Strang Captures Win at ITP Powerline Park GNCC

October 19, 2015 9:15am | by:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The penultimate round of the 2015 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC), presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, was full of excitement and chaos today as twelve of the world's best off-road racers lined up in the star-studded XC1 Pro class. Equipped with a former GNCC National Champion, a few international stars and new additions to the front row, the ITP Powerline Park GNCC was the ultimate showdown in off-road racing.

As the green flag dropped for the XC1 Pros, it would be N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Jordan Ashburn who jumped out ahead of the rest of the field grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, but unfortunately suffered a small bobble right after that, allowing AirGroup/Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna's Ryan Sipes to lead the pack into the woods.

The XC1 pros compete for the holeshot.
The XC1 pros compete for the holeshot. photo: Ken Hill

Sipes led the first lap with a dominate pace, setting himself up for what looked to be like an overall win until taking a bad line up a hill climb and opening up the lead position for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Josh Strang. While riding in second, Sipes would unfortunately deal a bad wheel bearing forcing him take an extra pit stop, ultimately robbing him of a podium finish. In the end it would Strang, the 2010 GNCC Champion, who was victorious for the second time this season.

"It's always good to race someone until the finish, but it's also good just to have a gap at the end of the race like today," said Strang. "After Sipes missed the hill climb I was able to pass him, and I was able to get a gap between us and maintain it."

Strang jumps over the infamous mudhole.
Strang jumps over the infamous mudhole. photo: Ken Hill

After finishing second at the previous round, N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Grant Baylor had the confidence to pull another second overall today making for his fifth podium finish of the season. During the first half of the race the South Carolina native swapped positions back and forth with JCR Honda's Chris Bach and Factory Beta Racing's Cory Buttrick, but would ultimately prevail and move himself back into second in the points championship.

In the latter half of the race the battle for third heated up between Ashburn, Buttrick and Bach. Ashburn ended up claiming the last position on the podium followed by Bach, who ran a consistent race crossing the finish line in fourth. Sipes was able to rebound and sneak his way into the fifth-place position on the final lap, just ahead of Buttrick, who rode arguably the best race of his season, finishing sixth in the XC1 Pro division.

Ashburn pushed himself the entire three hour race.
Ashburn pushed himself the entire three hour race. photo: Ken Hill

"I really wanted a good start this weekend, and I actually got the holeshot," reported Ashburn. "But then I crashed four corners in, but it's all good. I just had to fight really hard today and charge to get back up to third."

With XC2 Pro Lites title in hand, Jason Thomas added yet another class win to his record. The win wouldn't come easy for him, as Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR's Nick Davis put up a hard fight for the first half of the race until a cracked piston would ultimately put him out of the race. Raines Riding University/Atlas Yamaha/'s Ricky Russell found himself in second, followed by his teammate Austin Lee in third.

"Having the championship already locked in took the pressure off of this race," said Thomas. "I ended up letting Russell by, and then we both crashed together, but it was a fun race against him and Davis."

XC2 Podium: Jason Thomas, Ricky Russell, Austin Lee. 
XC2 Podium: Jason Thomas, Ricky Russell, Austin Lee.  photo: Ken Hill

Pennsylvania's Ryan Lojak capture the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Holeshot Award, finishing twelfth for the day against some of the best off-road motorcycle racers. While Kentucky's Vance Francis went home with the $125 American Kargo Top Amateur Award, after leading every laps in the 250 A division and finishing 17th overall.

In the WXC division, N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Becca Sheets took her first ever win in the premier women's class with friends and family watching it all unfold at her home track. Her teammate, Jessica Patterson, would claim the holeshot, but finish a respective second in the class. Triangle Cycles/Raines Racing/PG/FMF/Fly-back Kendall Lafollette landed herself on the podium for the very first time in the third-place position.

The WXC class had a new face, along with a new class winner.
The WXC class had a new face, along with a new class winner. photo: Ken Hill

Phil Smith and Vance Earl were literally banging bars in the fight for the overall podium during the 10 a.m. race. Ohio native Smith would pull of the win by two hundredths of a second, making the pass for the lead at the finish line. Earl and Sheets rounded out the overall podium.

KTM's Jesse Ansley added another Youth overall victory, as well as the Super Mini (14-15) class win. This win allowed the Florida native to add valuable points to his first-place position in the Youth Overall Championship standings, but the championship still remains undecided until the final round. Ansley was joined atop of the podium by North Carolina native Connor Smith who finished second overall and KTM rider Chase Hayes in third.

Jesse Ansley leads the Youth Overall Championship heading into the season finale.
Jesse Ansley leads the Youth Overall Championship heading into the season finale. photo: Ken Hill

The 1:00 p.m. Pro race was broadcast LIVE in its entirety on and can be viewed as an archived video now. Please click HERE to view the full three-hour race coverage. In addition to the archived live race coverage on RacerTV, a highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network will feature a highlight show Sunday, December 13, at 4:30 p.m. Complete results from today's bike racing can be found HERE.

The 2015 Amsoil GNCC series heads to Crawfordsville, Indiana, on October 31 and November 1 for the Amsoil Ironman GNCC. For more information on the series, visit the official website at or call (304) 284-0084.

For more information on the series, visit the official website at or call (304) 284-0084.

Stay up-to-date with exclusive content from the 2015 AMSOIL GNCC Series by following the official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

ITP Powerline Park GNCC

St. Clairsville, Ohio
Round 12 of 13
Sunday, October 18

XC1 Event Results:

  1. Josh Strang (HSQ)
  2. Grant Baylor (YAM)
  3. Jordan Ashburn (YAM)
  4. Chris Bach (HON)
  5. Ryan Sipes (HSQ)
  6. Jason Thomas (KTM)
  7. Cory Buttrick (BET)
  8. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  9. Austin Lee (YAM)
  10. Jesse Groemm (BETA)

*Overall National Championship Standings

  1. Kailub Russell (283)
  2. Grant Baylor (223)
  3. Thad Duvall (200)
  4. Josh Strang (196)
  5. Chris Bach (191)
  6. Ryan Sipes (170)
  7. Jordan Ashburn (162)
  8. Jason Thomas (147)
  9. Ricky Russell (106)
  10. Trevor Bollinger (97)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2015 National Champion.

XC2 Event Results:

  1. Jason Thomas (KTM)
  2. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  3. Austin Lee (YAM)
  4. Jesse Groemm (BET)
  5. Tegan Temple (KTM)
  6. Ryder Lafferty (HSQ)
  7. Scott Grills (YAM)
  8. Michael Witkowski (KTM)
  9. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  10. Callan May (YAM)

XC2 Series Standings:

  1. Jason Thomas (307)
  2. Ricky Russell (215)
  3. Trevor Bollinger (194)
  4. Nick Davis (183)
  5. Craig Delong (175)
  6. Tegan Temple (146)
  7. Austin Lee (142)
  8. Layne Michael (142)
  9. Cory Buttrick (122)
  10. Callan May (116)