GNCC Racing

Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Craig DeLong Earns 2nd Place at a Muddy X-Factor GNCC

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 | 1:20 PM

Coastal Racing Husqvarna's Craig DeLong prevailed through muddy and unpredictable conditions on Sunday to earn his fifth XC2 250 Pro class podium of the season with 2nd place at Round 6 of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in Peru, Indiana.

Heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the race made for sloppy conditions on Sunday and the GNCC crew was forced to combine the 10 a.m. Amateur and 1 p.m. Pro races together for one big race. Additionally, the typically three-hour afternoon race was consolidated down to two-hours and took place on a shortened 7-mile course due to unpassable sections of the track.

 Craig DeLong earned this one!
 Craig DeLong earned this one! Ken Hill

XC2 250 Pro

As the green flag dropped for the XC2 250 Pro (16-24) class, Costal Racing Husqvarna teammates Layne Michael and Craig DeLong did their best to get off the line cleanly amidst a chaotic start to the race. Michael got off to a favorable top-five start, while DeLong began the race just outside the top ten.

Both riders were able to vault themselves into a top-five position by the next lap as Michael sat in 2nd place and DeLong in 5th on lap two. By the next lap, DeLong had made his way into the 4th place position, while Michael dropped into 5th just behind his teammate. Things really mixed up on the fourth and final lap as DeLong was able to put himself into the 2nd place position, while Michael dropped back to 7th after getting stuck near the end of the race. 

Conditions were on the muddy side in Indiana. 
Conditions were on the muddy side in Indiana.  Ken Hill

DeLong commented, "I got another bad start but it didn't matter too much because of the mud. I started to pick off riders and made my way into 4th on lap two. I went back and forth from 2nd all the way to 5th. The track was crazy and the guy who made the least mistakes won. I'm happy with the outcome and glad to finish and get good points. We'll be back next week to fight for the win."

DeLong's 2nd place finish accounted for his fifth podium appearance of the season where he continues to chip away at the XC2 250 Pro Championship in 2nd place.

Michael ultimately finished 7th place in the class after getting stuck on the final lap. 

Layne Michael prevailed through the conditions to earn a top-ten finish.
Layne Michael prevailed through the conditions to earn a top-ten finish. Ken Hill

"I got a good start and rode pretty smart all day," Michael said. "I thought I finished 4th for the day but I ended up 7th, it was pretty confusing out there. I only got stuck once on the last lap for a couple minutes but there were so many lines and people going everywhere. All in all, I'm happy to finish with championship points and looking ahead to this weekend's John Penton."

XC1 Open Pro

Coastal Racing Husqvarna rider Ryan Sipes had a tough go in Indiana as he was only able to complete three of the four laps due to the conditions. Sipes struggled with staying on two wheels throughout the entire two-hour race, where he ended up 12th in the XC1 Open Pro class.

"I felt like I forgot how to ride a motorcycle - I crashed and crashed and crashed," Sipes said. "It was a bad race and I'm doing everything I can to figure out how to ride without crashing. I'm going to keep working hard and hopefully turn it around here soon - I'm having a bad season and need to get it turned around."

It was a tough day for Ryan Sipes in the brutal conditions.
It was a tough day for Ryan Sipes in the brutal conditions. Ken Hill

Coastal Racing's Jack Edmondson didn't line up on Sunday for Round 6 as he returned back home to contest the British Sprint Enduro in England.

Next Event: GNCC Round 7 - May 28, 2017

Results from the X-Factor GNCC - Sunday, April 23

XC2 250 Pro (16-24) Results

  1. Zach Nolan
  2. Craig DeLong (HQV)
  3. Mike Witkowski
  4. Josh Toth
  5. Austin Lee
  6. Layne Michael (HQV)

XC1 Open Pro Results

  1. Thad DuVall
  2. Josh Strang
  3. Ricky Russell
  4. Ryan Sipes (HQV)

XC2 250 Pro (16-24) Championship Standings

  1. Josh Toth (158)
  2. Craig DeLong (126)
  3. Mike Witkowski (113)
  4. Layne Michael (106)
  5. Jesse Groemm (94)

FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am Championship Standings

  1. Jason Thomas (156)
  2. Jack Edmondson (145)
  3. Mark Heresco Jr. (116)
  4. Hunter Neuwirth (100)
  5. Jaryn Williams (80)