THAD DUVALL RETURNS TO THE GNCC PODIUM WITH
THIRD OVERALL AT ROUND 12
ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S CRAIG DELONG
CLAIMS THIRD IN XC2
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thad DuVall made his second podium appearance of the 2021 season on Sunday with a hard-fought third-overall at the Buckwheat 100 GNCC in Newburg, West Virginia. Teammate Craig DeLong finished third in the XC2 250 Pro class, wrapping up second overall in the championship standings with one round remaining in the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series.
After missing six GNCC rounds due to injury this season, DuVall’s return to the podium is a positive step in his comeback journey. The West Virginia native started off just outside the top-five and he put on an early charge to bring his FX 350 into fourth by lap three. He shuffled around the fifth-place spot for most of the race before rallying his way into third on the final lap of racing. With a strong finish in the last 30 minutes, DuVall was able to secure his spot atop the overall podium with an impressive third-place finish.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been up here on the podium,” DuVall said. “The fans today were crazy, this is kind of close to home, so that kept me going all day. I don’t think it’s ever felt so good [to be back on the podium]. I’ve put in a lot of hard work the last couple years and it feels like it’s been a lot. Coming into this year, I was probably in the best shape ever staying with Kailub [Russell] and I was feeling the mojo after getting second at the opening round but a stupid mistake knocked me out for a while. I came back, but still wasn’t very comfortable so I went to Kailub’s for a month-and-a-half over the summer and it was awesome. This feels good for sure!”
For DeLong, it was a bittersweet day in West Virginia as the Defending XC2 250 Pro Champion passed the torch to a new champion before making the jump into the premier class. Fifth off of the line, DeLong moved into third early on and chased down the class front-runners within the first hour. He worked his way into the lead on lap four but he ran into some issues to dropped him outside of the lead battle in the last three laps. DeLong dug deep and pushed through the checkers, claiming third on the day.
“I did what could today to go out with a win, but I couldn’t deliver,” DeLong said. “Johnny [Girroir] had a great season and I can’t take that away from him. I’m a little bit disappointed in myself to not be able to deliver a win in what will probably be my last XC2 race but it’s all good. These two were riding great, so I can’t take anything away from them.”
Trevor Bollinger shot into third off of the start of the XC1 Open Pro race, piloting his FX 450 into third on the opening lap. He battled back and forth around the top-five for most of the race, eventually securing seventh in the class.
“Buckwheat started out good, I think I was third off of the start and I hung with the front group the first four or five laps,” Bollinger said. “Then, I just kind of lost sight of them and fell back a little bit and I ended up getting seventh. It was a good day and a step in the right direction, and I’m looking forward to Ironman.”
Final Round: Crawfordsville, Indiana – October 24, 2021
Results: Buckwheat 100 GNCC
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
2. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)
3. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
5. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
7. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
XC2 250 Pro Class
1. Jonathan Girroir (GAS)
2. Lyndon Snodgrass (KAW)
3. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
2021 Championship Standings – After Round 12 of 13
XC2 250 Pro Class Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Girroir – 322 points
2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Team – 269 points
3. Mike Witkowski – 187 points