Kailub Russell (XC1) and Johnny Girroir (XC2) will both miss the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Racing season finale this weekend due to respective injuries.
Russell suffered a knee injury at the Burr Oak GNCC and KTM announced afterwards he had suffered a “PCL and lateral meniscus tear, along with some damage to smaller ligaments and a bone bruise on his femur.” Russell would opt out of surgery and stick to physical therapy as he sat with a 55-point lead over Josh Strang in the Overall National Championship standings but now the recently crowned eight-time champion will undergo surgery to fix the damage. Although Russell announced the 2020 season would be his finale year racing the GNCC season full-time—win or lose—we do not expect him to step away from some sort of professional racing in 2021.
Below is the full press release on Russell.
MURRIETA, Calif.—The FMF KTM Factory Racing Team announced today that eight-time GNCC National Champion Kailub Russell will not line up for this Sunday’s AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series finale as he prepares to undergo surgery on his left knee next week.
Russell suffered a PCL and lateral meniscus tear, along with some damage to smaller ligaments and a bone bruise on his femur in a race-ending crash at Round 10. In true champion-form, Russell lined up two weeks later and pushed through three-hours of adversity to wrap up his eighth-consecutive GNCC title before going on to claim a fourth-overall at Round 12. The iconic off-roader had all intentions of racing this weekend’s Buckwheat 100 GNCC to officially close out his final season as a full-time XC1 Open Pro contender but the condition of his knee has been a cause for concern since the last round and he has made the decision to get it repaired before sustaining any further damage.
Russell: “Since my injury at Round 10, I’ve been pushing through to clinch my eighth championship and try to finish off my final season on a high note but racing is not always as easy as it seems. My knee had turned the corner and was becoming increasingly stronger but racing injured comes with consequences, those of which I’ve been suffering from since Ironman. This is not the way I envisioned things going and I’m disappointed for my team and fans to end on this note but I feel it’s best for my future endeavors to be successful that I withdrawal from my next race to ensure no further damage is done. I’m scheduled for surgery on November 10 to resolve the issue.”
Antti Kallonen: “The news of Kailub’s knee is not what we were hoping for but we knew from the beginning that the chances he would need a surgery were high. However, to ensure the proper function and health of his knee for next season and beyond is of the most importance now.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth will also sit out of this Sunday’s GNCC finale in order to rest up and save his injured finger as he heads into the final round of the AMA National Enduro Series with a mathematical shot at the championship title. Team rider Ben Kelley will head up the FMF KTM Factory Racing squad this Sunday, November 8, in Newburg, West Virginia for the 13th and final round of the 2020 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series. For more information on KTM and its athletes, please visit www.ktm.com/us.
Girroir suffered a big crash at the Ironman GNCC on October 25 and only managed to come home in 11th in the XC2 class, giving up the class points lead to Craig Delong. Later, Girroir announced he had suffered a severe concussion in the crash.
Delong (296 points) leads Witkowski (285 points) by 11 points and Girroir (285 points) sits third through round 12 (of 13). However, the Trail Jesters KTM Racing team announced on Instagram this morning that Girroir would unfortunately have to sit out the finale, meaning the XC2 championship will come down to Delong and Witkowski.
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Not the way we wanted to end this years GNCC series for @jg69rippa. We do want to especially thank @thaddy989, @jesseansley_, @craigdelong342’s father and everyone else that helped Johnny after his big get off on the last lap. Time to rest and then start preparing for 2021. #ktm #fmfpower #tldoffroad #trailjesters 📷 @kenhill127