Kailub Russell Tops 2018 Snowshoe GNCC

Win number seven for KR1

The Snowshoe race features a unique “live engine” start, which is modeled after the Blackwater 100, the precursor to the GNCC series.Ken Hill

Rain on the days leading up to the 12th Annual AmsOil Snowshoe GNCC made this year’s event one of the most grueling yet, but that didn’t deter FMF KTM’s Kailub Russell, who turned in an impressive performance to claim his seventh win of the season.

“Man, it was tough today,” Russell said. “The first lap I just wanted to be really patient and kind of feel things out on the track, especially with both sides of the mountain, so you know the holes and can check out the lines. I felt really good after doing that and then my goggles broke, which was a game changer. It was half the speed without goggles on out there because there was so much mud coming up in your face and there was water running down all the slopes; it was really tough. I was right there with Thad [Duvall], he was keeping me honest, and it was tough to get away because every time I would get goggles and try to get away, something would break on them. It was just a cat-and-mouse kind of thing. Finally, going into the last lap and a half I was able to open the gap up and then on the very last lap, I got the pitboard that Thad had crashed and was out of the race, so that’s a bummer. He was riding really good and I hope he’s okay and everything is well. I’m happy to get the win at Snowshoe and head into the summer break in a good position.”

Steward Baylor (514) leads Trevor Bollinger (739) and Kailub Russell (1) as the first wave leaves the start.Ken Hill

Russell’s usual nemesis, Thad Duvall, was in the hunt briefly, but eventually dropped out due to a wrist injury. With Duvall on the sidelines, Tely Energy Racing’s Grant Baylor stepped up his game to claim the runner-up slot some 48 seconds behind Russell, while JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger finished third, three seconds behind Baylor.

Trail Jesters KTM’s Ben Kelley took the win in the XC2 250 Pro class with a fourth overall finish, while FMF KTM’s Josh Toth was second in the XC2 250 Pro division and fifth overall.

Kailub took control of the race at the midway point. “It was the usual cat-and-mouse game with Thad [Duvall] at first, but going into the last lap and a half I was able to open up the gap,” Kailub said. “Then on the last lap I got the pitboard that Thad had crashed and was out. This is a tough race and I’m happy to get the win heading into the summer break, but I’m bummed for Thad.”Ken Hill
Grant Baylor battled for most of the race with Bollinger over second place. Baylor eventually beat out Bollinger by three seconds for the runner-up slot.Ken Hill
Bollinger bent his rear brake rotor just after the halfway mark and was forced to change rear wheel assemblies, which may have cost the Honda rider second place.Ken Hill
KR4 Husqvarna’s Layne Michael finished just outside of the top 10 in 12th overall.Ken Hill
Thad Duvall ran at the front of the pack during the early stages of the race, but suffered a wrist injury while battling with Kailub for the lead and was forced to drop out of contention.Ken Hill
In the Women’s XCW class, KR4 Husqvarna’s Tayla Jones finished a minute-and-a-half ahead of Fly/Maxxis/Seat Concepts KTM rider Becca Sheets, with Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish finishing third.Ken Hill
Ben Kelley (center) took the top spot in the XC2 250 Pro class ahead of Josh Toth (left) and Jonathan Girroir.Ken Hill
Alex Teagarden won the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class with a 17th overall finish.Ken Hill

2018 Snowshoe GNCC Overall Results

Position Rider Brand
1 Kailub Russell KTM
2 Grant Baylor KTM
3 Trevor Bollinger Honda
4 Ben Kelley KTM
5 Josh Toth KTM
6 Ricky Russell Yamaha
7 Steward Baylor KTM
8 Jonathan Girroir Suzuki
9 Austin Lee Honda
10 Ryder Lafferty KTM

2018 GNCC Point Standings

Position Rider Brand Points
1 Kailub Russell KTM 256
2 Thad Duvall Husqvarna 202
3 Trevor Bollinger Honda 164
4 Steward Baylor KTM 149
5 Josh Strang Husqvarna 136
6 Ben Kelley KTM 134
7 Josh Toth KTM 121
8 Ricky Russell Yamaha 109
9 Layne Michael Husqvarna 73
10 Craig Delong Husqvarna 72