Craig Delong Claims First Overall Win at The General GNCC
The following press release is from GNCC Racing:
The Specialized General: Motorcycle Race Report
WASHINGTON, Ga. – Following a dry and sunny day of ATV racing on Saturday, round 3 of the 2023 Grand National Cross Country Racing Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) continued on Sunday with motorcycle racing as heavy rainfall infiltrated the grounds of Aonia Pass MX Park in Washington, Georgia.
As the XC1 Open Pro class took off the line it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig Delong grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award and the lead position. DeLong would continue to battle at the front of the field, and he would eventually begin to place a bit of a gap on the rest of the XC1 racers. After earning podium finishes at the first two rounds, Delong would earn his first-ever career overall GNCC win.
“Man, what a day!” reflected Delong. "I didn’t really want to lead, I knew it was going to be muddy, but I got a good start and I was like ‘I guess I have to lead now'. So, it was good. Stew [Baylor] got around me and I sort of followed him and he was splashing all the puddles out for me. We freight-trained for the first hour or so of the race and I didn’t lead a lot of it early on. I just stayed steady and upright, then with two laps to go I had the lead and put in a little push. I didn’t sprint too hard, the team kept telling me the gap was getting bigger and bigger doing what I was doing, then on the last lap they were telling me I had a minute advantage, so I kind of just rode it home. I had a couple of little crashes on the last lap, but I was able to bring it in and it was awesome! After last weekend, that was big for me to be on the podium. I’m happy to get it done and stay in this fight, so let’s keep it rolling.”
Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang would battle at the front of the field but would fall back to sixth on the second lap of the race. As he continued to push, he would make his way back up to third by the time the white flag was waving. Strang would move into the second place position on the last lap of the race and earn his first podium finish of the season in the tough conditions, where he seems to excel as he claimed a podium finish at the 2021 Ironman GNCC.
Battling back-and-forth for the duration of the race was Rocky Mountain/Tely Energy/KTM Racing’s Steward Baylor. As his race bike almost didn’t make it to the line Baylor was prepared to battle on a 2-stroke KTM machine that was under in his pit area. However, just as the 10 seconds call was about to be made Baylor’s mechanic made it to the line with his race ready bike. Baylor would come through sixth on lap one but would battle through to take over second and then third as the race continued on. Baylor would find himself in fourth as the white flag waved but would soon move into the third place position as he made his way to the checkered flag. Baylor now holds a three point lead in the National Championship standings.
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley knew when the rain continued to fall that it was going to be a survival race. As Kelley entered the woods fourth on the opening lap he would continue to push, but he would go down in the mud which put him back to seventh at the halfway point. Kelley would continue to push throughout the remaining laps and would work his way up to fourth as the checkered flag flew. Kelley sits just three points behind Baylor in the points standings.
"Round three went alright,” said Kelley. “I knew it was going to be a survival race with lots of gnarly rain, and this Georgia clay is something else – just a crazy track! We had a good start and made our way into the lead by the second lap, but hit a huge hole and flew off the trail, went over the bars, and dropped back. Pretty much the whole race was mayhem, just getting stuck and having crashes and trying to choose good lines. It was crazy, we went back and forth with a bunch of guys, but I did the best I could and salvaged a fourth. As we came through the finish it was a big fight with three other riders for that last podium spot on the last lap. Happy to get through it though, I knew it was going to be really tough on my leg, and now I'm ready to move forward with solid points and get ready for round four."
Kelley’s teammate, FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Jonathan Girroir put in a good ride finishing fifth overall on the day. As he came around on lap one timing and scoring had him back in the tenth place position. Girroir would push through the gnarly conditions, making his way up to fifth with two laps to go. He held his position and made good line choices throughout the last lap, putting him just five seconds behind his teammate.
“To finish inside the top five today was rewarding in these conditions, both for the team and also myself,” Girroir. “We fought hard all the way through and it was super tough out there. This was my best result of the year so far, which I'm definitely happy with, and we can continue to build from here. Everybody at FMF KTM Factory Racing worked hard for this one and it's always nice to bring home a good finish when there's so much going on in weather like this."
Coming through to take eighth in the XC1 class was Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Grant Baylor, who battled back from an eighth place start to the day. Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn would start his day at the front of the pack as he ran third for the first couple of laps. However, Ashburn would fall back to seventh as the checkered flag came out.
Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall battled back-and-forth as he had to make his way through field after falling back to eleventh at one point. Duvall continued to put his head down and push through the muddy course earning eighth in the XC1 class. GASGAS/FXR/Scott Goggle’s Layne Michael battled back to earn ninth in the XC1 class as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Trevor Bollinger rounded out the top 10 in XC1.
"This weekend was a challenging one for everybody and we finished 10th in really difficult conditions," said Bollinger. "You just have to keep pushing when the track is like that, try to minimize mistakes, and make it to the end of the race. I'm looking forward to the next round now and seeing what we can produce there."
AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell would have a stellar start to the day as he ran up front for majority of the race. However, on the last lap he would suffer a mechanical issue and be unable to make it to the checkered.
In the XC2 250 Pro class it was FMF/RPM KTM Racing’s Angus Riordan making his way into the lead as the white flag flew indicated one more lap to go. Riordan would start his day back in sixth and steadily work his way up through the pack. Riordan would put his head down and push, creating over a two-minute gap over the rest of the XC2 field. Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing’s Evan Smith was off to a good start as he grabbed the $250 Steel City Men’s Clinic XC2 Holeshot Award. Smith would continue to run at the front of the pack for the first couple of laps, but he would continue to push throughout the duration of the race. Smith would come through to make a last lap pass and place second on the day in the XC2 class. Phoenix Racing Honda’s Cody Barnes would battle his way up to third in the XC2 class, earning his first podium finish of the season.
In the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class it was Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing’s Jason Lipscomb jumping off the line to earn the $100 Lojak Cycle Sales XC3 Holeshot Award. As the race continued on Lipscomb would continue to lead the way for the duration of the race. When he came through to the checkered flag, he would have a 16 minute gap on the rest of the XC3 field. Hall’s Cycles/Enduro Engineering/Moose Racing’s Jhak Walker would make his way into second as the white flag flew, and he would continue to battle for the last lap holding onto that number two position. FXR/X Brand Goggles/6D Helmets’ Dakoda Devore would come through to earn third in the class after a sixth place start to his day.
Earning the Top Amateur Honors was 250 A’s Michael Delosa who came through in the 19th overall position and first in his class. Will Sievenpiper claimed the second Top Amateur spot as he came through 22nd overall and second in the 250 A class through the muddy conditions. Gavin Simon rounded out the Top Amateur podium with a 24th overall finishing position and third in 250 A.
As the morning race got underway, the rain continued to fall making the already muddy conditions, muddier, but that didn’t stop the WXC class from having some major battles throughout the course. As the green flag flew it was Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede grabbing the $100 Trail Jesters WXC Holeshot Award, but it would be Over and Out/GASGAS/RG Factory Racing’s Rachel Gutish emerging from the woods first as the racers made their way through timing and scoring. Gutish would lead the first two laps of the race, but AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer was inching closer and closer to Gutish as the laps worse on.
On the last lap of the race Archer would make her way around Gutish, and she would continue to push on towards the finish line. When the duo came to the finish line it was an all-out race to the finish as the ruts had accumulated so much water you really could not tell how deep any of them were. Archer would make her way up to the finish line first, but she would get sideways and tip over with Gutish making her way almost over top of her to earn second on the day. Steede would continue to battle through to take third back from KTM/FXR/Enduro Engineering’s Shelby Turner and make her way to the checkered flag to round out the top three in the WXC class.
The overall win in the morning would go to Connor Potts of the Sportsman A class from Blairsville, Georgia. Sky Metcalfe from Canada would finish fifth overall, Kiefer Galiano of the 150 Schoolboy B class would finish eighth overall and Austin Franklin in the Warrior class would round out the top 10 overall in the morning race.
Coming through in the tough muddy conditions to earn the youth overall win was YXC1 Super Mini Sr. racer, James Jenkins. As the race got underway Jenkins would find himself back in the third and then as far back as fourth at one point. However, Jenkins would put his head down and push towards the front. YXC2 Super Mini Jr. racer, Michael Meyer would push and earn second overall in the youth finish and first in his class, with Canyon Richards earning third overall and second in the YXC1 class.
Austin Tsakanikas rounded out the YXC1 class in third as Caleb Wood and Brayden Baisley rounded out the YXC2 top three finishers. Ryder Sigety would battle through the conditions to take home the 85 Big Wheel (11-15) win. Travis Lentz came through to earn another 85 (12-13) class win this season as he now has three wins under his belt in the class. Gavin Abboud took his second-straight win in the 85 (7-11) class in Georgia.
Beau Garetson took home his second win in the 65 (10-11) class this past weekend, and Maverick Boyer earned his first win in the 65 (9) class. Tripp Lewis made it three-in-a-row as he earned the 65 (7-9) class win. Addison Harris continued her win streak as she brought home the Girls Super Mini (12-16) class win. Zoey Hawkinberry earned her first win of the season in the Girls 85 (7-13) class, while Paisley Harris also grabbed her first win of the year as well in the Girls 65 (7-11) class. Cale Dejarnett from North Carolina would earn the Trail Rider (7-15) class win in the wet Georgia clay.
The AMSOIL Moto Hero at The Specialized General was awarded to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Team Manager, Anthony Dibasilio. He joined the Army right out of high school and was a Sergeant at the 127th MD Company. Anthony was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom and was in Israel for six months at the start of the war in 2003. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was in Iraq from April 2004 until 2005. Anthony was awarded a commemorative American Flag courtesy of Columbia Flag and Sign Co. He also received a $250 AMSOIL Shopping Spree and a set of GBC Kanati Truck tires as well as 100% Goggles.
The next round of GNCC Racing will take place back in Union, South Carolina with the Dunlop Tires Tiger Run on April 1-2, 2023. This will also host the second round of the Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship on Saturday at 5 pm. For more information on the event, and to buy tickets online click HERE.
Catch GNCC Pro ATV and Motorcycle Racing free via RacerTV.com all season long. Pro ATV Racing starts Saturday’s at 2pm ET, with the exception of Big Buck, Snowshoe and Ironman events where they will start at 1pm ET. GNCC Pro Motorcycle Racing will begin at 1pm ET on Sunday’s. Later in the year GNCC Racing will premiere on MAVTV with event highlight episodes.
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.
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The Specialized General Results and Points Standings
Round 3 of 12
Sunday, March 12, 2023
The General Results
The General - Overall RaceMarch 10, 2023
|1||Craig Delong||02:54:05.296||Morgantown, PA||Husqvarna|
|3||Ben Kelley||02:56:50.860||Harwinton, CT||KTM|
|4||Steward Baylor||02:56:51.671||Belton, SC||KTM|
|5||Jonathan Girroir||02:56:56.219||Southwick, MA||KTM|
The General - XC2 Pro RaceMarch 10, 2023
|1||Angus Riordan||02:57:39.660||Woodland, CA||KTM|
|2||Evan Smith||02:59:45.680||Jefferson, GA||Beta|
|3||Cody J Barnes||03:01:37.875||Sterling, IL||Honda|
|5||Michael Witkowski||03:06:39.891||North Liberty, IN||Honda|
The General - XC3 Pro-Am RaceMarch 10, 2023
|1||Jason Lipscomb||03:15:48.299||Parkersburg, WV||Beta|
|2||Jhak Walker||03:32:37.273||Morrisonville, IL||GasGas|
|3||Dakoda Devore||03:36:45.369||Uhrichsville, OH||KTM|
|4||Sawyer Carratura||03:55:33.360||Allison Park, PA||Yamaha|
|5||Zack Hayes||01:48:28.111||Sumter, SC||KTM|
The General - WXC RaceMarch 10, 2023
|2||Rachel Gutish||01:20:52.138||Terre Haute, IN||GasGas|
|3||Korie Steede||01:24:34.217||Beloit, OH||KTM|
|4||Shelby A Turner||01:25:55.460||Barons, AB||KTM|
|5||Prestin Raines||01:40:30.299||Travelers Rest, SC||Yamaha|
|1||Ben Kelley||Harwinton, CT||76|
|2||Steward Baylor||Belton, SC||73|
|3||Craig Delong||Morgantown, PA||67|
|4||Jordan Ashburn||Cookeville, TN||43|
|5||Grant Baylor||Belton, SC||42|
|1||Ryder Lafferty||Millville, NJ||74|
|2||Angus Riordan||Woodland, CA||67|
|1||Toby Cleveland||Erin, NY||74|
|2||Dakoda Devore||Uhrichsville, OH||67|
|3||Jason Lipscomb||Parkersburg, WV||63|
|4||Jhak Walker||Morrisonville, IL||62|
|5||Sawyer Carratura||Allison Park, PA||48|
|1||Korie Steede||Beloit, OH||81|
|3||Rachel Gutish||Terre Haute, IN||67|
|4||Shelby A Turner||Barons, AB||54|
|5||Prestin Raines||Travelers Rest, SC||48|