MILLFIELD, Ohio — The 2018 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship, took over Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio for round seven, The Wiseco John Penton GNCC, this past weekend. With temperatures in the high eighties, it was said to have felt like 100+ degrees as the 1 p.m. Pro race took off on Sunday, May 27.
Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Thad Duvall found himself at the front of the pack early and never looked back. Duvall earned his second win of the season and now sits 15 points behind FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell in championship points standings.
Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Josh Strang grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award, but was closely followed by teammate Duvall as they headed into the woods. Duvall would make the pass early and lead the way through the rugged racecourse. Coming through timing and scoring on lap one, Duvall had a 39-minute and 12-second lap time, but maintained a 2.6 second lead over Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Grant Baylor.
Duvall and G. Baylor would hold the first and second spots for the first three laps, but G. Baylor found himself stuck in one of the toughest portions throughout the course, the Penton section, on lap four. G. Baylor was ultimately unable to finish the race, allowing Strang to move into the second overall position for the remaining two laps. Strang came through the finish in second overall, earning his first podium finish of the season.
Russell found himself having an up-and-down kind of race. After having trouble firing his bike on the start, K. Russell would charge through the pack to come around in third on lap one. On the second lap, he was forced to pit early for a new set of gloves after plunging into a water section. K. Russell would swap third- and fourth-place positions majority of the race before holding onto the third place position. However, a hard charge would put K. Russell only two seconds behind second-place finisher when the checkered flag came out.
After starting the race in the tenth-place position, Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Steward Baylor Jr. put his head down and pushed hard through the first three laps. Making the pass for fourth a little over the halfway point in the race, S. Baylor Jr. continued to charge through the rough course. Unable to catch the top three, S. Baylor crossed the finish line in fourth overall.
Beta USA's Jordan Ashburn put in one of his best rides at John Penton this past Sunday. Ashburn started the race mid-pack, but managed to make his way through for a top-five finish in the XC1 Open Pro class. AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell found himself in the sixth-place position majority of the race, but would find himself battling back on the third lap to ultimately finish sixth.
Not having the race he was hoping for was JCR/Honda's Trevor Bollinger. After having a consistent start to the season, Bollinger found himself outside of the top five in the XC1 Open Pro class at round seven. Bollinger earned a seventh place in XC1, going ninth overall. He currently still sits fourth in championship standings.
KR4/Husqvarna's Cory Buttrick put in another consistent race in his home state of Ohio, finishing eighth in the XC1 Open Pro class. Following Buttrick was GasGas/FAR's Andrew Delong in the ninth-place position. Delong has been steadily improving and earned his first two top-ten finishes in the last two races. Buttrick's teammate Layne Michael found himself in the tenth-place position. However, Michael would suffer from some issues on lap three and was unable to complete the fifth and final lap of the race.
GasGas/FAR's Nick Davis got a good jump off the second row and grabbed the $100 Hot Cams Holeshot Award, but Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Craig Delong would be there to make the pass for the lead on lap one. Delong held the lead in the XC2 250 Pro class for the first three laps and was running fifth overall. Delong would battle for the lead with FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Josh Toth before falling back to the third-place position, as Trail Jesters/KTM's Ben Kelley would also make the pass for second on the third lap. M&E Honda/Fly Racing/Maxxis' Austin Lee put on a hard charge through the race to come across the finish line fourth in the XC2 250 Pro class after a mid-pack start. Davis earned a fifth at round seven, which is his second-best finish of the season.
As the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class took off, it was Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Alex Teagarden earning the $100 FMF Holeshot Award. As the riders made their way through the course, Teagarden would check in on lap one still holding onto the first-place position. However, FMF/Maxxis/RPM KTM's Jesse Ansley was just seven seconds behind him. When the group came around for the second lap, Raines Riding University/Atlas Sales/Yamaha's Jason Raines was leading the way, followed by Teagarden and Community Off-Road/Mitas/STS Motorsports Jason Langenback in third. Teagarden would make the pass for the lead and remained there until the checkered flag flew, earning his second FMF XC3 class win of the season. Raines and MCS Racing/Kenda Tire/Moose Racing's Cody Barnes rounded out the top three.
Taking the top amateur honor was Tyler Soriano, who also earned himself the Open A win. Following Soriano were Ben Parsons and Levi Keller, taking second and third, respectively, in the Open A class. The 250 A class win went to Jojo Bowden, followed by Dakoda Devore and Brewer Cawley rounding out the top three.
The 10 a.m. overall race podium featured three Sportsman A riders Josh Kellough, Justin Parsons, and Joshua Sexton. The WXC race win went to KTM/Bonaza Plumbing/Trail Jesters' Mackenzie Tricker, followed by Suzuki-backed rider Shelby Rolen, who made her first WXC podium appearance this year. KR4/Husqvarna's Tayla Jones led the WXC class on lap one, but struck some bad luck throughout the race course and came in third in the WXC class. This is only the second race at which Jones has not taken the WXC win.
The youth bike racers took to an extremely slick and muddy race course at 8 a.m. on Sunday. When the checkered flag flew, it was Max Fernandez taking the overall and YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class win. YXC2 Super Mini Jr.'s Grant Davis came through second overall, earning his class win as well. Tyler Palmer came through third overall and second in YXC1. Canon Kuneff earned the 85cc (12-13) class win and came through for sixth overall.
Friday evening, the inaugural Fantic eMTB race took place at The Wiseco John Penton GNCC. Leon Hanson from Winchester, California, took the overall win, followed by Layne McCormick Cody Taylor rounding out the top three. The next Fantic eMTB race will take place at the Amsoil Snowshoe GNCC.
The 1 p.m. Bike Pro race was broadcast LIVE in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as archived video online by visiting the GNCC LIVE page online. A highlight show featuring the event will be aired on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, June 23 at 6:00 p.m.
For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.
John Penton - Overall
Sunday Creek Raceway - Millfield, OH
|1||Thad Duvall||Williamstown, WV||Husqvarna|
|3||Kailub Russell||Boonville, NC||KTM|
|4||Steward Baylor Jr||Belton, SC||KTM|
|5||Josh Toth||Winstead, CT||KTM|
|6||Jordan Ashburn||Cookeville, TN||Beta|
|7||Ben Kelley||Harwinton, CT||KTM|
|8||Ricky Russell||Duvall, WA||Yamaha|
|9||Trevor Bollinger||Morganton, NC||Honda|
|10||Craig Delong||Morgantown, PA||Husqvarna|
John Penton - XC2 Pro
Sunday Creek Raceway - Millfield, OH
|1||Josh Toth||Winstead, CT||KTM|
|2||Ben Kelley||Harwinton, CT||KTM|
|3||Craig Delong||Morgantown, PA||Husqvarna|
|4||Austin Lee||Bedford, IN||Honda|
|5||Nick Davis||Meshoppen, PA||GasGas|
|6||Evan Smith||Jefferson, GA||Husqvarna|
|7||Zach Nolan||Masontown, WV||KTM|
|8||Samuel Evans||Saint Albans, WV||KTM|
|9||Zack Hayes||Sumter, SC||KTM|
|10||Jonathan Johnson||Landrum, SC||Yamaha|
GNCC Overall Standings - 2018
|1||Kailub Russell||Boonville, NC||226|
|2||Thad Duvall||Williamstown, WV||202|
|3||Trevor Bollinger||Morganton, NC||143|
|4||Steward Baylor Jr||Belton, SC||135|
|6||Ben Kelley||Harwinton, CT||116|
|7||Josh Toth||Winstead, CT||105|
|8||Ricky Russell||Duvall, WA||94|
|9||Craig Delong||Morgantown, PA||72|
|10||Jordan Ashburn||Cookeville, TN||66|
GNCC XC2 Pro Standings - 2018
|1||Ben Kelley||Harwinton, CT||208|
|2||Josh Toth||Winstead, CT||200|
|3||Craig Delong||Morgantown, PA||142|
|5||Austin Lee||Bedford, IN||113|
|6||Evan Smith||Jefferson, GA||102|
|7||Liam Draper||New Zealand||98|
|8||Jonathan Johnson||Landrum, SC||90|
|9||Nick Davis||Meshoppen, PA||83|
|10||Michael Witkowski||North Liberty, IN||77|