2019 GNCC results: Russell turns it around for General GNCC win

Kailub Russell wins close fight with Trevor Bollinger and Thad Duvall for victory at 2019 General GNCC in Washington, Georgia.

 

The 2019 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series picked right back up for the second race weekend on the bounce in Washington, Georgia with Kailub Russell grabbing the leaders plate back from Baylor – but not without a fight at the 15th Annual General GNCC. 

Josh Strang grabbed the All Balls Racing holeshot award heading away for the first lap but Kailub Russell had pushed his way to the front as they came through timing on the opening lap. 

That wasn’t the end of the story though as Russell would battle with the Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing duo of Trevor Bollinger and Thad Duvall for the entire race. 

 

GNCC General 2019 Russell Bollinger 560

 

Bollinger made the pass on Russell, holding the lead spot as they came through scoring on the second and fourth laps while Duvall battled back after a fourth place, holding the second place position as the two-lap card and white flag were out. However, a crash late in the race meant Duvall finished third behind Bollinger.

For Russell it was time to push when he found himself in the third place as the two lap card came out. Russell was able to make the pass for the lead stick as he put his head down. As the chequered flag flew, Russell had pulled a 13 second gap on Bollinger for his first win of the season. 

 

GNCC General 2019 Pro class podium 560

 

After earning the win one week ago, Steward Baylor ran in fourth overall for the majority of the race. Baylor Jr. held a consistent pace but had some bike issues. He now sits seven points behind Russell in the National Championship points standings.

After earning the holeshot and heading into the woods Strang battled throughout the three-hour race with Josh Toth. Strang made the pass stick with just a few miles to go taking fifth overall on the Kawasaki. 

 

GNCC General 2019 Thad Duvall 560

 

Kelley in charge of XC2 250 Pro

As the XC2 250 Pro class took off the line Michael Witkowski grabbed the early lead but it wasn’t long before Ben Kelley took the lead. Kelley maintained his lead throughout the race, gapping the rest of the class by two minutes and 23 seconds.

Evan Smith hails from Jefferson, Georgia, went from fifth to second in class for his first XC2 podium of the season. Jonathan Girroir made his pass on Witkowski through a muddy section of the track for third and his second-straight podium in class.

 

GNCC General 2019 Ben Kelley 560

 

Comfortable XC3 125 Pro-Am win for Jason Thomas

In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class, Jason Thomas clinched the holeshot and the lead for the first lap. Beta USA’s Cody Barnes made the move for the lead on the second lap and didn’t look back, ultimately finishing five minutes ahead. 

Thomas held on for second in the XC3 class, followed by Yamaha’s Jason Raines rounding out the podium in third. Defending Champion, Jesse Ansley completed four of the six laps after a bike issue held him in the pits. 

Brody Johnson came through in 22nd overall, earning the top amateur honours and 250 A class win. Chase Hayes followed in second followed by Bryce Koster in third. Hayes and Koster also rounded out the top three in the 250 A class. 

 

GNCC General 2019 cody barnes 560

 

Women’s class win for Sheets

Championship leader, Tayla Jones, held the early lead in the 10am race but as the women headed out on the third lap Becca Sheets made her move to take the lead, bringing Mackenzie Tricker with her into second-place. Sheets would hold onto the lead, taking the chequered flag with Tricker in second and Jones rounding out the top three. Beta USA Factory racer, Rachel Gutish had a consistent race finishing fourth in WXC followed by New Zealand’s Rachael Archer rounding out the top five.

 

GNCC General 2019 Becca Sheets 560

 

Joseph Cunningham earned his second-straight Youth overall win of the season Sunday morning. Cunningham not only earned the overall win, but also the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. (14-15) class win. Brayden Nolette sits second in the points finished behind Cunningham followed by Canon Kuneff in third. Grant Davis came through in fourth overall, and first in YXC2 Super Mini Jr. (12-13). Cooper Jones and Georgia’s Grayson Smith rounded out the YXC2 top three. 

The Pro race was broadcast in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as archived video online. A highlight show featuring the event will be aired on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, June 2 at 11:30 a.m. EST.

 

XC1 Pro Event Results:

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

Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Kailub Russell (55)
  2. Steward Baylor Jr. (48)
  3. Thad Duvall (42)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (41)
  5. Ben Kelley (32)
  6. Josh Strang (30)
  7. Josh Toth (30)
  8. Andrew Delong (23)
  9. Jonathan Girroir (23)
  10. Jordan Ashburn (22)

XC2 250 Pro Event Results:

  1. Benjamin Kelley (KTM)
  2. Evan Smith (HQV)
  3. Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
  4. Michael Witkowski (BET)
  5. Ryder Lafferty (KTM)
  6. Tegan Temple (KTM)
  7. Liam Draper (KTM)
  8. Austin Lee (HON)
  9. Zack Hayes (KTM)
  10. Jesse Groemm (KTM)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:

  1. Benjamin Kelley (60)
  2. Jonathan Girroir (46)
  3. Evan Smith (43)
  4. Michael Witkowski (39)
  5. Tegan Temple (31)
  6. Jonathan Johnson (24)
  7. Ryder Lafferty (24)
  8. Zack Hayes (23)
  9. Ben Parsons (22)
  10. Alex Teagarden (21)

 

The 2019 GNCC Series returns in two weeks, March 30 and 31, with the FMF Steele Creek in Morganton, North Carolina. This event will also feature round two of the Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship.

 

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