Kailub Russell Rebounds to Earn Maxxis General GNCC Win

Mar. 18, 2014 By Scott Rousseau, Photos by Ken Hill
Kailub Russell minimized mistakes and stayed on two wheels during the muddy race to earn the win.

After a tough outing at the opening round, Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell rebounded this past weekend at the AMSOIL GNCC Series presented by Maxxis by winning the Maxxis General GNCC at Aonia Pass MX Park in Washington, Georgia.

Heavy rain created difficult conditions for racers, as it was so bad that GNCC race officials decided to shorten the race by one hour. Russell’s stiffest competition came for teammate and reigning XC2 Pro Lites Champion Grant Baylor, who battled with Russell right ‘til the checkered flag. In the end, Russell earned the win with an overall time of 2 hours, 17 minutes and 54 seconds. Although conditions were tough, Russell said that the muddy course was something he welcomed.

“Last night I was hoping it would hit us hard with the rain because I was looking forward to a mud race,” Russell said. “We changed some things on the bike and it worked out because got some points on Charlie [Mullins].”

Jordan Ashburn kept it close with Kailub Russell, finishing only a few seconds off on corrected time in second place.

At the start of the race, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC’s Josh Strang grabbed the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, followed out of turn one by AmPro Yamaha teammates Paul Whibley and Jordan Ashburn. Mullins, winner of the opening round in Florida, and XC2 front-runners Grant Baylor and Maxxis/KLIM/DirtWise KTM Race Team’s Rory Mead would join the Yamaha riders in the battle for the lead.

The race didn’t start out the way Russell had hoped, and he didn’t hold the lead for most of the race, but he did managed to stay on his bike in a consistent run that was enough for the win and the valuable 30 points that put him back into the mix for the series standings. Russell seemed to pick up steam as the race wore on, laying down his fastest lap of the day on Lap 5 with a time of 26 minutes, 59.7 seconds.

“You know, I put myself into these positions where I have to win and I just have to dig deep and keep plugging away to get that points lead,” Russell said.

Paul Whibley sits only 2 points behind Charlie Mullins after two GNCC races. He finished in third at the Georgia race this past weekend.

The battle for the win was a close one, as second-place Baylor missed the win only by 4 seconds on corrected time.

“I was definitely going after the overall and I’m upset I didn’t get it but it was a good points ride today,” Baylor said. “The last three laps I didn’t have any brakes at all and then I got stuck a few times on the last lap so I lost that minute for the overall but I’ll just have to come back and get it next time.”

Third-place finisher Ashburn showed his strength in the muddy race, moving up into second just after the halfway mark. Although Baylor finished ahead of Ashburn in the overall, the Tennessee native took second place in the XC1 Class and finished one minute behind Russell, and third overall for the day.

“I had a pretty good day, just tried to pick good lines and run my own race,” Ashburn said. “It feels really good to be back on the podium again. I'm just looking forward to see what the rest of the year has in store.”

Charlie Mullins (right) and Josh Strang (left) battled during the messy race, with Strang finishing just ahead up Mullins in fourth place.

Just missing the podium by only six seconds was Whibley who came in for fourth overall, while Strang captured fifth overall on the day. In spite of being out of the top three, Whibley said it was still a good day.

“I had no idea what was going on out there,” Whibley said. “I guess I was leading at some point. It’s one of those days where you have to just keep going, survive and have fun.”

Salvaging just enough points to stay in the mix for the National Championship, Mullins struggled in the race but managed to finish in sixth place overall. Factory FMF/KTM’s Steward Baylor took sixth place in XC1 and eighth overall (just behind Xc2 runner-up Mead). Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda’s Chris Bach took seventh in the class and ninth overall, while Rockstar Energy/WMR/KTM’s Ryan Sipes finished eighth in the class and fourteenth overall for the day.

Russell's win was needed after a tough first round, and it keeps him in the points chase for the title.

It was also a tough day for factory Husqvarna rider Andrew Delong and RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Thad DuVall. Both riders were hampered by mechanical issues early in the race. DuVall was able to complete just one of five laps, while Delong’s day was over before the first lap was complete.

Maxxis General GNCC (Round 2 of 13)
XC1 Results
1. Kailub Russell - KTM
2. Jordan Ashburn - Yam
3. Paul Whibley - Yam
4. Josh Strang - Yam
5. Charlie Mullins - KTM
6. Steward Baylor - KTM
7. Chris Bach - Hon
8. Ryan Sipes - KTM
9. Takeshi Koikeda - Hon
10. Adam Bonneur - Hon

National Championship Standings (after 2 of 13 rounds)
1. Charlie Mullins - 45/1 win
2. Paul Whibley - 43
3. Kailub Russell - 37/1 win
4. Josh Strang - 37
5. Jordan Ashburn - 35
6. Steward Baylor - 28
7. Grant Baylor - 28
8. Rory Mead - 27
9. Ricky Russell - 22
10. Trevor Bollinger - 21

XC2 Results
1. Grant Baylor - KTM
2. Rory Mead - KTM
3. Trevor Bollinger - Hon
4. Ricky Russell - Yam
5. Shane Hufford Jr. - KTM
6. Layne Michael - Hon
7. Sam Evans - Yam
8. Callan May - Yam
9. Zach Love - KTM
10. Steven Squire - Yam

XC2 Series Standings
1. Rory Mead - 51/1 win
2. Grant Baylor - 45/1 win
3. Ricky Russell - 43
4. Trevor Bollinger - 39
5. Shane Hufford Jr. - 37
6. Callan May - 27
7. Sam Evans - 20
8. Phillipe Chaine - 18
9. Chris Douglas - 16
10. Ryan Lojak - 15

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