MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Following an unpredictable weekend of weather and track conditions at Round 5 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series, the chase for the 2013 championship has become a little bit tighter. While Charlie Mullins continues to lead the way in the overall standings, a tough weekend for the Factory FMF/KTM team last round allowed the rest of the field to garner much needed points in the championship chase. As the series makes its way into Round 6 this weekend, several riders will carry the momentum needed to inch another step closer towards the number one spot.
Shenandoah Honda/USWE-Sports.com’s Thad DuVall is the first non-KTM rider to claim an overall victory in 2013, giving the West Virginia native confidence heading into this weekend’s Dunlop Limestone 100 GNCC. DuVall currently sits one point below Carolina KTM/RidePG.com’s Chris Bach in the overall standings after experiencing a crash and failing to score championship points at Round 3. With the exception of the points leader Mullins, Bach is the only other XC1 rider to have successfully scored championship points at all five rounds thus far. Consistency has paid off for the Indiana native as he looks to score his third podium finish in his home state this weekend.
There’s no denying the dominance of the FMF/KTM duo of Mullins and Kailub Russell but as many riders have already proven, it’s a 13-race championship and every lap counts. Russell was plagued with mechanical issues in the muddy confines of Round 5, where he lost valuable points on his teammate Mullins. However, Russell is able to maintain a comfortable lead over the third place of Bach heading into this weekend’s race.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC’s Josh Strang put in a breakthrough ride at the last round, finishing a season-best second overall to DuVall. Strang is among several XC1 riders to run into struggles along the way but after proving to himself that he could lead his competitors in the previous round, Strang will be looking to secure his first win on Sunday afternoon. Defending champ Paul Whibley has yet to finish on the podium this season after recovering from a wrist injury earlier this year. The two-time champ has shown the speed and consistency needed to win races and will continue striving to be a front-runner.
In the XC2 Pro Lites division, F.A.R Husky’s Andrew DeLong tops the class by a mere two points after falling victim to the muddy conditions at the last round. With three race wins this season, DeLong has been the most dominant rider in the XC2 division. However, after securing another podium finish, defending champ Jason Thomas now sits only two points below DeLong for the championship. The DirtWise Schools/ KTM-Parts.com/ Maxxis rider gained valuable points over KTM Support Rider Grant Baylor who sits third in the class during his rookie season. Shane Hufford Jr. and AJ Stewart round out the top ten.
Thomas closed the XC2 points gap to just two points behind DeLong Photo: Ken Hill
Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, May 18 and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, May 19. Local riders are invited to race the event as well, as GNCC racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.
Spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateurs race at 10 a.m., and top amateurs and pros race at 1 p.m. Round 4 of the 50cc Micro Series will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please visit the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com.
Due to conflicting events this weekend, the GNCC LIVE show will not be broadcast from the Dunlop Limestone 100. The regularly scheduled show will be back on RacerTV.com June 1 and 2 for the Wiseco John Penton GNCC.