GNCC Racing

Kailub Russell Prevails Through Tough Conditions to Earn Round 2 Victory

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 | 12:45 PM

Round 2 of the 2017 Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC) resumed on Sunday in the sunshine state, taking place only seven days after the season opener in South Carolina. FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Kailub Russell prevailed through the tough Florida conditions to earn his first victory of the season at the Wild Boar GNCC. KTM-Supported rider Steward Baylor Jr. had an impressive come-from-behind performance to finish atop the podium with 3rd place.

Russell shot off the line to capture the XC1 Open Pro holeshot aboard his KTM 250 XC-F, where he led a hungry pack of 16 riders into the woods. Unexpected rainfall came down just after the start of the race, which presented riders with an additional obstacle of poor visibility early on. While leading, Russell succumbed to the rainy conditions and took a wrong turn, losing a few positions along the way.

The four-time GNCC National Champion stopped in the pits on the opening lap to receive fresh goggles, which cost him time as the rest of the field pushed on. Russell was able to gain an advantage on the next lap, though, as he caught the front-runners and positioned himself in the 2nd place spot.

It wasn’t long before Russell made his move into the lead position but it wasn’t easy as he continued to battle back-and-forth with the top riders. As the race wore on, Russell, along with Thad DuVall close in tow, was able to break away from the rest of the pack. On the final lap, DuVall closed the gap to the leader and applied relentless pressure to Russell all the way to the finish. Russell held strong to earn his first victory of the 2017 season in Florida.

Kailub Russell: “Thad was riding really good, I expected that from him and we battled down to the end. It was nice to get a win today, the track was really rough and tough. I was kicking myself for not putting on roll-offs [goggles] because of the rain. It started pouring on the first lap and I was pulling tear-offs left and right. I couldn’t see, went the wrong way and got passed by a few guys at the beginning but I’m glad it rained because it kept the track intact and made for some good traction. All-in-all it was a good day and we’ll continue to look ahead and keep the wins coming.”

SRT/KTM’s Baylor didn’t get the best start as he began just inside the top ten but he eventually climbed his way up to a top-five position. Despite several crashes throughout the race, Baylor was able to continue pushing ahead to land his KTM 350 XC-F inside the top three where he earned his second straight podium finish in as many rounds.

FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Russell Bobbitt came into the weekend a little under the weather as he battled a cold that plagued him throughout the short week between rounds one and two. Bobbitt put his KTM 350 XC-F into a top-ten position off the start where he began to move his way through the pack. However, Bobbitt got stuck in a mud hole about one mile into lap one and ultimately dropped a few positions in the process. Bobbitt was able to make a push at the end of the race where he passed into the 6th place position just before the two-lap card fell. After three hours of racing, Bobbitt finished 6th in the XC1 class and 8th overall for the day.

Next Event: GNCC Round 3 – March 26, 2017

Overall Results (XC1 Open Pro and XC2 250 Pro Combined)

  1. Kailub Russell (KTM) – 1 win
  2. Thad DuVall
  3. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM) – 1 win
  4. Chris Bach (KTM)
  5. Ricky Russell


8. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
10. Jesse Groemm (KTM)

Overall Point Standings

  1. Kailub Russell (55)
  2. Steward Baylor Jr. (51)
  3. Josh Toth (33)
  4. Ricky Russell (31)
  5. Chris Bach (30)


6. Russell Bobbitt (27)
14. Jesse Groemm (12)