Kailub Russell Back On Top in Amsoil GNCC Series–Kailub Russell borrowed a page from the playbook that Thad Duvall used to win last month’s John Penton GNCC. The FMF KTM rider wasted little time moving into the lead before switching to sprint speed with the intention of dropping the field as Duvall had done in Ohio. The strategy worked for the most part, though JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger didn’t get the memo and dogged Russell for most of the race.
Kailub Russell Back On Top in Amsoil GNCC Series
After leading Bollinger for the entire three-hour race, Russell claimed his sixth win of the series by taking the checkered flag with less than a second to spare over the North Carolina rider.
“This is a tough place and I wasn’t really comfortable pushing any harder than I was, just because the track doesn’t allow it, but I wanted to just throw it out there and ride my pace and if Thad caught me in the end, then I would deal with it then,” said Russell. “Trevor rode a good race and he was right on me, but I didn’t make any mistakes and everything just came together.”
Bollinger capitalized on a great start en route to the runner-up finish—a career-best for the JCR Honda rider. When Russell passed holeshotter Ryan Sipes heading into the woods for the first time, Bollinger latched onto the Rockstar/Leatt/Maxxis Husqvarna rider’s rear fender and followed him through. From there, Bollinger kept Russell in sight for the remainder of the race, despite bending his front brake rotor with two laps to go.
“When Kailub and I passed Ryan after the start, I told myself I was either going to stay with him or kill myself trying,” said Bollinger. “He wore me out at one point but I was able to stay with him. After I bent my rotor, I didn’t really think I could stay with Kailub, let alone keep Thad from catching me. Luckliy, I was able to keep pumping the front brake and ride it on in.”
Thad Duvall came into the race riding a wave of momentum from winning the previous round in Ohio. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider didn’t get off to the best of starts, however, and excited the first turn in sixth. The Tomahawk course was fast and relatively smooth, making it difficult to make up time and by the time Duvall got into third, Russell and Bollinger had established a substantial lead. Duvall moved to within 10 seconds of the two front-runners, but for some reason he was burning fuel faster than the competition so he was forced to make two pit stops while the rest of the top five only made one.
“We haven’t really figured out why I was burning fuel faster than those guys,” said Duvall. “I’m disappointed but I’m still happy with how I rode. I rode 110% and I feel like I left it all on the track. I felt like I was a little quicker in the middle of the race, but I just couldn’t put it together. We were even all day and I was able to run them down at one point and then we had that second pit stop and I lost it all.”
Josh Strang brought his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna FX 450 in for fourth with a relatively mistake-free performance after spending much of the race battling with N-FAB/Am Pro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell and FMF KTM’s Josh Toth.
“I felt good on the bike, but I just think the terrain didn’t suit me as well as other courses,” said Strang. “It was a fast course and in the woods it was really slippery and I think that’s where I struggled. It was bumpy and slick.”
Ricky Russell finished fifth, about two seconds behind Strang, with Toth following another 30 seconds back. Toth topped the XC2 250 Pro division with his sixth-place finish, while Coastal Husqvarna Racing teammates Craig DeLong and Pascal Rauchenecker were second and third in the XC2 250 Pro division thanks to seventh and eighth overall finishes, respectively.
In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class, RPM KTM Racing’s Jesse Ansley took top billing with a 20th overall finish. Meanwhile, Raines Riding University/Atlas Sales/Yamaha’s Jason Raines (25th overall) and Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Alex Teagarden (28th overall) rounded out the podium.
Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jesters KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker took a 10-second victory over KR4/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones to claim the victory in the WXC division, with Yamaha-mounted Brooke Cosner in third. CN
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Trevor Bollinger (Hon)
- Thad DuVall (Hus)
- Josh Strang (Hus)
- Ricky Russell (Yam)
- Josh Toth (KTM) XC2
- Craig DeLong (Hus) XC2
- Pascal Rauchenecker (Hus) XC2
- Layne Michael (Hus)
- Ben Kelley (KTM) XC2
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