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Results: Kailub Russell takes 7th Championship title – Ben Kelley takes first XC1 win at Mountaineer GNCC

2019 GNCC final round brings drama as Kailub Russell wins seventh GNCC title, Duvall is for the season, Stew Baylor retires from the lead handing Ben Kelley his first XC1 win at the Mountaineer GNCC. 


Kailub Russell clinched his historic seventh back-to-back GNCC title this weekend despite retiring injured from the penultimate race, the Mountaineer GNCC – with the main rival for the championship, Thad Duvall, a non-starter the title was Russell’s. 

Meanwhile his FMF KTM Factory Racing teammate Ben Kelley took his first XC1 victory after Steward Baylor lost the lead on the final lap (stalled engine), after a race-long battle with Kelley who went on to head home an all KTM podium with Grant Baylor and Josh Toth second and third respectively.  

The season didn’t end as expected for Kailub Russell who claimed the 2019 GNCC championship title but was forced to step out of the race when he was riding in third with three laps to go. 

Thad Duvall knee injury

Main rival to the championship, Thad Duvall picked up a knee injury while training last week and was forced to miss the rest of the season which gave Russell enough points in the bag to claim the championship.

“It’s a sad way to end the year but that’s racing. I had a pretty good crash this week while practicing and I re-aggravated my shoulder again,” admitted Russell. 

“I gave it my best the first half of the race but the rocky course became too challenging for my weakening shoulder, so I decided there was nothing more for me to gain since I won the championship by default with Thad not being able to line-up.” 

“Seven consecutive championships is a pretty amazing feat and I can’t thank everyone who supports me enough. Every race-win counts during the season and I’m thankful we were able to get enough of them to lock down the championship one round early.”


Having already clinch the XC2 250 Pro championship at round 10 following a 10-race winning streak, Ben Kelley made his second appearance in the XC1 Open Pro class and went on to grab the win. After a race long battle with Steward Baylor, Kelley was able to capitalize on Baylor’s bad luck (his bike stopped just one mile from the finish) to take the lead and carry it through the chequered flag. 

XC1 PODIUM GNCC final 2019 560

“This win means the most out of any other win I’ve had in my whole career,” said Kelley. “I got really close to Stu on the last lap and I just tried to stick with him the whole time. I knew it was going to be hard to pass him, I took a few different lines and close to the end on the bike-only section he stalled it and I was able to squeak by when he was trying to re-fire the bike. I got a little gift there but I worked really hard and I’m just stoked to get my first overall win!”

Giving continuity to the KTM success Grant Baylor and Josh Toth went on to take second and third respectively making it a podium sweep for the orange manufacturer. 

XC2 250 Pro victory for Craig Delong

Craig Delong took his first victory of the season at the penultimate round of the championship and jumps up to second in the championship standings by two points over Michael Witkowski, who finished runner-up to him. Third place went to Ryder Lafferty who clocked his first podium finish of the season. 

FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am title for Jesse Ansley

Trail Jesters’ Jesse Ansley wrapped up the 2019 FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am championship making it his second consecutive title. Ansley dominated the penultimate round to finish five minutes ahead of the Jake Froman with Jason Lipscomb rounding out the podium. 

Tayla Jones tops the WXC class 

The WXC class win went to Tayla Jones who took some valuable points reducing the distance to Becca Sheets in the championship standings to seven points with one round remaining. Mackenzie Tricker finished second and Sheets was third. 

JOSH TOTH GNCC 2019 final 560

XC1 Pro results:

  1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  2. Grant Baylor (KTM)
  3. Josh Toth (KTM)
  4. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  5. Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
  6. Josh Strang (KAW)
  7. Andrew Delong (HON)
  8. Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
  9. Layne Michael (HQV)
  10. Steward Baylor (KTM)


Overall 2019 GNCC championship standings with one round remaining:

  1. Kailub Russell (295) 2019 Champion
  2. Thad Duvall (258)
  3. Steward Baylor Jr. (198)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (178)
  5. Ricky Russell (141)
  6. Josh Strang (138)
  7. Andrew Delong (134)
  8. Josh Toth (127)
  9. Jordan Ashburn (117)
  10. Grant Baylor (95)


XC2 Pro results:

  1. Craig Delong (HQV)
  2. Michael Witkowski (BET)
  3. Ryder Lafferty (KTM)
  4. Austin Lee (HON)
  5. Dylan Yearbury (YAM)
  6. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
  7. Evan Smith (HQV)
  8. Alex Teagarden (HQV)
  9. Philippe Chaine (KTM)
  10. Bradley Cox (KTM)


XC2 250 Pro 2019 series standings:

  1. Ben Kelley (300) 2019 Champion
  2. Craig Delong (218)
  3. Michael Witkowski (214)
  4. Evan Smith (197)
  5. Austin Lee (182)
  6. Liam Draper (180)
  7. Ryder Lafferty (166)
  8. Jonathan Johnson (137)
  9. Alex Teagarden (136)
  10. Ben Parsons (120)


XC3 125 Pro-Am results:

  1. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
  2. Jake Froman (HQV)
  3. Jason Lipscomb (KTM)
  4. Michael Delosa (KTM)
  5. Chase Coville (YAM)
  6. Logan Kittock (HQV)
  7. Joe Marsh (SUZ)


XC3 125 Pro-Am series standings:

  1. Jesse Ansley (305) 2019 Champion
  2. Cody Barnes (234)
  3. Chase Coville (209)
  4. Joe Marsh (176)
  5. Jason Lipscomb (126)
  6. Jake Froman (122)
  7. Jason Thomas (72)
  8. Michael Beeler (65)
  9. Talon Soenksen (56)
  10. Michael Delosa (51)

WMX results:

  1. Tayla Jones (HQV)
  2. Mackenzie Tricker (KTM)
  3. Becca Sheets (KTM)
  4. Rachel Gutish (BET)
  5. Rachael Archer (YAM)
  6. Shelby Turner (KTM)
  7. Korie Steede (GAS)
  8. Shyan Phelps (KTM)
  9. Eden Netelkos (YAM)
  10. Annelisa Davis (KTM)

WMX series standings:

  1. Becca Sheets (270)
  2. Tayla Jones (263)
  3. Mackenzie Tricker (209)
  4. Rachael Archer (198)
  5. Korie Steede (160)
  6. Shyan Phelps (150)
  7. Annelisa Davis (131)
  8. Elizabeth Perez (118)
  9. Rachel Gutish (103)
  10. Shelby Rolen (96)


The final stop for the 2019 GNCC championship will be the Ironman GNCC at Crawfordsville, Indiana, in October 26 - 27.

More Information: GNCC.com 


Photo Credit: Ken Hill
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Igor Aguado
Enduro21 Junior Editor