Mullins-GNCC-Off-Road-10-14-13ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – Over 1,400 riders were on hand in St. Clairsville, Ohio on Sunday for the penultimate round of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series. After 12 rounds, several class championships in the Youth and Amateur divisions have been decided but the chase for the XC1 and XC2 titles remain up for grabs. At the 12th running of the ITP Powerline Park GNCC, Charlie Mullins captured a big overall win to put an end to Kailub Russell’s previous five-race winning streak and tighten up the championship spread to just two points with one round to go. Defending XC2 Pro Lites champ Jason Thomas kept his championship hopes alive with a third place finish in the class where he will now face points leader Grant Baylor head-to-head at the season finale.

Coming into the ITP Powerline Park GNCC, Russell held a seven-point lead over his Factory FMF/KTM teammate, but this time it was Mullins who prevailed after three hours of grueling battle in the rough and fast-paced 12-mile course. AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley claimed the early lead after grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award but the KTM duo of Mullins and Russell were close behind as they made their way into the woods on the opening lap.

mullins-KTM-ISDE-10-9-13Sardinia, Italy – The USA Trophy Team earned 2nd overall at the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) held on the island of Sardinia. This marked the first 2nd place position for Team USA since 1982.

The six-rider team consisted of KTM riders Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown and Charlie Mullins as well as Thad Duvall, Zach Osborne and Taylor Robert. The team members started off on day one with great times and remained consistent throughout the week with top results.

At the end of day five, the team was sitting in 2nd position and just needed a few good motocross results in order to secure their podium position. Osborne went out and won the first E1 moto, Mullins secured 3rd overall in the E2 class and Brown finished the day off with a moto win in the E3 segment to clinch the 2nd place position for the team.

Morgantown, W. Va. – After seven years of battle with the world’s fastest off-road motorcycle champions-ranging from Australia to New Zealand, the UK, and Finland-Charlie Mullins finally brought home the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Title in 2012. But after becoming the first American-born GNCC champion since 2004, the 25-year-old finds himself facing the pressure to defend against a rising tide of young off-road racers just about to step into their prime. The battle starts next Tuesday, March 13, with the Moose Racing Westgate River Ranch GNCC opener.

Mullins hopes to become the first repeat GNCC Champion since 2008, but he’ll find stiff competition among two young, Ohio based FMF/KTM teammates. Kailub Russell, the two-time XC2 Lites Champion, logged a strong rookie XC1 campaign last year which included a win. The 22-year-old Russell will race on his familiar 350 XC-F, while Cory Buttrick, 21, a race-winner in 2010, will be aboard a 450 like Mullins. The time is now for Russell and Buttrick, who like Mullins grew up racing the GNCC Youth Series, to step into title contention.

But the GNCC veterans are not ready to move over. Paul Whibley finished a close second to Mullins in the final ’12 standings with four race-wins and a strong push at the end of the season. The 2009 GNCC Champion, Whibley is back under the Am-Pro Yamaha Racing tent once again, and the New Zealand native only gets faster with each season. No one outworks Whibley, and he hopes to carry his momentum over from the end of last season for yet another chance at the title.