Morgantown, W.Va.—The 45th Annual AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, starts this weekend, March 9 and 10, with the 5th Annual Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC in Palatka, Florida. FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell is looking to continue his success after earning his sixth-straight GNCC National Championship last season.
Another rider to keep an eye on will be the #989 Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Thad Duvall. For the past two seasons Duvall has finished in the runner-up position behind K. Russell, but this year he is looking to take home his first-career GNCC National Championship.
Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Steward Baylor Jr. rounded out the top three overall last year, even earning himself a victory at the season finale in Indiana. S. Baylor comes into the season looking to pick up where he left one and battle at the front of the pack for the first win of 2019.
Kicking off the new season on a new team is Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Trevor Bollinger. Last season Bollinger found himself on the overall podium at three different rounds, placing fourth overall in the points standings. This season Bollinger is aiming to push himself even further, and hopefully get his first-career XC1 Open Pro victory.
Making their return to the off-road racing circuit will be the Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki team. The team will consist of 2010 GNCC National Champion Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn. Both of these riders have had successful past on Kawasaki's, which could be beneficial for both riders in the upcoming season.
Making his XC1 Open Pro debut this Sunday, March 10 will be FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Josh Toth. In 2017, Toth earned the XC2 250 Pro class championship and would finish in the runner-up position last season. After earning second overall at the season finale last season Toth makes the move to the premier class, where he is looking to fight for his first overall win this season.
News broke today that AmPro Yamaha/Moose Racing/Parts Unlimited-backed racer, Ricky Russell will not be lining up for the season opener in Florida. R. Russell was practicing over the weekend when he sustained a broken fibula. AmPro Yamaha is working to release more news before this weekend's Wild Boar GNCC.
Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Grant Baylor comes into the season after finishing ninth overall in 2018. G. Baylor underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season, and is now looking to head into round one ready to battle at the front of the XC1 Open Pro pack.
Other riders looking for a strong start to the 2019 season are FXR/Husqvarna/SRT's Layne Michael, Husqvarna/Kenda/Bell/FXR's Cory Buttrick, Phoenix Honda Racing's Andrew Delong and Solid Performance KTM/Fly Racing's Jesse Groemm.
Trail Jesters KTM-backed racer and defending XC2 250 Pro class champion, Ben Kelley is ready to get the season rolling with his newly earned number one plate. Kelley earned two overall podium finishes last year along with six XC2 class wins.
Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Craig Delong finished out the season third last year, but is hoping to come out with a round one win this Sunday afternoon. Phoenix Honda Racing's Austin Lee is eager to get the season underway after finishing fourth in the points standings last year. Lee is hoping to battle for an XC2 250 Pro class win, and contest for the title.
On Sunday, March 10, the motorcycles will take to the woods of Florida following the same race schedule of youth racing action starting the day off at 8 a.m., women and amateur riders at 10 a.m. and the pros and top amateurs will start at 1 p.m.
Spectator passes run $20 for adults and $10 for children (6-11), and kids five and under are free for the full weekend (Saturday through Sunday), with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge.
Saturday's 2 p.m. pro ATV race as well as Sunday's 1 p.m. pro bike race will be broadcasted LIVE on the internet via Racer TV on www.racertv.com. A highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 p.m. EST.