AmPro Yamaha’s Steward Baylor made a last-second pass on Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang to come away with a stunning victory at the 2021 Camp Coker GNCC results in Society Hill, South Carolina.
After getting off the line at the front of the pack, Strang and Steward took turns leading the hot, humid and sandy seven-lapper, as the duo quickly gapped the field. With the track getting rougher from a midrace rainstorm, Steward took advantage of a lapper in Strang’s line to take the lead with four miles to go before the checkered flag. From there, it was an all-out scramble between the two, with Steward ultimately claiming his second win of the season.
“We came up behind a lapper, and then he just peeled off in front of Josh, and it cleared up the good line for me, and I was able to make the pass,” said Steward. “It was definitely threading the needle. It was wheel to wheel. The rest of the way I could feel him all over me. It was clean and honest racing.”
After moving to the front on the opening lap, Steward actually did a bit of self-policing when he went outside of a double-placard-marked area on lap three, which allowed Strang to take the point. Going outside a double placard-marked area can cost a rider a heavy penalty and requires a rider to double back and ride between the placards.
“The third lap I had about a second on Josh,” said Steward. “I actually went around the double placards that the protests had been going on about. So, I turned around on the track and went back through them so I wouldn’t get penalized. I didn’t want anybody to think there was anything unfair going on. I turned around and that allowed Josh to get by.”
After missing the opening round due to injury, Steward moves into fifth overall in the series standings with the win, 19 points off the lead.
When Steward doubled back for the placard, Strang took control of the race and led by 18 seconds at one point, but then a mistake allowed Steward close to within seconds on lap six. Strang gave an all-out push when Steward made the pass for the lead just miles before the finish.
“He passed me and then it was on from there,” Strang said. “He was going flat out. I was just going flat out trying to force him into a mistake or something. Frustrating to get second, but at the same time I felt like I rode a good race.”
A couple of the XC2 250 Pro division riders found themselves in the top four at the end of the three-hour race, Coastal Racing GasGas’ Johnny Girroir finished third overall and Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Lyndon Snodgrass was fourth overall.
Girroir won the XC2 250 Pro division with his top-three finish after running down Snodgrass late in the race.
“I felt good out there,” said Girroir. “Lyndon pulled away from me a little bit in the beginning. I was making a few mistakes and stuff, but I knew it was going to be a long race when the rain came. I was waiting for the two-lap board, and I was pumped for it when it finally came out. Then I pushed. I had to work hard for it, but it was a good race.”
Snodgrass turned in his best performance of the season with fourth overall and it earned him second in the XC2 250 Pro division.
“I knew we were rolling when we started catching the XC1 guys,” said Snodgrass. “I just tried my hardest all day and kept pushing. Johnny was riding good too. He got by me there on the second-to-last lap. I kept pushing and trying to catch back up to him, but I just couldn’t make it happen. I had a few falls. It is what it is. It would have been good to go one better, but [I’m] back up here in second and I’m happy with it.”
Jordan Ashburn found himself in third after getting off to a good start. The Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna rider has been a top-five guy all season long and finished the Camp Coker round third in the XC1 division and fifth overall.
“I had a pretty good start, but I got together with a couple guys in the first corner,” said Ashburn. “I managed to finish up the first lap in third and just kind of ended up there all day. Kelley was ahead of me for a while and I was able to get around him later in the race, although the XC2 boys (Girroir and Snodgrass) were really on it today. Couldn’t get back away from them at the end, but it was a good day.”
After getting stuck right after the start, Ben Kelley pretty much went from last to third after turning in a solid first lap. However, the FMF/KTM rider admittedly struggled with the elements but was able to secure fourth in the class and sixth overall for the day.
“I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of a rough day. It was honestly all I could do to ride around and make the laps,” said Kelley. “I got a good jump at the start, but I got hung up in the ruts in the first couple of corners and dropped back. Then I got caught in a deep rut for about 10 seconds at about the one-mile mark. I lost the pack after that, and I had to charge back through to get in with the lead group. When it started raining, that really felt good, and I caught kind of a second wind. It was a frustrating day, but we managed to salvage fourth place.”
Kelley, who won round two of the series in Florida, continues to lead the series standings by three points over Strang.
KLM GasGas rider Grant Baylor has yet to duplicate the magic that carried him to the win at the series opener in Union, South Carolina. However, the South Carolina rider still sits third overall in the series standings after finishing seventh overall and fifth in the XC1 class. Meanwhile, defending champion XC2 250 Pro class Craig DeLong put his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna into eighth overall and third in the XC2 250 Pro class.
FMF/KTM’s Josh Toth had a rough day but managed to salvage ninth overall and sixth XC1 rider.
“I got a decent start and worked my way into third behind Strang and Stew,” said Toth. “I was riding well, and then I had kind of a dumb, high-speed crash and smacked my elbow. It was pretty sore throughout the race. It seemed like every time I started to push, the traffic would come up and bite me.”
Meanwhile, Phoenix Honda Racing’s Cody Barnes was fourth in the XC2 250 Pro class and 10th overall.
Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jonathan Johnson is a perfect four for four in the FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am class after coming away with a solid victory at Camp Coker. Johnson finished nearly three minutes ahead of KTM-mounted Zack Hayes, with Chase Colville (Yam) in third.
BABS Racing Yamaha/Fly/Maxxis/Pro Circuit’s Becca Sheets passed Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Korie Steede on the opening lap before pulling away for the win in the WXC Pro Women’s division.
AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer was second at the finish, some 45 seconds behind Sheets. Archer and Sheets have been going back and forth in the series and each rider now has two wins and two runner-up finishes.
Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones rounded out the podium with Factory Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish in fourth and Steede in fifth. CN
2021 Camp Coker GNCC Overall Results
- Steward Baylor (Yam)
- Josh Strang (Kaw)
- Johnny Girroir (GG) XC2 250 Pro
- Lyndon Snodgrass (Kaw) XC2 250 Pro
- Jordan Ashburn (Hus)
- Ben Kelley (KTM)
- Grant Baylor (GG)
- Craig DeLong (Hus) XC2 250 Pro
- Josh Toth (KTM)
- Cody Barnes (Hon) XC2 250 Pro
Get the complete results here. http://www.racer-results.net/results/gncc/current/top20.asp?m=bike
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