STRONG RUNNER-UP PERFORMANCE FOR BEN KELLEY
AT ROUND 8 OF THE GNCC SERIES
MOUNT MORRIS, Pa. – FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley came close to earning his second victory of the AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series on Sunday with a mostly dominant performance at the Mason-Dixon GNCC but a last-lap battle awarded him another runner-up finish, where he maintains the XC1 Open Pro Championship points lead after eight rounds of racing. His teammate, Josh Toth, rounded out the top-five with a solid ride in Pennsylvania.
Kelley had a great jump off the start aboard his KTM 350 XC-F and he powered his way into the lead by the end of the first lap. He led the first two and a half hours of the race, fending off a hard-charging Steward Baylor Jr. in second. Heading into the final lap, the two riders were neck-and-neck but it was Baylor who was able to find the hot line and overtake the lead late in the race and Kelley finished strong for second overall.
Ben Kelley: “It was a good day. I got into the lead there at the end of the first lap and led all the way to the sixth lap. Stu was right there all day but I was holding strong and he had a sneaky little line and got by me. I missed it, I wasn’t able to see it and that was all she wrote. I was tired at the end and the track was tight, rough and super rutted, so it was tough to make passes after that but I held strong for second.”
Toth grabbed a sixth-place start and raced just outside the top-five through the first hour of racing. He moved into fifth on lap three and held onto a top-five spot before charging his way into fourth as the two-lap card fell. He made a charge towards the podium battle late in the race but he was overtaken on the last lap to ultimately finish fifth for the day, despite a tough day of battling.
Josh Toth: “I got a pretty good start but I made a mistake early on and kind of settled a little ways back. Some of the dustier spots were tricky behind the leaders but I was able to pick my way through the pack. The racing was super tight today and I put myself in a good position late in the race – running fourth and close to third – but the dehydration and heat got to me and Strang was able to squeak by me on the last lap so I just followed him to the finish, hanging in there the best I could and cooled down.”
Next Race: Snowshoe, West Virginia – June 27, 2021
XC1 Open Pro Results – Mason-Dixon GNCC
1. Steward Baylor Jr., YAM, 02:45:05.673
2. Ben Kelley, KTM, +14.466
3. Jordan Ashburn, HQV, +03:01.394
5. Josh Toth, KTM
Overall Championship Standings
1. Ben Kelley, 182 points
2. Steward Baylor Jr., 178
3. Grant Baylor, 140
6. Josh Toth, 110