Duvall wins in muddy Ohio but Russell bags second for his sixth straight GNCC title at penultimate round in 2018.


St. Clairsville, Ohio Powerline Park hosted its 18th Annual GNCC race at the weekend and saw FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell secure his sixth-consecutive GNCC XC1 National Championship. 

As the green flag fell for round 12 of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series Sunday, Kailub Russell got the All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. But a mistake at the FMF PowerPoint cost Russell meant he would come around mid-pack on the first lap gifting Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. the lead, followed by KR4/Husqvarna’s Layne Michael in second as they came through timing and scoring after completing lap one.


Duvall GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


As the XC1 Open Pro class made their way on the second lap, the Powerline mudhole jump would prove to be one of the toughest obstacles of the day. Despite a dramatic first corner crash, Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall had made his way from third to first during the second lap, with Baylor Jr. and K. Russell seconds behind him. The top three were ready to push each other for the penultimate round win.

Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Josh Strang was having problems of his own during the second lap, ultimately stopping in his pits for a new rear brake system. Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Grant Baylor did not get the start he wanted, but was busy working his way back up to the front of the pack hoping to battle for a podium position.

Duvall continued to lead the way at the halfway point, followed by K. Russell both of them stopping for a splash of gas, fresh goggles and hydration. Baylor Jr. would opt out of a pit stop and made the pass for second in pro row. 


Kailub Russell GNCC Action 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


Steward Baylor looking to put the pressure on Duvall at the front instead get caught out by the Powerline mudhole! He made the jump but tipped over in the muddy mess and needed help from the GNCC “mud fleas” to get going again.

Grant Baylor would hold on to the last podium spot with a third, followed by Steward Baylor and Strang rounding out the top five in XC1 Open Pro. JCR/Honda’s Trevor Bollinger battled throughout the race to hold onto a sixth place finish in XC1 and an eighth overall. Ashburn followed Bollinger in seventh, while AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell secured eighth place from 11th on the second lap.

Michael would also face misfortune after running at the front of the pack early on in the race, ultimately finishing in the ninth place position followed by Factory GasGas/FAR’s Andrew Delong rounding out the top 10 in the XC1 Open Pro class. Solid Performance KTM/ Fly Racing’s Jesse Groemm would complete five laps for an 11th place, while Ohio native KR4/Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick suffered some bad luck only completing three laps.


XC2 pro Start GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


XC2 Pro Class

Trail Jesters/KTM’s Ben Kelley jumped off the line to grab the Hot Cams Holeshot in XC2 Pros. While running at the front of the pack, Kelley would have lap times fast enough to lead the overall on adjusted time for the first half of the three-hour race. 

FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth managed to capitalize on lap four as Kelley suffered a crash, putting himself in the XC2 250 Pro class lead. However, Kelley would regain the lead and the pair battled for several laps. 

Kelley would eventually gap the XC2 field, finishing 54 seconds ahead of Toth, joining Duvall and K. Russell on the overall podium in third for the second-straight time. 


Overall podium GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


As the GNCC Series heads into its season finale at Ironman in two weeks, Kelley leads by Toth 23 points. Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Craig Delong moved himself into third in points, after an impressive ride at Powerline Park. Delong made the pass for third at the halfway point. Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski was in podium contention for majority of the race and finished fourth, his best finish of the season. Evan Smith secured another top five finish, his third of the season.

XC3 125 class

Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Zach Nolan earned the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am Wiseco Holeshot Award but it didn’t take long for FMF/Maxxis/RPM KTM’s Jesse Ansley to take over the first place position, followed by Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Alex Teagarden. 

Ansley and Teagarden battled at the front, with Nolan and MCS Racing/Kenda Tire/Moose Racing’s Cody Barnes behind. As the chequered flag flew, it was Ansley taking his sixth win to become the 2018 FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am National Champion. Teagarden finished second, with Nolan third and Barnes in fourth.


Jesse Ansley GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


Morning races

In the 10am race, Fly Racing/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM’s Becca Sheets claimed her third win of the season followed by KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones and Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish. Triston Landrum took the morning overall win in the Sportsman A class, with Randall Ervin coming in third overall. Brooke Cosner came through holding onto the fourth place position in WXC followed by New Zealand’s Rachael Archer rounding out the top five.


Becca Sheets GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


Ohio native Joseph Cunningham earned the overall win in the 8am Youth races, taking the win from the second row in the YXC2 Supermini Jr (12-13) class with Max Fernandez and Tyler Palmer rounded out the top three overall in the youth, while both finished in the top two of the YXC1 Supermini Sr (14-15) class. Grant Davis came through in fourth overall and second in YXC2, while Canon Kuneff and Jack Joy took fifth and sixth overall from the 85cc (12-13) class.


Cunningham GNCC 2018 Ohio Enduro21 560


XC1 Open Pro Event Results, Ohio:

  1. Thad Duvall (HQV)
  2. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  3. Grant Baylor (KTM)
  4. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
  5. Josh Strang (HQV)
  6. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  7. Jordan Ashburn (BET)
  8. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  9. Layne Michael (HQV)
  10. Andrew Delong (GAS)

Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Kailub Russell (297)
  2. Thad Duvall (262)
  3. Trevor Bollinger (190)
  4. Steward Baylor Jr. (189)
  5. Ben Kelley (176)
  6. Josh Strang (168)
  7. Josh Toth (152)
  8. Ricky Russell (127)
  9. Grant Baylor (101)
  10. Craig Delong (93)

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  2. Josh Toth (KTM)
  3. Craig Delong (HQV)
  4. Mike Witkowski (BET)
  5. Evan Smith (HQV)
  6. Bradley Cox (KTM)
  7. Liam Draper (HQV)
  8. Jonathan Johnson (YAM)
  9. Philippe Chaine (KTM)
  10. Austin Lee (HON)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Ben Kelley (298)
  2. Josh Toth (275)
  3. Craig Delong (181)
  4. Austin Lee (155)
  5. Pascal Rauchenecker (145)
  6. Evan Smith (142)
  7. Jonathan Johnson (127)
  8. Mike Witkowski (126)
  9. Liam Draper (126)
  10. Zack Hayes (99)


More information: gncc.com


The Pro race can be viewed on GNCC LIVE page. A highlight show featuring the event will be aired on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, November 11, 3pm.


Photo Credit: Ken Hill
Report: GNCC/Kayla Olliver