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Kailub Russell Clinches Fifth Straight Title at Powerline Park - GNCC Racing

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Kailub Russell Clinches Fifth Straight Title at Powerline Park

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, O.H. - The penultimate round of the 2017 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, traveled to St. Clairsville, Ohio this weekend for the 17th Annual Polaris Ace Powerline Park GNCC. As the pros lined up for the start of the 1 p.m. race, rain began sprinkling the already muddy track making for one of the worst mud races of the year.

Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/Husqvarna's Grant Baylor didn't let the rain bother him where he raced his way to the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. Baylor maintained the lead through the endurocross section with Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Josh Strang, Beta USA's Jordan Ashburn and FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell in tow.

Grant Baylor shot off the line to win the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award.
Grant Baylor shot off the line to win the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. Ken Hill

Baylor cruised through timing and scoring on the first lap still in the lead, while Strang went from second to fourth just one turn before the checkpoint, allowing for Russell to move into the runner-up position with Ashburn behind him in third.

Russell made the pass for the lead after Baylor took a bad line and got stuck. Ashburn capitalized on Baylor's misfortune and also got by him for second. As they came out of the woods in a field section, Strang was back into third.

Another lead change occurred when Russell hit a log and went down, allowing for Ashburn to slide by. The crash caused Russell's front fender to fall off creating another added obstacle to the already treacherous track. Russell got back past Ashburn and then Ashburn had more trouble at the creek jump where he went over the bars and couldn't get his bike unstuck. Strang used this to his advantage and once again found himself in second.

Kailub Russell clinched his fifth straight Grand National Cross Country title at Round 12.
Kailub Russell clinched his fifth straight Grand National Cross Country title at Round 12. Ken Hill

N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell had worked his way into third, but also had issues at the creek jump allowing Baylor to move back up to third. Russell seemingly ran his own race up front fenderless and came to the finish 1:13.500 ahead of Strang who had one of his best rides of the season in second. Russell's win was enough for him to wrap-up his fifth-straight title in addition to tying Scott Summers on the all-time win list.

"Today was a good day, it looked like it was going to be really awesome this afternoon before it started raining and got slick," said Russell. "I made a dumb mistake and fell over and broke my front fender off, and then I was just roosting myself out. But yeah, it's been a great a year and I'm happy to get number five and tie the all-time win record today."

Josh Strang had an excellent day in the muddy conditions, making a podium appearance in second.
Josh Strang had an excellent day in the muddy conditions, making a podium appearance in second. Ken Hill

Meanwhile, FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Russell Bobbitt was continually pushing through the pack and was in fourth when the two-lap card came out. Baylor looked to be in a good position for the podium until taking a bad line through the creek jump just one mile before the finish. Bobbitt took the main line and made the pass on Baylor to land his first ever podium finish in third.

Baylor followed in fourth, with R Russell in sixth overall. Jonathan Girroir rebounded from two different crashes on the first lap to have his best finish to date with ninth overall.

Overall podium: (2) Josh Strang, (1) Kailub Russell, (3) Russell Bobbitt.
Overall podium: (2) Josh Strang, (1) Kailub Russell, (3) Russell Bobbitt. Ken Hill

When the green flag waved for the second row, RPM/KTM's Mike Witkowski grabbed $100 Hot Cams XC2 250 Pro Holeshot Award, but Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Layne Michael quickly took the lead. Michael led majority of the race in an overall podium position until having a small tip over just before the white flag came out.

Michael's teammate, Craig Delong, was right there to make the pass and continued leading until the checkered flag flew - claiming his first win of the season. Michael and N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Josh Toth finished second and third. Trail Jesters/KTM Racing's Ben Kelley and Witkowski rounded out the top-five in the XC2 250 Pro division.

Russell Bobbitt made the pass for third on the last mile of the race.
Russell Bobbitt made the pass for third on the last mile of the race. Ken Hill

Coastal Racing's Jack Edmondson barely edged out Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/Husqvarna's Tayla Jones for the $100 Wiseco Holeshot Award in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class. Edmondson continued leading from start to finish for the class win, with his team manager Barry Hawk racing his way to second, followed by Devan Welch in third.

Eleventh overall earned Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Alex Teagarden top amateur honors. Matthew Keefer and Jojo Bowden finished second and third, respectively.

Craig Delong secured his first XC2 250 Pro win of the season in Ohio.
Craig Delong secured his first XC2 250 Pro win of the season in Ohio. Ken Hill

Bonanza Plumbing/Trail Jester KTM's Mackenzie Tricker secured her first WXC win of the season along with the 10 a.m. overall. Fly Racing/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/KTM-backed Becca Sheets was second, with 125 B/C class winner Randall Ervin finishing an impressive third overall. The Motorcycle Shop/Kenda/Bell/V3 Off-Road's Brooke Cosner capped off the WXC top-three.

The 8 a.m. youth race kicked off the day with some exciting race action where each lap had a different leader. At the end of the race it was Mack Riemer standing in the middle of the box claiming his first win of the season. Max Fernandez and Shawn Myers rounded out the overall podium. Zack Davidson missed the podium, but his sixth overall finish allowed him to secure the overall youth championship.

FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am podium: (2) Barry Hawk, (1) Jack Edmondson, (3) Devan Welch.
FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am podium: (2) Barry Hawk, (1) Jack Edmondson, (3) Devan Welch. Ken Hill

The 1 p.m. pro bike race was broadcast LIVE in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as archived video online by visiting the GNCC LIVE page. A highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, December 2 at 12:30 p.m.

The 2017 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series concludes in three weeks with the popular AMSOIL Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana on October 28 and 29. After setting the record for the largest attended GNCC last year, the Ironman GNCC is a can't miss event!

10 a.m. Overall podium: (2) Becca Sheets, (1) Mackenzie Tricker, (3) Randall Ervin.
10 a.m. Overall podium: (2) Becca Sheets, (1) Mackenzie Tricker, (3) Randall Ervin. Ken Hill
OVERALL FINISH RIDER BIKE
1st Kailub Russell KTM
2nd Josh Strang Husqvarna
3rd Russell Bobbitt KTM
4th Grant Baylor Husqvarna
5th Ricky Russell Yamaha
6th Jonathan Girroir KTM
7th Trevor Bollinger Honda
8th Ryan Sipes Husqvarna
9th Andrew Delong Husqvarna
10th Jordan Ashburn Beta
OVERALL FINISH RIDER BIKE
1st Craig Delong Husqvarna
2nd Layne Michael Husqvarna
3rd Josh Toth Yamaha
4th Benjamin Kelley KTM
5th Michael Witkowski KTM
6th Zach Nolan KTM
7th Samuel Evans KTM
8th Jesse Groemm KTM
9th Triston Lafferty Yamaha
10th Ryder Lafferty KTM
OVERALL FINISH RIDER BIKE
1st Jack Edmondson Husqvarna
2nd Barry Hawk Husqvarna
3rd Devan Welch Yamaha
4th Christopher Venditti Yamaha
5th Shawn Page KTM
6th Hunter Neuwirth Husqvarna
7th Mark Heresco Jr. KTM
8th Jaryn Williams Yamaha
9th Tayla Jones Husqvarna
10th Joshua Adkins Yamaha
FINISH RIDER BIKE
1st Mackenzie Tricker KTM
2nd Becca Sheets KTM
3rd Brook Cosner Yamaha
4th Emily Raines Yamaha
STANDING RIDER POINTS
1st Kailub Russell 290
2nd Thad DuVall 202
3rd Ricky Russell 199
4th Steward Baylor 193
5th Grant Baylor 162
6th Trevor Bollinger 141
7th Russell Bobbitt 124
8th Ryan Sipes 122
9th Josh Strang 114
10th Jordan Ashburn 113
STANDING RIDER POINTS
1st Joshua Toth 322
2nd Craig Delong 268
3rd Layne Michael 262
4th Micael Witkowski 211
5th Benjamin Kelley 177
6th Austin Lee 168
7th Jesse Groemm 164
8th Zack Hayes 138
9th Samuel Evans 114
10th Zach Nolan 109
STANDING RIDER POINTS
1st Jason Thomas 292
2nd Hunter Neuwirth 232
3rd Mark Heresco Jr. 219
4th Jack Edmondson 208
5th Jaryn Williams 150
6th Joshua Adkins 148
7th Devan Welch 132
8th Paul Whibley 117
9th Nate Smith 62
10th Dustin Gibson 61
STANDING RIDER POINTS
1st Tayla Jones 180
2nd Becca Sheets 171
3rd Mackenzie Tricker 166
4th Brooke Cosner 140
5th Rachel Gutish 100
6th Kendall LaFollette 80
7th Shelby Rolen 74
8th Taylor Johnston 46
9th Natasha LaChapelle 31
10th Rachael Archer 30