The 2019 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series finally got underway after a two-week delay. The opening round that was originally scheduled last month in South Carolina was canceled and postponed due to severe weather, so, under much better conditions, racing finally got underway in Georgia with the Wild Boar GNCC at the Rodman Plantation at Palatka, March 10.
Steward Baylor Wins Wild Board GNCC
It was at the Wild Boar that Kailub Russell (FMF/KTM Racing) officially began his quest for a seventh GNCC Championship, but he’s going to have to ride through Steward Baylor first if that’s going to happen, because Baylor is obviously determined not to let that happened after taking a stunning win at the Wild Boar.
Baylor, on the Tely Energy Racing-back KTM, stalked the riders ahead of him—Russell and Thad Duvall—for much of the race before passing them both just past the halfway point and pulling away for the victory. A slopping pit stop for Baylor near the end of the race made things interesting, but Baylor kept his composure and still took the checkered flag by nearly two full minutes ahead of Russell, and another 28 seconds ahead of Duvall.
It was an impressive ride for the KTM pilot.
“I think today a lot of it had to do with the conditioning, but also a lot mental,” said Baylor. “To win the GNCC anymore, there’s a lot of strategies that go into it. I think Kailub, Thad, Josh Strang, are guys that have won and they know their strategy. A lot of today’s win was just me finding my strategy. I learned a lot last year, riding with those guys the last two years and I know my strategy, and I know when I have to do it and when it’s going to work, or when I think there’s going to be races where it works against me. A day like today, I think I was just the fastest guy on the track. I had the sprint speed to get away from those guys and run my strategy.”
Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Ben Kelley began his defense of the number-one plate in the XC 2 class on the right foot by turning in an outstanding ride that saw him finish up fourth overall and first in class.
Fifth overall and fourth in the XC 1 class was Trevor Bollinger who is now riding for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team. The former XC 2 champ took the checkers approximately 45 seconds ahead of fellow XC 1-class rider Josh Toth (FMF/KTM Racing) and another minute-plus over Josh Strang (Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki).
The next-best XC 2 rider was Massachusetts rider Jonathan Girroir in eight overall. The KTM rider finished with room to spare ahead of another XC 2 rider Michael Witkowski (Beta), who was third in class and ninth overall.
Andrew Delong (Phoenix Honda Racing) was 10th overall and seventh in XC 1.
KTM rider Ryan Sipes, who competed in the Daytona Supercross the night before, did not finish the race.
Jesse Ansley (KTM) won the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class in 13th overall.
The top A-class rider was Florida’s Bryce Koster (Husqvarna) in 18th overall.
Tayla Jones (Husqvarna) won the WXC class. She took the checkered flag with a minute to spare over Becca Sheets (KTM). Mackenzie Tricker (KTM) was third in class, followed by Korie Steede (GasGas) and Brooke Cosner (KTM).
2019 GNCC Series
RESULTS: March 10, 2019
- Steward Baylor (KTM)
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Thad DuVall (Hus)
- Ben Kelley (KTM) – XC2
- Trevor Bollinger (Hus)
- Josh Toth (KTM)
- Josh Strang (Hus)
- Jonathon Girroir (KTM) – XC2
- Mike Witkowski (Bet) – XC2
- Andrew DeLong (Hon)
Click here for complete results.
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