Kailub Russell (FMF KTM) appears to be breaking away from the competition in pursuit of a seventh National Championship in the 2019 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country Series after taking his fourth win of the season and third in the last four rounds. The FMF/KTM Factory racer now has an 18-point lead over Thad Duvall (Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing) in the series standings after claiming his latest win this weekend at the Tomahawk GNCC in Odessa, New York, June 2.
Heavy rains pelted the area before and during the race, making the course a muddy mess. And Russell said he loved every minute of it.
“It was really fun there for a while,” said Russell. “The rain came down, and I was loving it. It was the best thing it could have happened. It made the track better, really. Then those last few laps it started tacking up again. I was kind of just paddling around after that and I lost the flow a little bit, Thad and I both, just because we were trying to get around lappers. Then the stuff got so thick it would just pull you left and right. It was hard to keep that momentum driving forward, but we had a good time. It’s a muddy mess and tough on everybody and everybody’s equipment.”
Duvall challenged Russell, swapping leads with the defending champ, Russell, several times during the race. Like Russell, Duvall was tired but pleased with his second-place
“Some days I’m not very happy with second, but I gave it my best today,” said Duvall. “I felt like I really laid it out on the line and just came up short. It was fun. We passed each other I don’t know how many times, but it was fun riding. When the rain came down, it was just hard to stay in a groove. The main thing was to keep your goggles on today. I had to stop a couple times for goggles. I gave it my best. Just came up a little short.”
One of the big stories of the day centered around Ben Kelley who led the first lap on adjusted time from the XC2 250 Pro class. The Trail Jesters KTM rider took the early lead when he sprinted to the front of the XC2 250 Pro class, and never dropped lower than third overall.
At the finish, Kelley was physically third on the course and third overall. He obviously won the XC2 250 Pro class as well. His finish marks the two races in a row that he’s finished on the overall podium.
“I got off to a good start in XC2 250 Pro class and worked my way up to the front on the first lap, said Kelley. “I feel like I just figured out how to ride the track good right away. I was just really smooth and flowing through the deep ruts and just carrying good speed everywhere. I was just working my way through the XC1 Pro guys. This time I just tried my best to get through them quick and not get stuck behind them and not make any dumb mistakes where I’d pass them and then crash and have to work my way up again. I was able to get third overall and another win in XC2 250 Pro, so I’m pumped to be back on the overall podium.”
After starting the race outside the top 20 due to a bad jump off the line, Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. overcame a long pit stop to replace a bent throttle tube to finish fourth overall and third in the XC1 Pro class.
“That was a rough day,” said Stewart. “Starting out, I gave everybody 10 seconds to the first turn because I was feeling good today, and I wanted to pass everybody. Then I spent three minutes in the pits. That didn’t help. This place has never treated me well, so to come away with a podium I’m happy with it. It was a good day. Solid points.”
Still looking to earn his first career overall win, Trevor Bollinger (Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing) managed to stay upright most of the day en route to fifth overall.
Meanwhile, Am Pro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell finished a solid sixth in just his third race back with the series.
Having one of his best season’s thus far is Andrew Delong (Phoenix Honda Racing) and the Pennsylvania rider finished seventh for the second round in a row. The finish also gave him second in the XC2 250 Pro division.
XC Gear/Enduro Engineering Husqvarna’s Cory Buttrick was eighth overall, with Beta USA’s Mike Witkowski finishing third in the XC2 250 Pro class with a ninth-place finish.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth rounded out the top 10.
Nick Davis won the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class. Davis was making his return to racing after missing the last several months due to injury. Austin Lee (Phoenix Honda Racing) was second with Cody Barnes (Beta USA) in third.
Tomahawk GNCC Results 2019 – Overall
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Thad Duvall (Hus)
- Ben Kelley (KTM)
- Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
- Trevor Bollinger (Hus)
- Ricky Russell (Yam)
- Craig DeLong (Hon)
- Cory Buttrick (Hus)
- Mike Witkowski (Bet)
- Josh Toth (KTM)
You can get the full Tomahawk GNCC Results HERE.
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