TOP-FIVE RESULT AT TIGER RUN GNCC FOR
FMF KTM FACTORY RACING'S BEN KELLEY
Round 4 – Grand National Cross Country Series
Former champion Kelley started strongly in eighth at the conclusion of the opening lap and then he dropped to P10 on lap two, but was able to recover and move forward from there. The determined 26-year-old made his way into fifth by the second half of the race and that's where he would go on to finish. That result sees him maintain P2 in the series.
Ben Kelley: "Tiger Run wasn't the best race for me, I just didn't execute and felt a little off all day. I gave it my best and got into a good position there on the first lap in fourth. I could see the leaders, but made a mistake – a bad judgment call – and got caught up with another rider. I dropped way back in the pack, then worked my way back up to a decent position again until another crash set me back a few positions, about halfway through the race. At that point everyone had figured the track out and was going pretty fast – it was tough to make up time and make passes, so I ended up fifth."
A series of crashes in the early stages didn't deter FMF KTM Factory Racing teammate Girroir at Tiger Run, completing the opening lap in a lowly 12th position, before climbing his way up the order to eighth by halfway and then into his final finishing position of seventh by race's end. He has now moved up to eighth in the XC1 Open Pro standings.
Johnny Girroir: "Today started off pretty good and then I had a big cartwheel, which set me back. I picked myself up and was working my way through the pack, but had another big crash, unfortunately. I fell back a little bit more, was around eighth, and then was able to get going the last two laps. The guys in front of us were a little bit out of sight, but I felt good and am improving with each race. I'm feeling stronger and stronger every week, so I'm excited to keep building and to keep moving forward."
A runner-up result from KTM-supported Steward Baylor saw him extend his XC1 Open Pro series lead to six points following round four, while a third-place finish was achieved by Shelby Turner in the WXC category.
Next Race: Camp Coker Bullet GNCC – Society Hill, SC – April 16, 2023
XC1 Open Pro Results – Tiger Run GNCC
1. Ricky Russell, YAM, 2:53:40.518
2. Steward Baylor Jr, KTM, +17.741
3. Jordan Ashburn, HQV, +7.130
5. Ben Kelley, KTM
7. Johnny Girroir, KTM
11. Benjamin Nelko, KTM
Overall Championship Standings
1. Steward Baylor Jr, 98
2. Ben Kelley, 92
3. Craig DeLong, 85
8. Johnny Girroir, 31
11. Benjamin Nelko, 6