SPRINGVILLE, Ind. (May 20, 2013) – Following some of the muddiest race conditions the series has seen in recent history, the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series experienced picture perfect weather and track conditions on Sunday for the Dunlop Limestone 100 GNCC. After three hours of intense battle, Charlie Mullins extended his points lead over the field by capturing his fourth win of the season at Round 6 of the 13-race series.
The AmPro Yamaha team got off to another great start, first with Paul Whibley securing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award and then it was Jordan Ashburn who grabbed the early lead. Ashburn held the lead through Lap 1 but it didn’t take long for the Factory FMF/KTM duo of Mullins and Kailub Russell to put themselves out front. Just when it appeared to be a two-way battle for the win, Shenandoah Honda/USWE-Sports.com’s Thad DuVall entered himself into the chase. Around the halfway mark, DuVall broke up the KTM teammates, riding in the second place position behind Russell until Mullins made the move past both riders to reclaim the lead with two laps to go.
Whibley dropped back a few spots after claiming the XC1 holeshot, but the defending champion kept the lead group in his sights early on. Whibley experienced a few struggles mid-race but the Axe Man put a late-race charge on the competition in order to earn fourth overall for the day. Suffering from a wrist injury at the start of the season, Whibley’s Round 6 ride proved to be a big step in the recovery process as fourth place marks his best finish of the 2013 season, in addition to the fourth place he earned at the season opener.
RPM/KTM Team Maxxis rider Rory Mead put in a breakthrough ride in Indiana, finishing a season-best fifth place. Mead engaged in battle with Ashburn and Bach throughout the three hour race but was able to prevail, securing fifth place over Carolina KTM/RidePG.com backed Chris Bach.
Ashburn dropped outside of the top five after leading the early part of the race, finishing seventh overall for the day. XC1 rookie Adam Bonneur bested Litz Racing Honda rider Takeshi Koikeda for eighth and Ricky Russell rounded out the top ten.
Mullins, DuVall and Russell continued to battle all afternoon but it was the 2011 champ Mullins who pulled through in the end. Russell claimed second place, while Duvall earned third place to further validate the West Virginia native in the 2013 title chase.
The championship chase for the XC2 Pro Lites class became much more interesting as defending champ Jason Thomas reclaimed the points lead in the class after scoring valuable points with a second place finish, while F.A.R Husky’s Andrew DeLong finished just inside the top ten despite leading the most laps of the race.
But perhaps most of the excitement lies in KTM support rider Grant Baylor, who secured his first career XC2 class win on Sunday. At 16-years-old, Grant is one of only two riders who have won a pro division at such a young age, the other being Grant’s older brother Stu.
The day began well for DeLong, as he led the first three laps of the race, looking like a strong favorite for the race victory. DeLong eventually ran into some issues that dropped him back to eighth place and that’s when Baylor capitalized. DirtWise Schools/KTM-Parts.com/Maxxis rider Jason Thomas grabbed a top five start and began plucking away his competition early in the race. Thomas even put himself into the lead on Lap 4 but the young gun Baylor maintained a consistent ride to secure his first career win in the XC2 Pro Lies division. Obermeyer Yamaha/Raines Riding University/OffroadViking.com’s Jedediah Haines put in a season-best ride to secure third place in the XC2 division.
North Carolina’s Trevor Bollinger took the 4 Stroke A Lites class win once again and secured the Top Amateur honors by taking sixteenth overall. The next placing amateur was Indiana’s Mike Witkowski, finishing in twenty second.
The 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series continues June 1 and 2 with the Wiseco John Penton GNCC. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.