ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S THAD DUVALL WINS THE JOHN PENTON GNCC
Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Team’s Thad DuVall earned his second victory of the season on Sunday following a hard-fought battle at The John Penton GNCC. DuVall’s win wasn’t without contest, as he fended off two hard-charging riders throughout the three-hour race, including his teammate Trevor Bollinger, who also held the lead at one time en route to claiming his third podium finish of the season in Millfield, Ohio.
Heavy rainfall came down on Friday night, making for treacherous conditions in some of the shaded woods sections of Sunday Creek Raceway. As a result, riders experienced many different soil conditions throughout the 11.5-mile course, including dry and dusty, deep and slick ruts, as well as sloppy mud sections with the hottest temperatures of the season. These factors all came into play as the tight-knit race came down to its final moments before the checkered flag.
DuVall got off to a great start aboard the FC 450 as he rounded the opening lap in third. By lap two, DuVall had made his way into the lead position where he set his sights on creating a gap over the rest of the field. DuVall swapped the early lead several times with Kailub Russell and by the halfway point he had put a sizeable lead over Russell. Just after the halfway point, his teammate, Bollinger, catapulted himself into the lead, and DuVall dropped back to third for a brief time. It wasn’t long before DuVall reclaimed the top position and he led the freight train into the final lap. As the only front-runner needing to pit, DuVall came in for a quick splash of gas and Russell was able to take over the lead from there. With about two miles to go, DuVall capitalized on Russell’s misfortune as he powered his way past a bottle-necked Russell and into the lead to ultimately secure the win by about 15 seconds.
Thad DuVall: “The track was actually a little bit gnarlier than I anticipated, I thought it would be better dirt conditions-wise but it got super rutty and just made for a long day. I can’t believe I won this race two years in a row and to do it front of all my fans is crazy. The whole-time people were screaming out there, it’s unreal. I love this race and to beat Kailub at his home farm is pretty cool.”
It was an eventful day for Bollinger, who got off to a top-five start aboard his FX 450. He battled from the fifth-place position early on but he slowly climbed his way up to third by the halfway point. With the lead battle within striking distance ahead, Bollinger put his head down and caught the duo as he made his way into the lead on lap five. He led the way for a bit before making a mistake in the creek section and dropping back to third. After losing substantial time re-routing up the hill, Bollinger did his best to finish strong with a third-place podium finish at Round 6.
Trevor Bollinger: “Third is good, but it’s a bummer because there in the middle of the race I thought I could do whatever I wanted. I was able to catch back up to them and get into the lead with two to go and I made a mistake in the creek and had to go around this hill and do it again. That’s all it takes is one mistake – these guys have been doing it a long time and you can’t give them an inch. We’re learning and progressing so we just have to stay the course.”
Husqvarna Motorcycles-supported, Rockstar Energy athlete, Tayla Jones, had a tough day in Ohio. Jones led the opening lap of the race but an issue early on caused her to end the day after only one lap completed.
The John Penton GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
- Thad DuVall (HQV)
- Kailub Russell (KTM)
- Trevor Bollinger (HQV)
Overall Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell, 165 points
- Thad DuVall, 152 points (2 wins)
- Steward Baylor Jr., 123 points
- Trevor Bollinger, 111 points