Russell Salvages Sixth Overall in Tough Conditions at GNCC Round 11

TimeWednesday, October 2, 2019 | 11:55 AM

RUSSELL SALVAGES SIXTH OVERALL IN TOUGH CONDITIONS AT GNCC ROUND 11

Ken Hill

MOUNT MORRIS, Pa. – Round 11 of the 2019 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) proved to be a challenging day for the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team as extremely dry and silty track conditions created mechanical issues for many riders. For points leader Kailub Russell, Sunday was all about salvaging points as he battled through technical adversity to ultimately finish sixth overall as he carries a 37-point lead into the final two rounds of racing.

Russell had a great jump off the start as he powered his KTM 350 XC-F into the lead on the opening lap. He settled into second by lap two and played follow-the-leader through the dry and dusty course. About two hours into the three-hour race, the leader experienced a bike issue that removed him from the race and Russell was able to inherit the lead with two laps remaining. However, it wasn’t long before Russell also began to experience an issue with his bike and from there he was forced to slow down and play it safe in order to finish the race. As a result, Russell dropped outside the top-five and nursed his way into the finish with sixth overall for the day.

Russell:“It’s disappointing to have a bike issue in conditions like we had today but I’m happy we were able to salvage the points for sixth and move onto the final two rounds.”

Ken Hill

FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth eased his way back into racing on Sunday after missing the last three rounds due to a mid-season leg injury that required surgery. Toth got off to a top-five start and bounced around inside the top-10 for the first two hours of the race. As the two-lap card came out, Toth was able to gain a position to eighth and on the final lap he passed his way into seventh, where he ultimately finished just behind his teammate Russell.

Toth:“Today I made the return to racing and conditions were super dusty so it made for a tough day. I ended up seventh, which is not where I’m looking to be but I have a few things to work on to hopefully make a huge improvement at the next round. Thanks to my team for being there for me on the good days and bad days.”

Two-time XC2 250 Pro Champion Ben Kelley made the jump into the XC1 Open Pro class on Sunday following an undefeated season in the first 10 rounds. The Trail Jesters KTM Racing rider got off to a top-10 start and he worked his way through the field, reaching as far up as fourth-place on lap five. However, Kelley unfortunately succumbed to the silty conditions when he came through the pits on the final lap. The crew quickly changed his air filter but after a hard-fought effort to get the bike started, Kelley was unable to continue on, ultimately finishing eighth in his XC1 debut.

Next Race: Beckley, West Virginia – October 13, 2019

XC1 Open Pro Results – Mason Dixon GNCC
1. Thad DuVall, HQV
2. Ricky Russell, YAM
3. Trevor Bollinger, HQV

OTHER KTM
6. Kailub Russell, KTM
7. Josh Toth, KTM 

Overall Championship Standings
1. Kailub Russell, 295 points (6 wins)
2. Thad DuVall, 258 points (4 wins)
3. Steward Baylor Jr., 198 points (1 win)
4. Ben Kelley, 166 points