Mullins, Russell Championship Battle Heads South

April 11, 2014 2:35pm | by:

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis makes a stop in Union, S.C. this weekend, April 12 and 13, for Round 4 of the 13-race AMA National Championship series. While the first three rounds have been unpredictable in terms of weather and results, the one constant has been the tightly contested championship battle between Factory FMF/KTM's Charlie Mullins and Kailub Russell.

 

 

Charlie Mullins (pictured) heads to Big Buck with a three-point lead over his teammate Kailub Russell.
Photo: Ken Hill

Mullins holds a three-point advantage over his teammate in the overall standings but it's the reigning champ Russell who has a two-race win streak behind him heading into Sunday's VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC. Both Mullins and Russell are previous Big Buck winners, which could mean trouble for their competitors if they get out front early on. This is the same KTM duo that battled down to the very end in 2013, but this season has showcased many additional contenders early on.

Less than 10 points back in the third place position is Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Josh Strang. With finishes of 3-5-3 in the first three rounds, Strang is the only rider to have finished in the top five overall at every round thus far. Strang hasn't secured a GNCC win since 2011 and the two-time Big Buck winner is sure to be a contender this weekend. 

Josh Strang is the only rider who has placed in the top five overall at the first three rounds.
Photo: Ken Hill

N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Paul Whibley started off on the right foot with two finishes inside the top five, but the New Zealand native experienced a mechanical issue last round that ended his day early. Whibley will return to action this Sunday where he will look to secure his first-ever win in South Carolina, which is home to AmPro Yamaha's headquarters and the Whibley family for a majority of the year.

Whibley's N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammate Jordan Ashburn has put himself in a good position after three rounds of racing. Ashburn captured a podium position at Round 2, proving his merit amongst a group of GNCC Champions where he sits fourth in the overall standings.

Additional hometown favorites heading into the Big Buck GNCC are Belton, S.C. natives Steward and Grant Baylor, who grew up less than an hour away from the Big Buck Farm. Factory FMF/KTM's Stu Baylor Jr. currently sits fifth overall in the XC1 Pro Class, while XC2 Pro Lites Champion and younger brother Grant sits in seventh overall and third place in the XC2 Class. The Baylor brothers are intense competitors and will be tough to beat in their home state.

RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda's Thad DuVall sits eighth in the championship standings with a pair of fourth place finishes and an unfortunate mechanical issue at Round 2. 

At Round 3 Trevor Bollinger captured a big win in front of his hometown crowd.
Photo: Ken Hill

North Carolina's Trevor Bollinger heads up the XC2 Pro Lites Class after securing a big win in his home state last round. In his rookie season, Bollinger has already turned many heads with three consistent top five finishes.

Raines Riding University/Yamaha-backed Ricky Russell sits only one point behind Bollinger in the class standings with three top five finishes as well. Russell is looking to secure his first XC2 Pro Lites win at Round 4 this weekend.

Factory FMF/KTM's Kacy Martinez holds the WXC points lead heading into the fourth round, with an undefeated record in the class.

Russell and Mullins are neck-and-neck coming into Big Buck, tune in to see who takes home the win.
Photo: Ken Hill

Youth bike racing will take place Sunday at 8 a.m., followed by amateurs and Women at 10 a.m., while the top amateurs and pros race at 1 p.m. Local racers are invited to compete at this event, 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.

Adult (12+) gate admission is $20 for the full weekend and $10 for kids (6-11). Kids five and under are free. All admission includes pro pit access.

Tune into RacerTV.com on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern to catch LIVE coverage of the Pro bike race at Round 4. For more information on GNCC Live coverage, visit www.racertv.com.

Don't miss the action LIVE on RacerTV.com this Sunday at 1 p.m. EST.
Photo: Ken Hill

The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes this weekend, April 12 and 13, with the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.

Stay up-to-date with exclusive content from the AMSOIL GNCC Series by following the series Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Previous Round Results:

FMF Steele Creek GNCC
Morganton, N.C.
Round 3 of 13
Sunday, March 30

XC1 Event Results: 

  1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  2. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
  3. Josh Strang (YAM)
  4. Thad Duvall (HON)
  5. Steward Baylor (KTM)
  6. Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
  7. Andrew Delong (HSQ)
  8. Chris Bach (HON)
  9. Ryan Sipes (KTM)
  10. Takeshi Koikeda (HON)

*Overall National Championship Standings: 

  1. Charlie Mullins (70)
  2. Kailub Russell (67)
  3. Josh Strang (58)
  4. Jordan Ashburn (50)
  5. Steward Baylor (44)
  6. Paul Whibley (43)
  7. Grant Baylor (38)
  8. Thad Duvall (36)
  9. Trevor Bollinger (34)
  10. Ricky Russell (33)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2014 National Champion.

XC2 Event Results:

  1. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  2. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  3. Grant Baylor (KTM)
  4. Layne Michael (HON)
  5. Chris Douglas (KTM)
  6. Shane Hufford Jr (KTM)
  7. Callan May (YAM)
  8. Ryan Lojak (YAM)
  9. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
  10. Sam Evans (YAM)

XC2 Series Standings:

  1. Trevor Bollinger (69)
  2. Ricky Russell (68)
  3. Grant Baylor (66)
  4. Rory Mead (56)
  5. Shane Hufford Jr (52)
  6. Callan May (41)
  7. Layne Michael (33)
  8. Chris Douglas (32)
  9. Sam Evans (31)
  10. Ryan Lojak (28)