2019 General GNCC Race Report

Kailub Russell grabs first win of the 2019 season

Kailub Russell
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell couldn’t hide how he felt after the race. “Yeah, it’s nice to get that [point lead] back,” Russell said. “It’s a long way to go, but it’s always nice to have it. It’s one of those things. It’s a long season. You’ve got to be consistent. You can’t just be thinking you got raw speed at one race.”Darrin Chapman

After losing last weekend's Wild Boar GNCC in Florida by nearly two minutes, FMF KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell redeemed himself this weekend with an impressive win at the Specialized General GNCC in Washington, Georgia.

For most of the race, Russell and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammates Thad Duvall and Trevor Bollinger took turns holding the lead in the 2:40-minute race. However, when the checkers flew, it was Russell with the lead, 13 seconds ahead of Bollinger, while Duvall crossed the line in third 42 seconds behind Bollinger after suffering a gnarly crash on the final lap. Naturally, Russell was pleased with the win.

“This track is really good for racing the first couple laps, then after that first lap, everybody kind of finds the fast line and gets dialed in,” Russell said. “I knew it was going to be important to get a good start to position yourself up front. We were able to sneak around on the inside and make some moves. There was a bunch of lines that just kind of zigzagged. It was tough to piece together and that’s why there was such close racing that first lap or two.”

Trevor Bollinger
Trevor Bollinger admitted he had come a long way in the last year. “Last year these guys beat me by like six minutes when I got third, so hopefully we can close that gap down and be there fighting for the win like we were today.”Darrin Chapman

Second place marked one of Bollinger’s best finishes in the XC1 Pro class, but he was somewhat upset that he didn’t get the win.

“I’m pretty bummed about it actually,” Bollinger said. “I feel like I had all the pieces there to fight for a win on the last lap. I honestly made two mistakes the whole race and one of them was on the last lap and it just allowed Kailub to get that much further out of sight. I couldn’t see him, so it was really hard to try to close that gap up. [It was] just one of those days. I felt good. I was there all day. I’m happy with it and just want to build from here. Hopefully I can fight for a win at Steel Creek.”

Thad Duvall
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall rounded out the podium after a huge crash on the final lap. “I said I wanted to come in here and win,” Duvall said. “I felt like we did what we needed to do during the week. I did the recovery time [and] I did the work. I came in feeling refreshed. I was ready to go. I really enjoy this place and I loved it growing up. I just wanted to rebound and go out for that win.”Darrin Chapman

Duvall was pleased with his performance, but not happy about his crash.

“I felt super good going into the last lap,” Duvall said. “I thought I could have stayed with Kailub and pass him for the win, but I almost died out here. There was huge pole and I hit it. It was pandemonium. I lay there for a minute and I don’t know what happened. My bike was all twisted up. I’m just glad to be on the podium after that. Third is disappointing, but I’m stoked with it after that crash.”

Ben Kelley
Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Ben Kelley was seventh overall and first in the XC2 Pro-Am class. “I kind of messed up my start,” Kelley said. “I didn’t hit the [electric start] button right and [it] took it bit [to get going]. I made a few quick passes and was able to get into the lead somewhere on the first lap. I just put in a charge and tried to gap those guys as best I could. Then I had a little crash. [I had my] feet on the pegs [and gave it] just a little too much gas, and spun out around that corner, but nothing crazy. I just rode a steady race from there on.”Darrin Chapman

Meanwhile, the winner of last week’s Wild Boar GNCC, Tely Energy KTM’s Steward Baylor, was fourth. Baylor struggled a bit, having tweaked his already banged-up knee during the week leading up to the race. After battling Kailub Russell for the holeshot at the start of the race, Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang settled into a solid fifth overall at the finish. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth was sixth, just two seconds behind Strang.

Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn was eighth, ahead of Phoenix Honda’s Andrew Delong and Husqvarna/Max Motorsports/FXR Racing’s Evan Smith, who was 10th overall and second in the XC2 250 Pro class.

Cody Barnes
Beta USA’s Cody Barnes won the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class with a 17th overall. “I was third off the line behind Jesse Ansley and Jason Thomas, but I got around Jesse early when he started having problems,” Barnes said. “It was me and Jason for a little bit, then I ended up getting around him in one of the more tight, technical sections. My line ended up being faster than his.”Darrin Chapman
Becca Sheets
Fly Racing/Maxxis/Pro Circuit-backed KTM’s Becca Sheets won the WMX class. “I think the podium finishers in the class are all riding strong,” Sheets said. “Mackenzie took over the lead at the start of the race and I think about the whole two hours we each had a turn at the lead. But then on the final lap, I was able to take over the lead and stay smooth. I was happy to take the win.”Darrin Chapman

Cody Barnes won the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class, with a 17th overall finish. Fly Racing/Maxxis/Pro Circuit-backed KTM’s Becca Sheets won the WMX class on Sunday morning ahead of KTM-supported Mackenzie Tricker and Husqvarna-backed Tayla Jones.

2019 General GNCC Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Kailub Russell KTM
2 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna
3 Thad Duvall Husqvarna
4 Steward Baylor KTM
5 Josh Strang Kawasaki
6 Josh Toth KTM
7 Ben Kelley KTM
8 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki
9 Andrew Delong Honda
10 Evan Smith Husqvarna

2019 GNCC Overall Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Kailub Russell KTM 55
2 Steward Baylor KTM 48
3 Thad Duvall Husqvarna 42
4 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna 41
5 Ben Kelley KTM 32
6 Josh Strang Kawasaki 30
  Josh Toth KTM 30
8 Andrew DeLong Honda 23
  Jonathan Girroir KTM 23
10 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki 22