Mullins Wins Big Sky Off-Road National Championship
On a course filled with natural obstacles and brutal terrain, Charlie Mullins emerged victorious this past weekend to earn the win at the 2013 AMA KENDA Big Sky Off Road National Championship presented by KLIM at the Big Sky Ski Resort in Big Sky, Montana.
The race is actually held on ski runs of the Big Sky Ski Resort, and the slopes are littered with obstacles such as loose rocks and narrow trails, which is bad enough considering the high altitude of the racecourse. Mullins, however, appeared to take it all in stride, powering his FMF/KTM-back 450 XC-F to a two-minute victory over the second-place rider.
“The only problem I had all race was I came into the ‘rock garden’ section and there were lappers in my usual line so I tried to go straight up the rocks and I got hung up about halfway,” Mullins said. “I lost about five seconds there but I was able to get going again without killing my engine or falling over.”
Brad Bakken was able to work his way through the pack to finish in second place behind Mullins, though he had to pass Am Pro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn on the final lap to take earn the spot. Ashburn had to settle for third place after he held the second spot for the last half of the race, but a flat tire derailed his chances to hold onto the spot.
West Coast racer Ricky Russell finished in fourth place at Big Sky. Russell had a solid first half of the race where he held onto the second spot, but the Am Pro Yamaha-backed rider said he “hit a wall” on the final two and gave up his spots to Bakken and Ashburn.
GNCC racer Rory Sullivan had a solid finish at the end and was able to pass former WORCS champ Taylor Robert for fifth. Robert later said his bike felt off for much of the race, saying an incorrect suspension setting let to a disappointing finish.
In its first year as a national championship event, the Big Sky Cross country was a great event unique event held in a beautiful location. With a 2,000-foot range of elevation change during the race, with the pits at 8,000 feet and the race reaching 10,000 feet at its highest point, the race was difficult while also being very scenic.
Big Sky XC Results
1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
2. Brad Bakken (Yam)
3. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)
4. Ricky Russell (Yam)
5. Rory Sullivan (Kaw)
6. Taylor Robert (Kaw)
7. Grant Baylor (KTM)
8. Ryan Turner
9. Ryan Belue (Yam)
10. Michael Rosengren