Russell Earns First GNCC XC1 Victory

Kailub Russell earns his first GNCC XC1 Pro class victory. Photography: Shan Moore

Factory FMF/KTM rider Kailub Russell earned his first GNCC XC1 pro class victory at the twelfth round of the Grand National Cross Country Series aboard the KTM 350 XC-F.

Although the weather remained dry for race day, rainfall earlier in the week had made the course very wet and extremely slippery. FMF/KTM rider Charlie Mullins got the jump off the line and the holeshot while Russell was one spot behind him in second position. The third member of the team, Cory Buttrick, returned to racing for the first time since a concussion a few weeks back. Unfortunately, he did not get his bike started right away off the line and he came around the first corner dead last.

As the riders passed the one lap mark it was still Mullins who had a slight edge on Russell. The two teammates remained in close battle throughout the next lap. Meanwhile, Buttrick had fought his way up to fourth place at the end of the first lap in an impressive early charge through the pack.

Charlie Mullins had an early lead, but ended second. Photography: Shan Moore

On the second lap, Russell took over the lead from his teammate, who still remained close. On lap three, Mullins got stuck in a mud hole and allowed Russell to break away. Russell went on to strengthen his lead every lap after that and went on to take his first career XC1 class win in his rookie season. Russell won the race by 1 minute and 23 seconds over Mullins who would hang on to finish second and gain some valuable points on Josh Strang and Paul Whibley in the championship chase. Unfortunately Buttrick did not have as good of luck and suffered from a mechanical issue late in the race and was not able to finish the event. After twelve rounds, Mullins now holds a 26 point lead in the series points.

KTM riders topped the podium in the XC2 class as well where Steward Baylor took his fifth win of the season with a two minute advantage over Jordan Ashburn. Securing this win left Baylor with a 38 point lead in the XC2 championship point standings. RPM/KTM rider Maria Forsberg, who was already crowned the 2011 GNCC Women’s class champion, put in another impressive victory winning her race and finishing second overall in the combined morning class results. This marked Forsberg’s ninth win of the season.

Russell won the race by 1 minute and 23 seconds over Mullins. Photography: Shan Moore

Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager, Antti Kallonen, commented on the weekend, stating, “This was a great weekend for our team. We are very proud of Kailub who secured his first career win in the XC1 class on his 350 KTM. We are also happy that Charlie was able to finish second and move himself up in the point standings. It’s disappointing that Cory was unable to finish this event but we look forward to having all three compete for the podium at the next round. We are excited to take this momentum and use it through the end of the season.”

Next Event: Round 13 – Crawfordsville, IN – October 22-23, 2011

    Overall Results: XC1 Class
  1. Kailub Russell
  2. Charlie Mullins
  3. Thad Duvall
  4. Paul Whibley
  5. Josh Strang
  6. Jimmy Jarrett
  7. Mike Lafferty
  8. Nate Kanney
  9. Jesse Robinson
  10. Scott Watkins
    Overall Results: XC2 Class
  1. Steward Baylor
  2. Jordan Ashburn
  3. Jason Thomas
  4. Rory Mead
  5. Andrew Delong
  6. Morgan Moss
  7. Nick Davis
  8. AJ Stewart
  9. Steven Squire
  10. Ryan Lojak
    Overall Results: Women’s Class
  1. Maria Forsberg
  2. Ashley Crouch
  3. Leeann Bange
  4. Hannah Otto
  5. Samantha Steiner
    Overall Point Standings: XC1 Class
  1. Charlie Mullins – 245
  2. Josh Strang – 219
  3. Paul Whibley – 213
  4. Kailub Russell – 180
  5. Nate Kanney – 160
    Overall Point Standings: XC2 Class
  1. Steward Baylor – 243
  2. Jason Thomas – 205
  3. Jordan Ashburn – 196
  4. Andrew Delong – 193
  5. Jesse Robinson – 146
    Overall Point Standings: Women’s Class
  1. Maria Forsberg – 160 *Champion
  2. Ashley Crouch – 142
  3. Leeann Bange – 137
  4. Mandi Mastin – 132
  5. Samantha Steiner – 125

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