2019 John Penton GNCC Race Report

Thad Duvall steals John Penton win on the final lap.

Thad Duvall goes up hill at 2019 John Penton GNCC Race.
After the race, Thad Duvall talked about getting around Kailub Russell. “The last really bad hill, luckily my dad was there and pointed me a good line, and Kailub got bottled up behind the lapper in his rut,” Duvall said. “I was able to pass him. The last two miles was just full out mud, go as fast as you can, and hold on. I just got it done.”Darrin Chapman

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Thad Duvall claimed his second win of the season with a last-minute pass on early leader FMF KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell to top the John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio. After breaking away from the pack on the second lap, Duvall, Russell, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Trevor Bollinger took turns leading the three-hour race.

When the two-lap board came out, Bollinger took control of the race, but dropped back to third when he had to make a second run at a muddy hill. Russell led on the final lap, but nearing the end of the lap, the North Carolina rider got hung up behind a lapper who was stuck in a muddy rut, giving Duvall an opening to take the lead and eventually the win. The win was Duvall’s second in a row at the venue.

“I can’t believe I won this race two years in a row and to do it in front of all my fans is crazy,” Duvall said. “The whole time people were screaming out there. It’s unreal. I love this race and to beat Kailub at his home farm is pretty cool. The track was actually a little bit gnarlier than I anticipated; I thought it would be better dirt conditions-wise, but it got super rutty and just made for a long day.”

Kailub Russell races through course at the 2019 John Penton GNCC Race.
Kailub Russell also talked about the last-lap mishap. “I just kind of got robbed there on the last lap by Thad. [He] was in position [and] riding really well. Hats off to him. [It was] just frustrating [for me].”Darrin Chapman

Russell was able to get going in time to salvage second place, and he continues to hold the championship lead with three wins under his belt this season.

“It was a little bit of a follow-the-leader day for me,” Russell said. “I was trying to ride behind Thad and I just kind of bided my time. I got in the lead there when Thad gassed up and I just tried to hang on to the finish. I was doing a good job. I hit all my marks and a guy just stopped in the rut [in front of me]. I rode a flawless race other than that. I made a couple mistakes obviously, but I didn’t throw it away. I just kind of got robbed there at the end.”

Trevor Bollinger rides through mud at the 2019 John Penton GNCC Race.
Trevor Bollinger might have won had it not been for his mistake on the muddy hill. “All it takes is one mistake,” Bollinger said. “These guys have been doing it a long time and you can’t give them an inch. We’re learning and progressing, so we just have to stay the course.”Darrin Chapman

Bollinger recovered from his mishap on the hill to round out the podium.

“Third is good, but it’s a bummer because there in the middle of the race I thought I could do whatever I wanted,” Bollinger said. “I was able to catch back up to them and get into the lead with two to go, and I made a mistake in the creek and had to go around this hill and do it again.”

Jordan Ashburn leads the 2019 John Penton GNCC Race.
Babbitt’s/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Jordan Ashburn grabbed the holeshot to start the race and led the opening lap.Darrin Chapman

Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. maintained his third-place status in the series standings with a solid fourth overall finish. Meanwhile, Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Josh Strang looked comfortable in the sloppy conditions en route to fifth overall. Trail Jesters/KTM’s Ben Kelley made it six wins in six races in the XC2 250 Pro class with a sixth-place overall finish.

Cody Barnes races at the 2019 John Penton GNCC Race.
Beta USA’s Cody Barnes grabbed his third win of the FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am with a 16th overall finish.Darrin Chapman

Seventh went to FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth, with AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell, Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Grant Baylor, and Coastal Racing Husqvarna’s Craig DeLong rounding out the top 10, respectively. DeLong was also second in the XC2 250 Pro class.

In the FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am race, Beta USA's Cody Barnes claimed his third win of the season, extending his lead in the class standings. Trail Jesters/KTM’s Jesse Ansley was second, with Suzuki-mounted Joe Marsh in third.

Becca Sheets races through forest to win the WMX class ahead of Mackenzie Tricker and Rachel Archer.
Becca Sheets won the WMX class ahead of Mackenzie Tricker and Rachel Archer.Darrin Chapman

2019 John Penton GNCC Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Thad Duvall Husqvarna
2 Kailub Russell KTM
3 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna
4 Steward Baylor KTM
5 Josh Strang Kawasaki
6 Ben Kelley KTM
7 Josh Toth KTM
8 Ricky Russell Yamaha
9 Grant Baylor KTM
10 Craig DeLong Husqvarna

2019 GNCC Overall Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Kailub Russell KTM 165
2 Thad Duvall Husqvarna 152
3 Steward Baylor KTM 123
4 Trevor Bollinger Husqvarna 111
5 Ben Kelley KTM 93
6 Josh Strang Kawasaki 83
7 Josh Toth KTM 81
8 Andrew Delong Honda 65
9 Jordan Ashburn Kawasaki 58
10 Mike Witkowski Beta 52