RUSSELL LEADS A KTM PODIUM SWEEP AT THE SNOWSHOE GNCC
SNOWSHOE, W.Va. – It was a successful day for the orange brand atop Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia on Sunday as KTM riders swept the overall podium at arguably the toughest race of the season for Round 8 of the 2019 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series. It was a head-to-head battle for the win between FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Kailub Russell and Tely Energy Racing KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr., who fought their way down to the final turns as Russell edged out Baylor by 1.5 seconds after three grueling hours of racing. Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Ben Kelley extended his win-streak in the XC2 250 Pro class to eight-in-a-row, while also claiming third overall for the day with another standout ride.
The Snowshoe GNCC presented riders with a wide variety of terrain across the mountain, including slick tree roots, technical wooded sections and dusty fire roads which made for a competitive day of racing. With a unique live engine start, Russell, Baylor and Kelley all began on the front row as they engaged in a physical battle from the initial wave of the green flag. Russell positioned himself in second on the opening lap and he maintained that position through the first half of the race. It wasn’t until Baylor overtook the lead on lap four that the battle became intense between the two riders. From there, Russell and Baylor exchanged the lead position multiple times throughout the final laps, heading into the final pass on the mountain in a head-to-head battle. With Baylor at the helm, the duo continued to battle into the final stretch and Russell capitalized on the opportunity to pass Baylor on a long uphill, as Baylor got stopped up behind a lapped rider along the way. Russell maintained his position ahead of Baylor through the checkers, just edging Baylor out for the win.
Russell: “This place is special, this is my sixth win here and I really enjoy the whole weekend on this beautiful mountain. I enjoyed the course today but it was getting tough out there. Stu really put the hammer down and tried to get away but I closed the gap and made a move at the seven mile-marker and I actually went down. We went back-and-forth a few different times on the last lap but it was a fun race, I can’t thank the team enough for their support throughout the entire track!”
With a hard-fought performance, Steward Baylor earned second overall for the day. After eight rounds, Baylor sits third in the Overall Championship Standings with one win under his belt.
Meanwhile, Kelley, the XC2 250 Pro class points leader, held his own amidst the top XC1 riders as he maintained a top position all afternoon. He got off to a good start and battled just behind Russell early on. After a big crash on a rocky downhill, Kelley fought his way back to the podium battle where he ultimately finished third overall and first in the XC2 division with an overwhelming six-minute gap over the rest of the class.
FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am
Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Jesse Ansley rode his way to a second-place finish in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class on Sunday. He got off to a good start in second, and maintained a top-three position throughout the race to ultimately secure second for the day.
Next Race: Dilliner, Pennsylvania – July 7, 2019
Overall Results – Snowshoe GNCC
- Kailub Russell, KTM (XC1)
- Steward Baylor Jr., KTM (XC1)
- Ben Kelley, KTM (XC2)
6. Grant Baylor, KTM (XC1)
8. Liam Draper, KTM (XC2)
XC2 250 Pro Results
- Ben Kelley, KTM
- Craig DeLong, HQV
- Liam Draper, KTM
Overall Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell, 225 points (5 wins)
- Thad DuVall, 177 points (2 wins)
- Steward Baylor Jr., 166 points (1 win)
XC2 250 Pro Standings
- Ben Kelley, 240 points (8 wins)
- Michael Witkowski, 148 points
- Evan Smith, 125 points