The Powerline Park GNCC may go down as the slickest race ever held at this location as rain pelted the region and continued lightly falling throughout the day on and off keeping the Ohio soil more like grease! The majority of the course had been run in hard during Saturday’s racing only to have that incredibly hard-packed soil allow just enough rain to penetrate to turn the 12-mile course into a nightmare if you happen to like traction and any control. With the XC1 Pro championship on the line, the 1 p.m. Pro race was set to be an intense battle of attrition and overcoming the conditions.
Grant Baylor ripped to the XC1 holeshot as the class attacked the first few turns and headed off into the woods. Baylor held the lead for the majority of the first lap as the class sorted things out behind him. All eyes were on Kailub Russell as he worked his way through the ranks after a mid-pack start and was soon on the hunt for the lead position. At one of the most popular sections of the track, a jump and mud hole attracted hordes of fans all looking to watch the riders either make short work of the obstacle or wad up after attempting the jump and, more importantly, the muddy rut-filled landing. When Kailub appeared the fans cheered as he and Ricky Russell zipped across the section and were gone in a splash.
Grant checked in to score lap one and would soon find himself facing brutally slick conditions and would give up the lead as Kailub and Jordan Ashburn raced away as the running order behind them changed virtually nonstop. Back in the woods far from racing updates via RacerTV and even a Facebook Live broadcast, the scene was almost monotone as the riders all looked the same as the coating of mud covered everything, making it difficult to sort who was who. Fans would figure it out and cheers would erupt as their favorite rider raced away.
The running order took a major hit when Jordan took a hit at the creek jump and became stuck as another rider soon crashed and things got chaotic as the pair was trying to get rolling with the help of fans. Enter Steward Baylor, who launched the jump, took a bad bounce, and went full superman over not only his own bike but covered the two already stuck. With fans and staff trying to get approaching racers to take other lines, passes were made as a few were able to clear the jump and avoid the downed riders and ride off a position or two ahead of those who took the longer lines around the mayhem. Jordan was hopelessly stuck and for what seemed like several long minutes he remained fender deep as fans did their best to get him going.
As the three-hour race came to its final laps, the rider on the move was Russell Bobbitt who was now running in a podium finishing position. Kailub had gone down several times but had at one point almost a two-minute lead on Josh Strang, who was having a great race running behind the champ in second. As the checkered flag came out, championship number five was earned by Kailub after another great performance in very trying condition. Josh followed taking second as all eyes watched for who would be the final rider to take the podium. As a brown blur raced out of the woods and through the last few turns, it was Russell Bobbitt claiming his first GNCC XC1 podium, ending one of the most challenging GNCC races in recent memory.
The series heads to its final round held in Crawfordsville, Indiana, over the October 28-29 weekend at what has become one of the most-attended rounds of the series. The final round usually brings out all the fun and excitement of GNCC racing, and winning here in front of thousands of fans makes riders charge harder than ever!
XC1 Open Pro Event Results:
- Kailub Russell (HSQ)
- Josh Strang (HSQ)
- Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
- Grant Baylor (HSQ)
- Ricky Russell (YAM)
- Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
- Trevor Bollinger (HON)
- Ryan Sipes (HSQ)
- Andrew Delong (HSQ)
- Jordan Ashburn (BET