Steward Baylor wins Ironman Grand National Cross Country final round in Indiana, Ben Kelley clinches XC2 250 Pro National Championship.

 

The AMSOIL Ironman GNCC brought an end to the 2018 season Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series on Sunday in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Taking the win at the 24th annual Ironman event was Steward Baylor Jr., his first overall win of the season ahead of Josh Strang and Trevor Bollinger.

 

XC1 Pro Open class

Ryan Sipes grabbed the early lead and the $250 XC1 Wiseco Holeshot Award but a crash on the first lap dropped him to 11th after lap one – ultimately Sipes would end his day early after pulling off during the second lap. 

It was Trevor Bollinger who held the lead early in the race, battling at the front hopeful to earn his first win. Bollinger would battle with Baylor Jr. throughout the race, while Josh Strang made his way through the pack after starting in sixth. 

As the white flag came out, Strang had his sights set on Bollinger and made the pass stick before the chequered flag flew. With Baylor Jr. taking the win that moved him into third place in the final National Championship points standings.

 

Baylor GNCC Ironman Enduro21 560

 

Ricky Russell ran second and third for the first part of the race, but on lap four he dropped to fourth which is where he finished. Grant Baylor found himself running third early in the race but would eventually fall back to sixth place before making the pass stick on Layne Michael to reclaim fifth at the flag. 

Michael did not get the start he wanted, running in the seventh for majority of the race, he battled with Pascal Rauchenecker to eventually secure sixth place. Michael would make the move past Rauchenecker when the white flag came out on lap five, securing his sixth place finish with Rauchenecker placing seventh in the XC1 Open Pro class.

Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn came through in the eighth place position to end the season, while Factory GasGas/FAR’s Andrew Delong and Solid Performance KTM/Fly Racing’s Jesse Groemm rounded out the XC1 Open Pro top ten.

 

Josh Strang GNCC Ironman Enduro21 560

 

XC2 250 Pro class

As the XC2 250 Pro class took off Josh Toth grabbed the Holeshot Award and early lead. As the class came through for lap one it was Ben Kelley leading the way and the overall on adjusted time. 

Toth would come through in second and the battle for the XC2 National Championship was on. The two would swap positions multiple times before Kelley was forced to pit where the KTM crew performed a tire change. Kelley returned to the race in second-place, with Toth reclaiming the lead.

Toth continued to charge, finishing ahead of Kelley for his sixth win of the season and impressively earning second overall against the XC1 Open Pro competitors. Kelley was able to put his head down and push on the final lap to bring home his first-career XC2 250 Pro Championship. 

Mike Witkowski has been steadily improving throughout the season, and after finishing fourth two weeks ago in Ohio, made the move into third this weekend. This marks Witkowski’s first XC2 podium appearance of the season, and his best finish on his Beta motorcycle. Craig Delong finishing in fourth position, while Evan Smith rounded out the top five.

 

Ben Kelley GNCC Ironman Enduro21 560

 

XC3 125 Pro-Am class

When the 125s took off it was visiting UK rider, Daniel Mundell who took the $100 FMF XC3 Holeshot Award. However, it wasn’t long before Jesse Ansley moved ahead to then take the last win of the season. Chris Bach and Jake Froman would round of the podium. 

Taking home, the top amateur honour was Open A competitor Ben Parsons followed by Connor Smith in second and 250 A class winner, Jojo Bowden in third.

 

Jesse Ansley GNCC Ironman Enduro21 560

 

Packed morning races

With the 10am race consisting of a healthy 893 riders, it was Sportsman A Jr. competitor Joshua Lee taking the overall win. 

Tayla Jones came through second overall and first in WXC followed by fellow WXC competitors Becca Sheets, Rachel Gutish and Mackenzie Tricker rounding out the top five.

In the Youth 8am race it was Joseph Cunningham taking the overall win, followed by Max Fernandez and Grant Davis rounding. At the conclusion of the race it was Max Fernandez being crowned as the 2018 Youth National Championship. Canon Kuneff finished fourth overall and took home the 85cc (12-13) class win with Garrett Mundy taking fifth overall.   

 

Womens podium GNCC Ironman Enduro21 560

 

XC1 Open Pro Event Results:

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

 

National Championship Standings:

  1. Kailub Russell (297)
  2. Thad Duvall (262)
  3. Steward Baylor Jr. (219)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (208)
  5. Ben Kelley (192)
  6. Josh Strang (189)
  7. Josh Toth (177)
  8. Ricky Russell (142)
  9. Grant Baylor (115)
  10. Craig Delong (104)

 

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Josh Toth (KTM)
  2. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  3. Mike Witkowski (BET)
  4. Craig Delong (HQV)
  5. Evan Smith (HQV)
  6. Austin Lee (HON)
  7. Jonathan Johnson (YAM)
  8. Brendan Riordan (YAM)
  9. Alex Teagarden (HQV)
  10. Hunter Neuwirth (YAM)

 

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Ben Kelley (323)
  2. Josh Toth (305)
  3. Craig Delong (199)
  4. Austin Lee (170)
  5. Evan Smith (158)
  6. Mike Witkowski (147)
  7. Pascal Rauchenecker (145)
  8. Jonathan Johnson (141)
  9. Liam Draper (131)
  10. Zack Hayes (99)

 

Recap the entire race at: racertv.com

More information on GNCC Racing: GNCC.com

 

Report: Kayla Olliver
Photo Credit: Ken Hill