MORGANTOWN, W.Va — The Amsoil Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship, kicks off the 2018 season in South Carolina at the Big Buck Farm for the 22nd Annual VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC. The world's fastest off-road racers will take to the woods surrounded by thousands of spectators all excited to observe the battle for the first overall win of the 44th annual GNCC Racing season.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell comes into round one looking to pick up where he left off last season. K. Russell earned his 47th career win at the season finale in 2017, surpassing Scott Summers on the all-time career overall bike wins list. K. Russell will not only have his eyes set on taking the early points lead, but also earning another championship to take over second on the GNCC Bike National Championships list.
Coming into 2018, Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Thad Duvall is eager to put his Husqvarna FX 350 on the top step of the podium this weekend in South Carolina. After finishing in the runner-up position last season, Duvall is hungry to start the season with the points lead. Duvall's teammate, Josh Strang, will also be a rider to keep an eye on at the Big Buck GNCC. Strang's experience and off-season preparations will prove that he will continue to be a front-runner.
AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell had a standout year in 2017; where he earned his first win at the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC. R. Russell finished out last season in the number three position, and is looking to land in the center of the podium at round one this Sunday, February 25.
South Carolina natives and brothers Steward and Grant Baylor are coming into 2018 as teammates with Tely Energy Racing/KTM. Steward opened the 2017 season with the win at Big Buck, and looks to repeat with another strong start. Grant Baylor who has been dealing with a shoulder injury, has race win experience as a two-time XC2 champion and earned the overall win at the 2017 John Penton GNCC.
JCR Honda-backed Trevor Bollinger is fresh off his first season in the XC1 Pro class. Bollinger has proven he can compete at the front of the pack and contend for an overall win on familiar terrain.
Coming into 2018, Layne Michael will be aboard the KR4/Husqvarna team alongside Cory Buttrick. Michael is coming into the season as an XC1 rookie after finishing third in the XC2 250 Pro class. Buttrick, who took a break from GNCC Racing in 2017, is back and ready to compete.
Sunday's race schedule is as follows: Youth Bike racing begins at 8 a.m., followed by amateurs and women at 10 a.m. and pros and top amateurs at 1 p.m.
Adult (12+) gate admission is $20 for the full weekend and $10 for kids (6-11), with kids five and under free. Gate admission includes pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge.
Local racers expected to compete this Sunday will be Hayden Abbott (Open C Junior 25+), Coleman Brinson (Sportsman B), John Campbell (250 A), Brewer Cawley (250 A), Chase Hayes (250 A), Zack Hayes (XC2 250 Pro), Grant and Steward Baylor (XC1 Open Pro), Hector Snethen (Super Senior B 45+), and Devin Pomianowski (Open B).
The event is co-sanctioned with SETRA, a series that produces local racing events in the Southeast, and will ultimately bring out a full slate of local racers. All local racers are invited to compete at the Big Buck GNCC, as GNCC Racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur race entry fee is $50 and riders can sign up at the track. To learn more about GNCC Racing, please visit the GNCC101 webpage.
Tune in to RacerTV.com on Saturday at 1 p.m. EST to catch LIVE streaming of the Pro Bike race. For more information on GNCC live coverage, visit www.racertv.com. A highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, April 1, at 5:00 p.m.
For a complete schedule of the weekend's activities, please visit the Big Buck GNCC event page on the series website by clicking HERE.
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.