GNCC Racing

FMF KTM Factory Racing's Josh Toth Wins The John Penton GNCC

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | 11:25 AM

FMF KTM Factory Racing's Josh Toth Wins The John Penton GNCC, Kailub Russell Salvages a Podium Finish in Challenging Conditions

MILLFIELD, Ohio – Round 7 of the AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series took place in Millfield, Ohio on Sunday for the always-exciting John Penton GNCC. The FMF KTM Factory Racing Team fought through challenging track conditions, mud, heat and humidity for almost three-and-a-half hours of racing to emerge with two solid finishes in the pro divisions. In the XC2 250 Pro class, Josh Toth put forth a strong performance to secure his third-straight victory, while his teammate, Kailub Russell, salvaged a tough day on the podium to maintain his points lead in the XC1 Open Pro class. 

Ken Hill

XC1 Open Pro

It was a rollercoaster of a day for the Five-Time GNCC Champion as he struggled to keep his bike on two-wheels for a majority of the race. Off the start, Russell was one of the last riders to take off after having trouble firing his bike on the line. He eventually got going and charged his way from last to third on the opening lap, where he looked to be making up solid ground. However, on lap two Russell submersed himself into a water section and was forced to pit early and change out his gloves, where he dropped over a minute back from third-place. He swapped the third and fourth-place positions for most of the race before locking down the final podium position around the halfway point. Russell put on a late-charge to catch second place as he posted his fastest laptime of the race on the last lap to finish only two-seconds back for third overall. 

"I definitely didn’t make it easy on myself today," Russell said. "I made quite a few mistakes and couldn’t stay off the ground but I guess if you can get yourself on the podium on a bad day, that’s still a good day for the championship."

Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. turned his day around as well, fighting from a tenth-place start to finish behind Russell for fourth overall.

Ken Hill

XC2 250 Pro

FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth got off to a top-five start and put himself into second early on. He rode the first three laps in the runner-up position before making his way around the leader on lap four. Toth had no issues with the physically-demanding conditions and he became stronger as the race wore on. With his fastest lap of the race just before the checkers, Toth finished strong with a nearly two-minute gap over the second-place rider of Ben Kelley. 

“It was a demanding track, it was brutal out there but that’s the way offroad racing should be," Toth said."It feels good to get back into the swing of winning but we’re just trying to take it race-by-race.”

Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Ben Kelley started just outside the top-five and worked his way into third by the second lap. Kelley struggled with a few crashes that held him back in the middle of the race but he fought his way into second with one lap to go. Kelley attempted to make a late-in-the-race push for the leader but he didn’t have enough energy to make anything stick. After seven rounds, Kelley still holds the championship lead with three wins behind him.

Round 8: June 10 – Alpine, New York

Ken Hill

XC1 Open Pro Results

  1. Thad DuVall, HQV
  2. Josh Strang, HQV
  3. Kailub Russell, KTM
  4. Steward Baylor Jr., KTM 

Overall Championship Standings

  1. Kailub Russell, 5 wins, 196 points
  2. Thad DuVall, 2 wins, 181
  3. Steward Baylor Jr., 135 

XC2 250 Pro Results

  1. Josh Toth, KTM
  2. Ben Kelley, KTM
  3. Craig DeLong, HQV

XC2 250 Pro Standings

  1. Ben Kelley, 3 wins, 190 points
  2. Josh Toth, 4 wins, 170
  3. Craig DeLong, 117