Steward Baylor wins GNCC 2019 Season Opener in Florida

Steward Baylor takes surprise GNCC round one win at Wild Boar beating reigning champ, Kailub Russell, back to second place.

 

The 2019 AMOSIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series got off to a dramatic start at the fifth annual Wild Boar GNCC with Steward Baylor crossing the finish line after a gruelling three-hour race.

 

GNCC 2019 Rnd1 Pro race Start 560

 

New name tops the XC1 Pro results sheets

As the race got underway Heath Harrison grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award and heading a Kawasaki one-two-three in to the woods.

When they emerged out the other side however, it was Kailub Russell in the lead position where he remained for the first three laps before battling with Steward Baylor. At the halfway mark Baylor had taken the lead, with Russell second, which is where the lead duo remained for the last three laps. 

Thad Duvall didn’t get the start he hoped for but by the second lap was at the front of the pack fighting for second place. After swapping positions throughout the race, Duvall would hold onto the last podium position as the two-lap card came out and ultimately finishing in third overall.

Duvall’s team-mate, Trevor Bollinger came through in fourth at the conclusion of a demanding three-hour race with XC1 Open Pro rookie Josh Toth in fifth place, after battling back from a seventh at the start of the day. 

Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn finished sixth and eighth in the XC1 class. Strang and Ashburn both had a great jump off the line but were split by Andrew Delong in seventh place at the finish.

Paul Whibley made his return to GNCC and took home ninth place ahead of Christopher Venditti also made his XC1 debut, rounding out the top 10 in class.

 

GNCC 2019 Rnd1 Pro podium 560

 

XC2 250 Pro win for Kelley

As the XC2 250 Pro class took off Mike Witkowski grabbed the holeshot but it wouldn’t take long for XC2 defending champion Ben Kelley to take over the lead. After getting into the lead Kelley would push throughout the three-hour race, finishing fourth overall on the day and earning the first XC2 win of the season. 

Jonathan Girroir came through timing in second place after lap one. Girroir had a breakthrough season in 2018, finishing third twice, before injuring his knee after eleventh round. Back for 2019 in a new team and ready to race, Girroir came through second in the XC2 250 Pro and eighth overall.

After grabbing the holeshot, Witkowski kept the pace, coming through lap one in third but fall back to fifth halfway through. However, Witkowski would put his head down and push as the two-lap card came out, working his way back to third by the time the race concluded. 

 

GNCC 2019 rnd 1 XC2 Pro Podium 560

 

Strong day for Trail Jesters KTM

In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class it was Trail Jesters KTM and defending champion, Jesse Ansley grabbing the holeshot and the class win. Ansley and Cody Barnes battled on the second lap but Ansley made the pass stick to hold the lead. Barnes remained consistent and finished second in the XC3 class, followed by Jake Froman in third. 

Florida’s own Bryce Koster would take home the amateur overall award finishing first in the 250 A class, and 18th overall. Canada’s Loic Lenoard earned second in 250 A and on the amateur overall podium with a 20th overall finish. Chris Bach took home the Vet A class win, and third on the amateur overall podium with a 22nd overall finish.

 

GNCC 2019 Rnd1 XC3 podium 560

 

Morning race win and WXC early points lead for Jones

In the 10am race Tayla Jones captured the overall win as well as the WXC class win at the season opener. Becca Sheets earned second overall and in the WXC class, one minute behind Jones. Mackenzie Tricker earned third in the WXC class and eighth overall in the morning race. 

 

GNCC 2019 Rnd1 Tayla Jones 560

 

A special guest made an appearance in the Sportsman A class. Travis Pastrana signed up and dabbled in some off-road racing for fun.

In the 8am Youth races it was Joseph Cunningham coming through the checkers first overall and in his YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class. Grant Davis followed earning second overall and first in the YXC2 Super Mini Jr. class. Brayden Nolette came in third overall and second in YXC1 Super Mini Sr., followed by Cooper Jones who earned second in the YXC2 Super Mini Jr. class. Blaceton Moore rounded out the top five overall and top three in the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class.

XC1 Pro Event Results:

  1. Steward Baylor (KTM)
  2. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  3. Thad Duvall (HQV)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
  5. Josh Toth (KTM)
  6. Josh Strang (KAW)
  7. Andrew Delong (HON)
  8. Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
  9. Paul Whibley (YAM)
  10. Christopher Venditti (KAW)

 

Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Steward Baylor (30)
  2. Kailub Russell (25)
  3. Thad Duvall (21)
  4. Benjamin Kelley (18)
  5. Trevor Bollinger (16)
  6. Josh Toth (15)
  7. Josh Strang (14)
  8. Jonathan Girroir (13)
  9. Michael Witkowski (12)
  10. Andrew Delong (11)

 

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
  2. Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
  3. Mike Witkwoski (BET)
  4. Evan Smith (HQV)
  5. Tegan Temple (KTM)
  6. Ben Parsons (HQV)
  7. Jonathan Johnson (KAW)
  8. Philippe Chaine (KTM)
  9. Alex Teagarden (HQV)
  10. Zack Hayes (KTM)

 

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Benjamin Kelley (30)
  2. Jonathan Girroir (25)
  3. Mike Witkwoski (21)
  4. Evan Smith (18)
  5. Tegan Temple (16)
  6. Ben Parsons (15)
  7. Jonathan Johnson (14)
  8. Philippe Chaine (13)
  9. Alex Teagarden (12)
  10. Zack Hayes (11)

 

The 2019 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes in one week, March 16 and 17, in Washington, Georgia with The Specialized General GNCC. This event will also feature round one of the Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship.

 

Watch the full race at RacerTV.com

More information: GNCCracing.com

 

Photo credit: Ken Hill
Report: GNCC/Kayla Bolton
 
 
 
Byline jp ISDE 2018 Enduro21
Jon Pearson
Enduro21 Editor and Bike Tester
jon.pearson@enduro21.com