Charlie Mullins Takes A Big Win At The Limestone 100 GNCC
Round 5 of the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, showcased some of the most exciting action of the season on Sunday afternoon. As an unpredictable chain of events unfolded, it was Factory FMF/KTM’s Charlie Mullins who remained poised and consistent to capture a big win at the third running of the Dunlop Limestone 100. Ricky Russell had a breakout performance, capturing his first XC2 Pro Lites victory of the season and an impressive fourth overall for the day.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell came into the fifth round in Springville, Ind. with a two-point advantage over his teammate Mullins but after three long hours of battle through the woods of the Lawrence County Recreational Park, the 2011 GNCC National Champion Mullins left with a seven-point lead in the championship standings.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley kicked off the afternoon with the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, where he diced it out with Factory FMF/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. on the opening lap. However, Russell quickly moved to the lead position with Whibley, Mullins, Baylor, Thad DuVall and Jordan Ashburn close behind.
After three laps of leading the pack, Russell experienced a big crash that sent the reigning champion end-over-end and to the ground.
“I don’t even know what happened really, I grabbed the front brake and my front end just went sideways. I was wide open out of the straightaway and I went flipping several times,” Russell said of his crash.
Russell remounted his KTM almost immediately but he lost a substantial amount of time when he was forced to stop in the Factory KTM pit where his crew switched out a dirt bike exhaust that got ruined in the crash.
Mullins capitalized on the opportunity to take over the lead on Lap 4, while RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Thad DuVall moved himself into the second place position. Mullins was able to keep a steady pace in the final laps where he progressively increased his gap on DuVall with each lap. Despite a big charge on the final lap, DuVall wasn’t able to catch Mullins to contest the lead position.
“I’ll be straight up, I just got tired out there,” DuVall said. “I rode good, I just wish I wouldn’t have let Charlie get away. I tried to push as hard as I could but I think I pushed a little too early.”
Meanwhile, a hard-charging Russell continued to push his way through the pack from outside the top ten overall. With two laps to go, Russell had made his way into third place in the XC1 Class, but once again the XC2 Pro Lites front-runners interjected into the lead battle on the adjusted time clock. So not only was Russell battling his XC1 class competitors physically on the track, but he was also competing with XC2 leader Ricky Russell for the third and final position atop the overall podium.
Kailub Russell caught up to DuVall on the final lap and it was a head-to-head battle throughout the final moments of the three-hour dirt bike race. Despite a valiant comeback effort by Russell, it just wasn’t enough to make the pass on DuVall at the end. Only 00.375 separated the second and third place finishers.
After the race DuVall mentioned, “I had a pretty good lead on Kailub at the end but I just about threw it away. I crashed just before the finish with a mile to go and by the time I picked it up Kailub was right on me so I just tried to push it into the finish.”
Sunday’s Limestone 100 victory was a big one for Charlie Mullins, as he not only put an end to Russell’s three-race winning streak but he also reclaimed the points lead heading into the mid-way point of the 13-race series.
“Kailub had a good pace going in the beginning and it looked like it was going to be a battle but he ended up going down hard. I knew all I had to do is ride steady and that’s what I did,” Mullins said. “It was long the last few laps but I felt better than I have been as far as riding goes so it was a good day.”
Raines Riding University/Atlas Cycles’ Ricky Russell had a stellar day of racing as he secured his first career victory in the XC2 Pro Lites class. Russell and XC2 competitor Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise KTM Race Team’s Jesse Groemm set a fast pace early on but it wasn’t until they latched on to a hard-charging Kailub Russell that they were able to move so quickly into overall podium contention.
Groemm dropped back to the third place position as R. Russell and KTM support rider Grant Baylor both went by in a battle for the lead position. However, Russell turned it up in the final laps, where he eventually finished less than one minute away from landing atop the overall podium from the second row.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley maintained a third place position for a majority of the race but the two-time GNCC National Champion fell back a couple spots in the end, finishing fourth in the XC1 Pro class and fifth overall for the day just behind the XC2 winner Russell.
Grant Baylor landed second place in the XC2 Pro Lites division, finishing out sixth overall just ahead of his brother Stu in seventh. HR Motorsports-backed Takeshi Koikeda put forth a stellar ride at the fifth round, running in the fourth place position for a majority of the race. Koikeda, a former Japan National Cross Country (JNCC) Champion, put in a season-best finish of sixth place in the XC1 class and eighth overall for the day.
N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn finished ninth overall for the day, while Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Josh Strang rounded out the top ten.
Groemm finished third place in the XC2 Pro Lites class, which earned the New Jersey native eleventh overall for the day.
Chris Douglas grabbed the $100 DigitalOffroad.com XC2 Holeshot Award, finishing twelfth in the XC2 class for the day.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Kacy Martinez grabbed her fourth win of the season in the WXC Class, as well as second overall for the day. Ohio’s Mandi Mastin made her second appearance to the WXC podium this season with a second place in the class, while N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Becca Sheets finished third in the class.
In the 8 a.m. Youth race, South Carolina’s Cole Mattison secured his second consecutive victory at the fifth round. Mattison also topped the Super Mini (14-15) class, followed by Tennessee’s Sam Thurman in the second place position. North Carolina’s Conner Smith rounded out the overall podium with a third place finish in the Super Mini (14-15) class.
The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes May 10 and 11 with the Parts Unlimited Loretta Lynn’s GNCC. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.
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Source: GNCC Racing
Charlie Mullins Wins Limestone 100 GNCC
Grant Baylor finishes 2nd in GNCC XC2 Pro Lites class and Kacy Martinez captures her fourth win in the GNCC WXC class
Factory FMF/KTM rider Charlie Mullins took his second win of the season at the fifth round of the GNCC Series, the Dunlop Limestone 100. His teammate, Kailub Russell, charged back from a hard mid-race crash to finish on the podium in 3rd position.
With warm temperatures and a smoother track than the previous courses this year, the riders were excited to tackle the Limestone course. Mullins, Russell and the third member of the Factory FMF/KTM GNCC XC1 Team, Steward Baylor, all had an impressive start off the line sitting in the top five. Russell quickly moved into the lead followed closely by Mullins and Thad Duvall. The three riders pulled away from the rest of the field within the first two laps. While leading a few miles before the pit stop on lap three, Russell’s front end washed out down a high speed straight-away. Russell was uninjured in the crash but his bike was badly damaged. He nursed the bike into the pit area where his team quickly set to work to replace the broken off-road parts – a damaged exhaust, bent handlebars, levers and hand guards.
Russell returned to the course in 16th position and immediately began to charge back through the pack turning the fastest lap time of the race consistently for the final three laps. Meanwhile, Mullins had taken over the lead out front and began to pull away from Duvall. Mullins went on to claim his second win of the season with a minute lead over the 2nd place ride. Russell was able to make an impressive come from behind charge to come within one second of Duvall at the finish. Russell finished 3rd overall will Baylor was able to hang on for 5th in the XC1 class and 7th overall.
“I am bummed to hear that Kailub had a big crash,” stated Mullins. “I’m happy I was able to move into the lead and put some time on the field to take the win. It is always a close battle between Kailub and I and I am looking forward to the next round.”
After five rounds, Mullins now holds a 7 point lead over Russell in the championship point standings.
In the XC2 Pro Lites class, Factory KTM support rider and series point leader, Grant Baylor, had a disappointing jump off the line. At the end of the first lap he was sitting in 7th place but gaining ground on the top riders. He continued to improve his lap times and was able to move up to 2nd place by the end of the three-hour event. He is currently ranked 2nd in the GNCC XC2 Pro Lites championship point standings just two points shy of the leader.
Factory FMF/KTM GNCC WXC rider Kacy Martinez captured her fourth win of the season in the Women’s Pro class. Martinez started the race in 10th position but quickly caught the lead riders in the first lap. She battled for the top spot for the next two laps before she began to stretch her lead out front. She went on to win the race by approximately 30 seconds over the 2nd place ride of KTM rider Mandi Mastin.
Next Event: May 11, 2014 – Hurricane Mills, TN
Source: KTM North America
Paul Whibley GNCC Round 5 Race Report!
The tricky off-camber start line is becoming a bit of a feature at the Indiana GNCC. I got a good drive off the line and came into turn one right beside Stu Baylor on the 2 stroke KTM. He had the inside line and I drove it in hard and came round the outside side by side heading into turn two and the holeshot line. I braked really late and took the holeshot and was able to turn on the loam on the outside of turn two and held the lead as we worked our way towards the woods.
Leading the first half of the lap at a pretty conservative pace, I was expecting to be dropping positions rapidly. My pace was a little slow after a crash in practice left me with chest pain in my sternum. I wasn’t even sure I was going to race with breathing and sneezing being particularly difficult leading up to the race. Once on the bike and some adrenaline started to flow I found I was able to ride relatively pain free as long as no mistakes or sudden dabs were taken.
- Rider: Paul Whibley
- Team: N fab, AmPro Yamaha
- Bike: Yamaha YZ450F
- Result: 4th XC1
I was soon passed by a few riders and settled into about 5th. I found I could ride this pace comfortably and not risk any further injury. That was until Japanese rider Takashi Koikeda passed me and sparked my inner desire to race. My pace soon increased and I found myself retaking the position from Takashi and also my team mate Jordan Ashburn who passed me on lap one.
I rode most of the race in third place till late in the lap when I slowed again, and Kailub Russell took the position. I think the adrenaline had started to wear off. In the end a solid finish from a race that I wasn’t sure I would see the checkered flag.
Source: AmPro Yamaha
Mixed Day For Andrew DeLong In GNCC
Factory Husqvarna Andrew DeLong was also in action at the Limestone 100 GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana. But it turned out to be a rough day for DeLong and his FE 350, especially after a hard crash in the first hour of the race.
“Andrew was making a pass when he hit a root and went over the bars hard” explained Husqvarna Race Team Manager Andy Jefferson. “Today was a rough one, but he kept on pushing.”
Andrew pressed on throughout the three-hour race, but suffered additional crashes and frustration on his way to an eventual eleventh place finish. Fortunately his brother, Craig DeLong, fared much better. The Husqvarna rider topped the amateur division with a win in the 250 A class, and also carded a 17th overall finish.
Limestone 100 GNCC Overview And Point Standings
2014 GNCC Series Limestone 100 Image Gallery (Click for full size images)
|1||Charles Mullins||XC1 Pro||112||KTM||7||03:02:45.046|
|2||Thad DuVall||XC1 Pro||989||HON||7||03:03:56.843|
|3||Kailub Russell||XC1 Pro||001||KTM||7||03:03:57.218|
|4||Ricky Russell||XC2 Pro Lites||212||YAM||7||03:04:41.062|
|5||Paul Whibley||XC1 Pro||005||YAM||7||03:05:18.843|
|6||Grant Baylor||XC2 Pro Lites||008||KTM||7||03:07:06.734|
|7||Steward Baylor||XC1 Pro||514||KTM||7||03:07:28.156|
|8||Takeshi Koikeda||XC1 Pro||012||HON||7||03:07:42.781|
|9||Jordan Ashburn||XC1 Pro||007||YAM||7||03:08:09.171|
|10||Josh Strang||XC1 Pro||004||YAM||7||03:08:46.140|
|11||Jessie Groemm||XC2 Pro Lites||229||KTM||7||03:11:15.343|
|12||Christopher Bach||XC1 Pro||003||HON||7||03:11:25.031|
|13||Jason Thomas||XC1 Pro||009||KTM||7||03:12:24.859|
|14||Andrew DeLong||XC1 Pro||010||HSQ||7||03:13:53.156|
|15||Layne Michael||XC2 Pro Lites||017||HON||7||03:14:09.359|
|16||Adam Bonneur||XC1 Pro||016||KTM||7||03:14:16.296|
|17||Craig DeLong||250 A||027||HSQ||7||03:16:09.406|
|18||Jedediah Haines||XC2 Pro Lites||020||YAM||7||03:16:16.281|
|19||Michael Witkowski||250 A||282||KTM||7||03:17:38.671|
|20||Trevor Bollinger||XC2 Pro Lites||018||HON||7||03:17:47.328|
Rider Point Standings – XC1 Pro Class ( Race 5 of 13 )
- Charlie Mullins – 126
- Kailub Russell – 123
- Josh Strang – 94
- Paul Whibley – 88
- Jordan Ashburn – 83
- Steward Baylor – 76
- Thad DuVall – 76
- Takeshi Koikeda – 60
- Andrew DeLong – 58
- Ryan Sipes – 58
Rider Point Standings – XC2 Pro Lites Class ( Race 5 of 13 )
- Ricky Russell – 123
- Grant Baylor – 121
- Trevor Bollinger – 105
- Shane Hufford – 78
- Callan May – 70
- Layne Michael – 69
- Rory Mead – 56
- Samuel Evans – 56
- Jessie Groemm – 52
- Christopher Douglas – 45
Overall Results – Women’s WXC Class
Rider Point Standings – Women’s WXC Class ( Race 5 of 13 )
- Kacy Martinez – 99
- Becca Sheets – 88
- Mandi Mastin – 84
- Jessica Patterson – 65
- Brooke Cosner – 60
- Felicia Robichaud – 60
- Rachel Gutish – 58
- Cassidy Brown – 54
- Karlynn Beam – 52
- Samantha Steiner – 49
Overall National Championship Standings
Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2014 National Champion.
- Charlie Mullins – 125
- Kailub Russell – 118
- Josh Strang – 90
- Jordan Ashburn – 77
- Paul Whibley – 75
- Steward Baylor – 71
- Grant Baylor – 67
- Ricky Russell – 62
- Thad DuVall – 61
- Andrew DeLong – 55