Kailub Russell makes a late-race pass on rival Josh Strang to win the fifth annual Limestone 100 GNCC in Springville, Indiana.
Yesterday’s fifth annual Limestone 100 GNCC was one of those events that showcases just how competitive the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series really is.
Although FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell scored his fourth consecutive win of the season, he earned it in dramatic fashion at the Lawrence Country Recreational Park in Springville, Indiana. In fact, after three hours of racing, Russell’s pass for the win over title rival Josh Strang came on the last straightaway on the last lap.
N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Daniel Milner grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award after the XC1 Pro class took the green flag, but JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing’s Chris Bach had the lead before the field exited the first turn, and Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/FAR Racing Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall moved into second place. Bach and Russell would maintain those positions through the entire first lap.
Once they checked through timing and scoring for the first time, which was located approximately one mile from the start, Bach still had control of the lead. Duvall would still maintain the second place, while Russell and Strang was back in fourth and fifth.
Russell ran fourth, just ahead of Strang, on lap one, but the reigning AMSOIL GNCC Champion made his way into the lead on lap two, only to find himself locked in three-way battle for the lead for the rest of the race, with all three riders taking the lead numerous times. It all came down to the last lap. Duvall ran up front, but a small mistake allowed Strang and Russell to pass him and settle the battle for the race win between themselves.
With the checkered flag in sight, Russell charged passed Strang down the straight stretch in front of pit row. Strang could not get back around Russell and ended up finishing just one thousandth of a second behind him in a thrilling finish.
“I don’t feel like I was the fastest guy out there today,” Russell said. “I just had a bunch of little tip-overs. It was almost easier to be behind than lead today, because of all the bad lines and lappers. We all had a good battle and it seemed like every mile we just kept changing out the lead. After we came back through the starting area I knew there wasn’t many places to pass from there. Josh got protective and was riding the inside lines and I was able to make a hairball pass on him and stick it out for the overall. The track shaped up a lot different than it was when I originally walked it this morning. It ended up making for some great technical racing with multiple lines.”
Strang said that the pace on the last lap was fast.
“We went back and forth a few times, and he [Russell] got me right before the end, and I just couldn’t get back around,” Strang said. “It’s unfortunate, but it was still a good race overall.”
Duvall said that he felt like he could have won all day.
“I just came up short the last lap,” said Duvall. “I made a mistake and rode super tight. I tried everything I could do the last lap and had a good line going up the hill climb gaining seconds, but it was a sprint to the finish and I couldn’t make up the time.”
Westfield Powersports KTM’s Jordan Asburn finished fourth overall, and Bach finished fifth overall. Milner followed Bach for sixth place in XC1 Pro and tenth overall.
Coastal Racing/Husqvarna/MSR’s Craig Delong grabbed the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Holeshot Award, but JCR Honda/Lucas Oil/Maxxis/FLY Racing’s Trevor Bollinger got back to his winning ways in the XC2 Pro Lites class. It marked Bollinger’s fifth class win of the season.
“There’s going to be breakdowns and days that I just don’t feel good on the bike,” Bollinger said. “It’s a long championship and I’m just taking it one race at a time. Today everything worked well together to get back where we were.”
Delong finished second, with Trail Jester Racing’s Benjamin Kelley third. After leading the first half of the race, Trail Jesters
Racing’s Joshua Toth finished fourth, and Beta USA/Fly Racing/Kenda Tires’ Jesse Groemm was fifth.
The 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes in two weeks, May 28 and 29, with The Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio.
2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series
Limestone 100 GNCC
Lawrence Country Recreational Park
Results: May 15, 2016 (Round 6 of 13)
1. Kailub Russell-KTM
2. Josh Strang-Hus
3. Thad Duvall-Hus
4. Jordan Ashburn-KTM
5. Chris Bach-Hon
6. Daniel Milner-Yam
7. Ricky Russell-Suz
8. Cory Buttrick-KTM
9. Philippe Chaine-KTM
10. Chris Douglas-Suz
2016 AMSOIL GNCC National Championship Standings (after 6 of 13 rounds)*
1. Kailub Russell-166/4 wins
2. Josh Strang-142/2 wins
3. Chris Bach-105
4. Jordan Ashburn-84
5. Daniel Milner-80
6. Trevor Bollinger-77
7. Ryan Sipes-66
8. Craig Delong-65
9. Steward Baylor Jr.-62
10. Thad Duvall-53
*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2016 National Champion.
1. Trevor Bollinger-Hon
2. Craig Delong-Hus
3. Benjamin Kelley-KTM
4. Joshua Toth-KTM
5. Jesse Groemm-Bet
6. Michael Witkowski-KTM
7. Austin Lee-Yam
8. Layne Michael-Hus
9. Vance Francis-Hon
10. Samuel Evans-Yam
2016 AMSOIL XC2 Pro Lites Series Standings (after 6 of 13 rounds)
1. Trevor Bollinger-153/5 wins
2. Craig Delong-129
3. Jesse Groemm-101
4. Layne Michael-95/1 win
5. Tegan Temple-87
6. Benjamin Kelley-86
7. Austin Lee-77
8. Joshua Toth-71
9. Trevor Barrett-68
10. Samuel Evans-67