2019 Ironman GNCC Race Report

Ben Kelley takes second XC1 win of the season.

In just his third race in the XC1 class, Ben Kelley claimed his second XC1 win and finished off the season in third overall.
In just his third race in the XC1 class, Ben Kelley claimed his second XC1 win and finished off the season in third overall.Darrin Chapman

The AmsOil Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series wrapped up its 2019 season with the Ironman GNCC at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana. An all-day rain on Saturday combined with quad races left conditions muddy and rutted on Sunday.

After getting off to a poor start that saw the Trail Jesters KTM rider sitting nearly last, Ben Kelley worked his way through the pack to finish the opening lap in third. From there, the rookie XC1 rider moved into the lead by the end of the second lap, a position he would hold to the finish. The win was Kelley's second in a row in the XC1 class and 12th of the season, counting his 10 wins in the 250 XC2 Pro class. It also moved him into third overall in the final series standings.   "It feels really good to back up my first overall win with another one!" Kelley exclaimed. "I earned this one. Classic [Ben Kelley] with a bad start, but luckily I was able to make quick work of the pack and get into the lead at the end of the second lap. I led from then on and, boy, is that a crazy feeling. Conditions were on my side today—gnarly and deep, [which is] exactly where I thrive. I'm happy to hold it together and end the year strong. Looking forward to the battles to come next season. Huge thanks to the whole Trail Jesters KTM team for an unbelievable year."

Despite crashing a couple of times and having to ride with muddy gloves, Trevor Bollinger grabbed the runner-up slot.
Despite crashing a couple of times and having to ride with muddy gloves, Trevor Bollinger grabbed the runner-up slot.Darrin Chapman

After a fifth place start, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Trevor Bollinger worked his way through the pack to finish second overall, his fifth podium finish of the season. Bollinger concludes his 2019 season fourth in the championship standings.

Steward Baylor made a strong push on the final lap to go from sixth to third at the finish.
Steward Baylor made a strong push on the final lap to go from sixth to third at the finish.Darrin Chapman

As usual, Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. put on a hard charge at the end of the race to move from sixth to third on the final lap, taking advantage of a crash by teammate and brother Grant Baylor, and Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn. Steward would hold on to take third overall, while Grant would rebound to grab fourth.   FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth rounded out the top five, finishing 12 seconds ahead of sixth place finisher Ashburn. Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang came out on top of a close finish to take seventh, crossing the line just six seconds ahead of Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong, who won the XC2 250 class.

Mackenzie Tricker won the WXC class ahead of Rachel Archer.
Mackenzie Tricker won the WXC class ahead of Rachel Archer.Darrin Chapman

Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Liam Draper took second in the XC2 250 class with a ninth place overall finish, while Phoenix Racing Honda’s Andrew Delong rounded out the top 10 overall. Delong will head to Japan next weekend to race against Japan’s top off-road racers in the JNCC season finale. AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell finished 11th overall after running as high as second on the opening lap.

Tayla Jones finished fourth in the WXC race on Saturday, which was enough to win her third WXC championship.
Tayla Jones finished fourth in the WXC race on Saturday, which was enough to win her third WXC championship.Darrin Chapman

Lojak Cycle Sales Yamaha’s Chase Colville earned his first FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class win of the season, beating out Nathan Ferderer and Logan Kittock for the victory. MEPMX/Fly Racing/KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker won the WXC class ahead of AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer, with Fly/Maxxis/Pro Circuit/KTM’s Becca Sheets rounding out the final WXC podium of the season. Finishing fourth was Moose Racing/Shaw Wines/Rockstar/Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones, who wrapped up her third WXC National Championship with the result.

2019 Ironman GNCC Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Ben Kelley KTM
2 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna
3 Steward Baylor KTM
4 Grant Baylor KTM
5 Josh Toth KTM
6 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki
7 Josh Strang Kawasaki
8 Craig DeLong Husqvarna
9 Liam Draper KTM
10 Andrew Delong Honda

2019 GNCC Overall Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Kailub Russell KTM 295
2 Thad Duvall Husqvarna 258
3 Ben Kelley KTM 226
4 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna 219
5 Ricky Russell Yamaha 203
6 Andrew Delong Honda 151
7 Josh Toth KTM 145
8 Josh Strang Kawasaki 143
9 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki 141
10 Craig DeLong Husqvarna 132