Strang Tops Big Buck GNCC

Kit Palmer | April 6, 2009

FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang took top honors at the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC, round four of the 2009 Grand National Cross Country series, in Union, South Carolina, April 5, after a grueling three-hour race.

Strang finished just seconds ahead of GEICO/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki’s Paul Whibley and teammate Charlie Mullins. Strang is the first repeat winner of the series.

“The last two laps were quick,” Strang said. “We all three wanted to get in the lead and pull away. It’s definitely good to get that second [win].”

Mullins fired first, nabbing his third $250 holeshot ahead of Strang, points leader Whibley and Shock Doctor KTM rider Nate Kanney. Mullins held onto the lead for the first few laps before Strang, Whibley and Kanney each had their moment up front. As they charged through the dusty track, Kanney and Mullins began to fade away. At the pits, Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney decided not to pit and took the lead but ran out of gas in the final laps. From then on, it was Strang and Whibley racing wheel-to-wheel until the finish, until Strang was able to pull a few seconds ahead.

Kanney nabbed fourth place, followed by Yamaha’s Thad Duvall and Barry Hawk. KTM’s Kurt Caselli was seventh, while Kawasaki’s Jesse Robinson, Kearney and Kawasaki’s Jimmy Jarrett rounded out the top 10.

Whibley still leads the points race with 101 points. Mullins is in second with 94 points.

In the Pro Lites (XC2) class, Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell raced to an incredible third overall finish, just 45 seconds behind Mullins, making him the third Pro-Lites winner of the young season.

“It was a really long three hours,” Russell said. “I don’t know how I pushed that hard. On the last lap they said I was closing in, so I went for it. Hopefully it will be a good season and I’ll make it up on the podium again.”

KTM rider Cory Buttrick finished third.

Russell sits on top of the leaderboard with 115 points. Second is Buttrick with 98.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.