds separated them on lap four and Lafferty made the pass for the lead on lap five and he held on to claim his first GNCC XC2 250 win.
Babbitt’s Kawasaki’s Lyndon Snodgrass had to work harder at this round making his way up from an eighth place start to take P2 on lap five. Unable to catch Lafferty, Snodgrass came through in second ahead of Witkowski to maintain the championship lead.
Russell and Osborne steal the AM race
In the morning race, it was on between the WXC racers, eight-time GNCC National Champion Kailub Russell and two-time AMA Motocross Champion Zach Osborne to see who would take the overall win.
As row one took off Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede hit the front and tagged on with Russell and Osbourne as they caught up form their Sportsmen, row two start. The trio checked in nose to tail at the end of lap one with Rockstar Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones close behind..
Steede was relentless and lead the pack on lap two as they came through lap scoring with Russell and Osborne right behind her and Jones closing in on all three. The boys took over the lead again but Jones first made the pass on Steede for the WXC lead and pushed into the AM race lead as the white flag came out.
Battling for pride, Russell and Osborne turned it up on the last lap to claim first and second overall with Jones third who would take her second win of the season a minute clear – taking over the WXC points lead as a result. Steede earned second in the WXC class and fourth overall with AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer back in third place position in WXC.
Camp Coker Bullet Am race results:
The GNCC Racing Series will return to competition on May 7-8 with round 6, the Hoosier at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
More information and results for all classes: www.gnccracing.com
Photo Credit: Ken Hill