Kailub Russell has a seventh XC Pro1 national championship lined up in his crosshairs after claiming his third win of the season at the 3rd Annual Yamaha Racing X-Factor Whitetails GNCC in Peru, Indiana, round five of the 2019 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series.
X-Factor Whitetails GNCC Win To Kailub Russell
Four inches of rain leading up to the race made for one of the most challenging tracks of the year, as muddy conditions tested riders at this year’s event.
Knowing a good start would be critical on the relatively short and round course, Russell moved quickly into the lead after the start. However, it was Am Pro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell, who has been out of commission since the off-season due to a leg injury, that celebrated his return to racing by grabbing the holeshot to start the XC Pro1 class race.
Once in the lead, Russell never relinquished it, as the FMF/KTM rider led Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall by as much as one minute and twenty seconds before taking the checkers with about eight seconds to spare.
Russell’s win was the 57th of his career.
“I knew the start was going to be crucial because you couldn’t really pass in those fields because it was just train tracks from the quads yesterday, so I wanted to be leading by the time we got to the woods,” said Russell. “Ricky Russell was I front of me and I made a quick pass on him and I just sprinted early and just rode my own race and did my thing.”
Duvall, who was hoping to land in the center of the podium for the second time this season, lost touch with Russell right away and wasn’t able to make up the distance until the very end.
After winning the season opener in Florida, Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. has struggled to come close to duplicating that result and admitted afterwards that he “wasn’t on his game”. After a couple of mistakes, Baylor was able to salvage a credible fourth.
Trail Jesters/KTM’s Ben Kelley is now five for five in the XC2 250 Pro class after posting a fifth overall finish good enough for the class win.
After running up front early in the race, Ricky Russell settled into sixth overall at the finish, three minutes behind Kelley.
Still not 100% after having reconstructive surgery on his shoulder in the off-season, Grant Baylor brought his Tely Energy Racing KTM in for seventh, while the Delong brothers, Craig and Andrew, finished one in front of the other in eight and ninth. Craig was eighth on a Coastal Racing Husqvarna and second in the XC2 250 Pro class, while Andrew was ninth on a Phoenix Racing Honda. Meanwhile, Phoenix Racing Honda teammate Austin Lee rounded out the top 10, also finishing third in the XC2 250 Pro class.
Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Trevor Bollinger had mechanical issues and finished 11th overall.
Trail Jesters/KTM’s Jesse Ansley won the FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am with Factory Beta USA’s Cody Barnes second and Yamaha-mounted Chase Colville in third. Meanwhile, Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna/Moose Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones edged Maxxis-sponsored KTM’s Becca Sheets by nine seconds to win the WMX class, with Rachel Archer in third.
2019 Amsoil GNCC Series
RESULTS: May 4, 2019
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Thad Duvall (Hus)
- Josh Toth (KTM)
- Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
- Ben Kelley (KTM)
- Ricky Russell (Yam)
- Grant Baylor (KTM)
- Craig DeLong (Hus)
- Andrew DeLong (Hon)
- Austin Lee (Hon)