Mullins Leads as GNCC Heads to Loretta Lynn's

May 8, 2014 4:05pm | by:

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, makes its return to the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee this weekend, May 10 and 11, with the 33rd running of the Parts Unlimited Loretta Lynn's GNCC.

As the oldest running GNCC on the circuit, this legendary venue has played host to some of the most exciting battles in the history of the series. Moreover, the varied terrain lends itself to a fast-paced course with loose rock and technical sections, serving up a little something for every type of rider. The last time the series made an appearance at Loretta Lynn's was in 2012, where 2009 GNCC National Champion Paul Whibley secured the win en route to his second career title that same year.

Charlie Mullins heads to Tennessee with the XC1 Pro class points lead over teammate Kailub Russell. Photo: Ken Hill

As for this season, it's been an all-out points battle between XC1 Pro championship contenders Charlie Mullins and Kailub Russell through the first five rounds. Mullins, the 2011 GNCC National Champion, is coming off a big win at the last round, where he defeated Russell's previous three-race win streak to reclaim the points lead heading into the sixth round. With two victories behind him this season, Mullins -- a two-time Loretta Lynn's GNCC overall winner -- will go head-to-head with his biggest challenger, and Factory FMF/KTM teammate, Kailub Russell this Sunday to determine who will hold the upper-hand as the 2014 National Championship chase nears the halfway point.

Unlike Mullins and Whibley, Russell has yet to secure an overall win at the Loretta Lynn's Ranch. Russell heads into the sixth round with a heartbreaking finish on his mind from the previous round, where he experienced a big crash while in the lead. Russell was able to salvage a third place finish but it wasn't enough to maintain the points lead he previously held over his teammate Mullins. The reigning champ will look to secure his first win at The Ranch in hopes to reclaim the points lead that slipped away at the last round.

Jordan Ashburn will have the chance to race in front of his home-state crowd this weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Josh Strang, who sits third in the championship standings, has experienced both victory and defeat in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. In 2009, Strang captured the overall win at the Loretta Lynn's GNCC but the Australian native then sustained an unfortunate leg injury on the very same course in 2011. However, the 2010 GNCC National Champion has put himself within striking distance of the title contenders this season and will look to become the next multi-time winner at the Loretta Lynn's GNCC this Sunday.

Hailing from Cookeville, Tennessee, N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Jordan Ashburn will compete in front of his home-state crowd this weekend at Loretta Lynn's. Still arguably in his XC1 Pro rookie transition, Ashburn has been a consistent front-runner this season, where he currently holds fourth overall in the championship standings amongst an impressive panel of GNCC Champions.

For example, Ashburn's N-Fab AmPro Yamaha teammate and two-time GNCC champ Paul Whibley currently sits back in fifth overall in the championship standings, just two points behind Ashburn. While Whibley has experienced issues a few issues this season, there's no doubt that the field of talent in this year's XC1 Pro class is one of the most competitive in recent history. 

Factory FMF/KTM's Stu Baylor Jr. sits in sixth overall as he continues to recover from a nagging wrist injury. His younger brother, KTM Support rider Grant Baylor, currently sits in seventh in the overall standings and second place in the XC2 Pro Lites class.

Ricky Russell holds the points lead in the XC2 Pro Lites class by two points over Grant Baylor. Photo: Ken Hill

Raines Riding University/Atlas Cycles' Ricky Russell took over the points lead in the XC2 Pro Lites class after capturing his first career victory at the last round. Russell's lead is a slim two-point margin over Baylor, while rookie Trevor Bollinger holds the third place spot in the class.

The WXC class continues to provide excellent racing action, with Factory FMF/KTM's Kacy Martinez on top of the point standings after five rounds. N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Becca Sheets maintains a solid second place position, just ahead of Ohio's Mandi Mastin in third.

Rookie Trevor Bollinger holds down the third spot in points in the XC2 Pro Lites class. 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.

Don't forget to catch the action LIVE online at www.racertv.com this weekend. Photo: Ken Hill

Tune into RacerTV.com on Saturday at 2 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. CST to catch LIVE coverage of the Pro Bike race at Round 6. For more information on GNCC Live coverage, visit www.racertv.com.

The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes this weekend, May 10 and 11, with the Parts Unlimited Loretta Lynn's 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:

Dunlop Limestone 100 GNCC
Springville, Ind.
Round 5 of 13
Sunday, April 27

We are almost to the halfway point of the GNCC series, who will get the win this weekend? Photo: Ken Hill

XC1 Event Results:

  1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
  2. Thad DuVall (HON)
  3. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  4. Paul Whibley (YAM)
  5. Steward Baylor (KTM)
  6. Takeshi Koikeda (HON)
  7. Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
  8. Josh Strang (YAM)
  9. Chris Bach (HON)
  10. Jason Thomas (KTM)

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Charlie Mullins (125)
  2. Kailub Russell (118)
  3. Josh Strang (90)
  4. Jordan Ashburn (77)
  5. Paul Whibley (75)
  6. Steward Baylor (71)
  7. Grant Baylor (67)
  8. Ricky Russell (62)
  9. Thad DuVall (61)
  10. Andrew Delong (55)

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

XC2 Event Results:

  1. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  2. Grant Baylor (KTM)
  3. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
  4. Layne Michael (HON)
  5. Jedediah Haines (YAM)
  6. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  7. Callan May (YAM)
  8. Shane Hufford Jr (KTM)
  9. Derrik Allen (KAW)
  10. Sam Evans (YAM)

XC2 Series Standings:

  1. Ricky Russell (123)
  2. Grant Baylor (121)
  3. Trevor Bollinger (105)
  4. Shane Hufford Jr (78)
  5. Callan May (70)
  6. Layne Michael (69)
  7. Rory Mead (56)
  8. Sam Evans (56)
  9. Jesse Groemm (52)
  10. Chris Douglas (45)