PALATKA, Fla. – FMF KTM Factory Racing Team’s Kailub Russell made it two-in-a-row on Sunday with a flag-to-flag victory at Round 2 of the 2020 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in Palatka, Florida.
Located just north of Daytona’s Bike Week festivities, the Wild Boar GNCC is known for its brutally tough course conditions with a mixture of sand, black soil and a few mud holes in between. New for this year was four miles of fresh trail, which gave the pro riders a unique stretch of new terrain to factor into their already intense three-hour race.
XC1 Open Pro
For Russell, the race started off well as he captured the XC1 Open Pro holeshot aboard his KTM 350 XC-F and set the race pace out front early on. He encountered a small crash on lap three when a vine got caught in his front brake, twisting the handlebars and jerking him off the bike. However, he was able to re-mount with plenty of time to spare and from there, the seven-time GNCC Champion gradually extended his lead to over two minutes by the checkers.
Kailub Russell: “It was a tough day but I got a great start and just kind of did my own thing, trying not to make any mistakes. I kept a pretty steady pace the first three laps and I was able to get that buffer and kind of bide my time and ride the final three laps. It’s easy to do that when you’re not under pressure and you can kind of pick your lines and get around the lappers a little more stress-free. It was a brutal course but it wasn’t as bad as it has been in years past.”
Russell’s XC1 teammates, Ben Kelley and Josh Toth, were both forced to miss the second round due to injury. Kelley recently underwent shoulder surgery and he is expected to return to racing by the end of July. Toth re-fractured his right tibia while preparing for the opening round and he is currently rehabbing his leg with plans to return to racing by the end of March.
With just one week off between rounds, Russell and the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team will return to action next Sunday, March 15 with The General GNCC in Washington, Georgia.