Grant Baylor wins his third XC2 race and heads into the break top of the class. Photography By Ken Hill
Kailub Russell was the king of the mountain at the Snowshoe GNCC in West Virginia, June 30, when he bested FMF/KTM teammate Charlie Mullins for his third-straight win of the series. Russell won it the hard way, though, having to recover from a first-lap crash and fight back up to the lead. His hard work paid off, because the win moved him closer to Mullins in the race for the championship. Going into the summer break, Mullins’ lead over Russell is now just three points.
KTM support rider Grant Baylor collected his third win in the XC2 class after finishing an impressive fifth overall.
Mullins led the first two laps, taking full advantage of a first-lap crash by Russell.
Thad DuVall was the first to catch Mullins, putting his Shenandoah Honda into the lead after starting from the second row. He also passed AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn along the way.
Mullins and DuVall exchanged the lead a couple of times halfway through the race, while a hard-charging Russell caught up to the leaders. Russell arrived in time for DuVall’s mechanical misfortune – a sheared off shifter. The broken shifter forced DuVall into the pits, causing him to lose a few positions, but he would get most of them back.
Ashburn also experienced mechanical woes, but wasn’t as fortunate as DuVall. A punctured radiator hose brought him back to the pits and but wasn’t able to salvage any championship points.
Carolina KTM/RidePG.com’s Chris Bach moved into third as a result of Ashburn’s misfortune, but lost the spot to DuVall on adjusted time, ending up fourth overall.
The battle between teammates Mullins and Russell came down to the last three laps, where Russell prevailed. Mullins put on a charge at the end but ended up finishing 10 seconds back in second place.
AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley rounded out the top five in the XC1 class, while 2012 Snowshoe winner Rory Mead captured sixth aboard his FMF/RPM Team Maxxis KTM. RidePG.com/ Maxxis/FLY Racing’s Adam Bonneur finished seventh and Litz Racing Honda’s Takeshi Koikeda took eighth.
Mark Fortner and Ricky Russell rounded out the top 10.
The battle for the XC2-class win came down do Grant Baylor and Jason Thomas. Baylor came out on top with Thomas taking second and Shane Hufford Jr. third. It was the first career GNCC podium for the enduro racer, Hufford.
1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
2. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
3. Thad DuVall (Hon)
4. Chris Bach (KTM)
5. Paul Whibley (Yam)
6. Rory Mead (KTM)
7. Adam Bonneur (Kaw)
8. Takeshi Koikeda (Hon)
9. Mark Fortner (Beta)
10. Ricky Russell (Yam)
1. Grant Baylor (KTM)
2. Jason Thomas (KTM)
3. Shane Hufford Jr. (KTM)
4. Scott Grills (Kaw)
5. Layne Michael (KTM)
6. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
7. AJ Stewart (Yam)
8. Ian Blythe (KTM)
9. Chris Douglas (Hus)
10. Sam Evans (KTM)