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Russell vs. Mullins for GNCC Title

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Only two points separate teammates Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins in the XC1 Pro Class Championship as the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series comes to a close this weekend in Crawfordsville, Ind. The 19th Annual AMSOIL Ironman GNCC will set the stage for an epic three-hour battle where only one Factory FMF/KTM rider will come out on top as the newly crowned GNCC champion.

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Mullins (112) will attempt to win his second career XC1 title this weekend.
Photo: Ken Hill

The legendary season finale has become more than just a race, as nearly 10,000 spectators are expected to attend what has arguably become the largest fall festival in Montgomery County. The entire venue will be adorned in pink, in honor of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, complete with a pink podium backdrop, pink awards and an open invitation to run pink graphics and backgrounds in all classes.

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Russell (557) will vie for his first ever XC1 Championship this weekend at Ironman.
Photo: Ken Hill

Perhaps the festive atmosphere of the AMSOIL Ironman GNCC will take a back seat on Sunday afternoon as the XC1 Pro and XC2 Pro Lites Classes each have a close-knit championship battle unfolding. Last round, Mullins put an end to Russell's almost record-breaking five-race winning streak as the 2011 GNCC Champion secured his fifth win of the season to bring the point spread to only two heading into the final round. Both Russell and Mullins have shown that they have what it takes to win races so the 2013 title will be awarded to the rider who can finish strongly at this weekend's finale.

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Whibley is back in action and looking strong.
Photo: Ken Hill

Defending XC1 Champion Paul Whibley returned to action last round after missing two races while recovering from injury. In just his first race back, Whibley lead the early parts of the race where he battled with the front runners and earned a third place overall finish. Whibley will be a vital contender for the race win this weekend in Indiana.

Nytro Handguards/B.R.E KTM's Chris Bach holds the third place position in the overall standings with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC's Josh Strang and Shenandoah Honda/USWE-Sports.com's Thad DuVall close behind. Each of these riders has put in solid podium finishes this season and will likely be a threat for the overall win.

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Jason Thomas (1) will attempt to defend his XC2 championship with another title in 2013. Photo: Ken Hill

The XC2 Pro Lites Championship will also be decided at this weekend's finale, as DirtWise Schools/KTM-Parts.com/Maxxis' Jason Thomas looks to defend his 2012 title against current points leader Grant Baylor. The 21-point lead is in favor of Baylor heading into the final round but anything could happen in three-hours of racing.

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Delong looks for four-in-a-row this weekend at Ironman.
Photo: Ken Hill

F.A.R Husqvarna's Andrew Delong has won the last three rounds in the XC2 Class and the Pennsylvania native will look to secure a fourth consecutive victory this weekend. Delong missed two rounds in the middle of the season in order to recover from an injury; therefore he is not in contention for the 2013 title. However, Delong could add a potential spoiler in the race for a final victory this season.

Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, October 26 and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, October 27. Local riders are invited to race the event as well, as GNCC racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.

Spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateurs race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon will also feature the final round of Side by Side racing, taking place at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, please visit the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.

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