Charlie Mullins pulled off a big win at the Powerline GNCC in Ohio. Photography by Ken Hill.
For the second time in as many years, the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Championship will be decided in a winner-take-all final in two weeks. At the penultimate round in St. Clairsville, Ohio, FMF/KTM teammates Charlie Mullins and points leader Kailub Russell went at it again, but this time, Mullins came out ahead, putting an abrupt halt to Russell’s five-race win streak and pulling to within two points of the series leader, Russell, with one to go.
Mullins took command of the race after the second lap and opened up a small gap over Russell, who was unable to close it up before it was all over. Mullins took the checkered flag a little over a minute and a half ahead of Russell.
Third overall went to Paul Whibley who returned to the series after having surgery on his wrist. Whibley, on the AmPro Yamaha, rode well and was never far off the lead pace. In fact, he finished just eight seconds behind Russell.
Nearly two minutes later, Rocky Mountain MC/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang crossed the finish line, just two seconds ahead of AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn, who rounded out the top five overall.
Sixth went to KTM rider Chris Bach, followed by New Zealand’s Rory Mead.
Eighth place went to the top XC2 Pro Lites rider Andrew Delong on the F.A.R. Husqvarna. He’s been on fire ever since returning from injury four rounds ago.
Shane Hufford was ninth overall and second XC2.
Honda-mounted Takeshi Koikeda (XC1) completed the top 10 overall.
XC2 points leader Grant Baylor had a tough day but still finished seventh in class (15th overall) and enjoys a cushy 21-point lead over DirtWise Schools/KTM-Parts.com’s Jason Thomas (KTM), who finished third in class in Ohio.
FMF/KTM’s Maria Forsberg claimed her eighth Women’s-class win of the year and clinched the Women’s Championship.
FMF/RPM/KTM’s Kacy Martinez finished second in class in Ohio, while N-FAB/AmPro Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson took third.
Results: Powerline Park GNCC
St. Clairsville, Ohio
October 13, 2013
1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
2. Kailub Russell (KTM)
3. Paul Whibley (Yam)
4. Josh Strang (Kaw)
5. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
6. Chris Bach (KTM)
7. Rory Mead (KTM)
8. Takeshi Koikeda (Hon)
9. Ricky Russell (Yam)
10. Adam Bonneur (Kaw)
1. Andrew Delong (Hus)
2. Shane Hufford Jr. (KTM)
3. Jason Thomas (KTM)
4. Scott Grills (Kaw)
5. Layne Michael (Hon)
6. Christopher Douglas (KTM)
7. Grant Baylor (KTM)
8. Justin Sode (Beta)
9. Samuel Evans (KTM)
10. Michael McGinnis (Suz)