CRAIG DELONG ENDS THE GNCC SEASON STRONG
WITH A PODIUM FINISH AT IRONMAN FINALE
ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY
RACER WRAPS UP 2022 SEASON IN SECOND OVERALL
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong capped off the 2022 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) season in a big way, capturing third overall at the season finale in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
With an incredible number of entries reaching over the 250 mark at the Ironman GNCC, DeLong had to fight his way through a crowded track. He powered his way into the top five early on, and continued to drive toward a podium finish. He overtook his competitor to move into third just under the halfway point. He continued to hold steady in the spot until the checkered flag waved, closing out the 2022 season. DeLong finishes the season second overall in the XC1 Open Pro Championship.
“The track was rough,” DeLong said. “I struggled to get going in the beginning. I got my way into third and caught up to Stew [Baylor Jr.] but never was really able to get alongside him. I'm happy to end on the podium, and second for the year is way more than what I expected coming in. I'm pretty happy and the confidence is way up, for sure. Starting out, I wasn't sure where I was gonna fit in. In the beginning, I was like a top five guy and my trainers sat me down this summer and told me that I need to change my mindset. They told me that I’m a contender and have to start thinking like that. Ever since, it kind of clicked in my head. That was a big changing point for me. Just happy to end the year on a solid note.”
It was a tough break for Thad DuVall at the season finale. After charging his way up to second on the opening lap, DuVall found himself in a losing battle after puncturing his radiator during the first hour of racing. Unable to go on, DuVall was forced to call it quits before the end of the second lap. DuVall finishes the season 10th in his class, despite missing eight rounds due to injury.
“I got off to a really good start,” DuVall said. “I was second into the woods and then kind of dropped back to third. I came to the big hillclimb and my FX 350 hooked up awesome, I was able to climb up and move into second. I was riding my own race and being comfortable and then just a freak thing - I hit a stick or something - and put a hole in my radiator and ended the day. I’m super happy with how I was riding before that. So, onto next year.”
Tayla Jones, a Husqvarna Motorcycles-supported rider, took second in the WXC class at the Ironman GNCC, while also scoring a top-five overall finish in the morning race. After an ultra-competitive season of racing in the WXC class, Jones finished a close second in the championship standings.
Ironman GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Ricky Russell (GAS)
2. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)
3. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
8. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
Overall Championship Standings
1. Jordan Ashburn, 267 points
2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 223 points
3. Ricky Russell, 181 points
6. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 148 points
20. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 60 points