Russell Strengthens XC2 Points Lead with Dominating Win at Big Buck GNCC

_KTM Racing News

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Union, SC - FMF/KTM Factory rider Kailub Russell strengthened his points lead after earning his third straight win in the XC2 Pro Lites class at the fourth round of the Grand National Cross Country Series.

The weather at the Big Buck was hot, thus soaking up the moisture in the ground resulting in a dusty course for the GNCC riders. Luckily Russell was able to get off to a great start rounding the first turn in 2nd position behind KTM privateer Dustin Gibson who grabbed the early lead. Russell quickly moved his KTM into the lead and had caught up to the XC1 riders within the first two miles. "I caught up to the end of the XC1 pack pretty quickly, but once close, the dust really slowed me down," remarked Russell. Soon the 2nd place XC2 rider, Jason Thomas, was hot on his tail and started to battle with Russell for the lead. "I lost time in the dust and had to pick up my pace to pull from Thomas." Russell continued to improve throughout the race constantly picking up his pace. Once he started to pull away he rode a consistent race playing it safe in the dusty conditions. "I feel like I could have tried to improve my overall result but I didn't want to risk the win in the dust."

Russell took a dominating win finishing five and a half minutes over the 2nd place rider, KTM privateer Jesse Robinson. A regular on the podium this season, Robinson, struggled with some problems in the beginning of the race and made a hard charge through the pack to come up to 2nd place. Russell's teammate, 15-year old sensation, Steward Baylor rounded out the podium in 3rd position becoming the youngest XC2 rider to ever finish on the podium.

"Kailub was on top of his game today. I am proud of all three KTM riders on the podium. It is great to take a podium sweep and to have Steward earn a podium finish at such a young age," stated FMF/KTM Team Manager Antti Kallonen.

In the XC1 class FMF/KTM riders Cory Buttrick and Nate Kanney started 7th and 9th respectively. Buttrick suffered a crash on the first lap and lost valuable time and positions. Kanney quickly climbed through the pack moving as high up as 4th before he suffered a crash on the end of the first lap. He had a problem starting his bike from the impact of the crash and started near last at the time of recovery. He charged hard through the dust the remainder of the race and rode up to 9th position. Buttrick played catch up throughout the day as well after his crash. He spent the majority of the race in 7th position, but a last minute charge earned him one more spot as he picked off Barry Hawk with only a mile to go.

"I feel like a have the speed and potential to be on the podium each race but I continue to make small mistakes that set me back. I hope to improve at the next round and return to the podium," said Buttrick.

Adding to the success of the weekend was RPM/KTM rider Maria Forsberg who took an easy win in the Women's class in the morning. Forsberg has won three of the four rounds this season and currently holds the points lead.

Next Event: Round 5 - April 24-25, 2010 - Hurricane Mills, TN

Overall Results -
1) Joshua Strang
2) Thaddeus Duvall
3) Paul Whibley
4) Charles Mullins
5) Kailub Russell - KTM
6) Glenn Kearney
7) Cory Buttrick - KTM
8) Barry Hawk
9) Chris Bach - KTM
10) Jesse Robinson - KTM

Overall Results XC-1 Class -
1) Joshua Strang
2) Thaddeus Duvall
3) Paul Whibley
4) Charles Mullins
5) Glenn Kearney
6) Cory Buttrick - KTM
7) Barry Hawk
8) Chris Bach - KTM
9) Nate Kanney - KTM
10) Eric Bailey

Overall Results XC-2 Class -
1) Kailub Russell - KTM
2) Jesse Robinson - KTM
3) Steward Baylor - KTM
4) Jason Thomas
5) Scott Watkins
6) David Synder
7) Dustin Gibson - KTM
8) Jason Greer
9) Mark Fortner
10) Brian Lawson

Overall Results Women's Class -
1) Maria Forsberg - KTM
2) Mandi Mastin
3) Leeann Bange
4) Emily Raines
5) Samantha Steiner - KTM
6) Shelby Rouen - KTM
7) Ashley Crouch
8) Nina Cobb
9) Tayler Wright
10) Veronica Mastin - KTM

Steward Baylor