FMF KTM FACTORY RACING’S BEN KELLEY CLAIMS SECOND-OVERALL AT GNCC SEASON FINALE
NEWBURG, W. Va. – FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley put forth a race-winning performance at Sunday’s AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series finale, where he all-but-secured the overall victory at the end of three-hours. With second overall on the day, Kelley rounded out his rookie XC1 Open Pro season with an impressive sixth overall finish despite missing the first five rounds due to injury.
XC1 Open Pro
Kelley didn’t get off to the best start as he had trouble firing his bike off the line. As a result, the Connecticut native took off in dead last and he made quick work to climb into a top-five position by the end of lap one and he continued to battle inside the top-five through the first two laps. On lap three, Kelley powered his way into third to ignite a big charge into the second-half of the race. He picked up another position to secure second on lap four and he charged his way into the lead with two laps to go. Late in the race, Kelley was joined in the lead-battle by Steward Baylor Jr. and the two riders went head-to-head into the final turns of the finish line stretch. Kelley was able to overtake Baylor in the final moments to physically cross the checkers first but a post-race penalty adjusted him to finish second overall on the day as a result of an unintentional course infraction.
Ben Kelley: “It was a crazy race down to the wire and I came through ahead of Stew but a penalty is a penalty. I don’t think it had anything to do with how the race ended up – so in my mind I think I won straight up – but rules are rules and I understand. I’m mad at myself for making a poor decision but it happens in the heat of the moment, I guess. I’m happy with my fitness and the speed is definitely coming back so we’ll be ready for 2021.”
For more information on the GNCC schedule, please visit www.gnccracing.com.
XC1 Open Pro Results – Buckwheat 100 GNCC
1. Steward Baylor Jr., YAM
2. Ben Kelley, KTM
3. Jordan Ashburn, KAW
Overall Championship Standings
1. Kailub Russell, 295 points (7 wins)
2. Josh Strang, 253 (1 win)
3. Jordan Ashburn, 206
6. Ben Kelley, 178