WASHINGTON, Ga. – FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell extends his points lead in the 2020 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series after sealing a come-from-behind victory with a striking last-lap pass at Sunday’s General GNCC in Washington, Georgia. Russell’s Round 3 win marks three-in-a-row for the Seven-Time Champion as he continues his bid for an eighth-consecutive title in 2020.
XC1 Open Pro
With a little bit of rainfall leading up to the weekend, track conditions were ideal for the three-hour race as a whopping 166 participants lined up for the afternoon slot. Choosing an outside position for the XC1 Open Pro start, Russell’s line choice didn’t work out in his favor as he got pushed wide before the first turn, resulting in a mid-pack start. He quickly put on a charge aboard the KTM 350 XC-F reaching fourth-place by the end of the opening lap. The reigning champion played a game of yo-yo for a majority of the race, as he would fight his way into the lead battle before making a mistake that would quickly drop him out of contention. He swapped the lead with Steward Baylor Jr. several times throughout the race and the two riders carried that close battle all the way into the final lap of racing.
As the white flag flew, Russell sat within striking distance of Baylor’s lead. Due to the fresh rainfall, Russell chose to stop for a new pair of goggles at the beginning of the lap, which allowed Baylor to gain a small lead once again. However, Russell dug deep and pushed his way back into contention as they came into the final turns nearly side-by-side with Russell strategically plotting his last-minute pass for the lead. Taking advantage of Baylor’s outside line choice, Russell marched inside one of the final turns to overtake the lead just seconds before the checkered flag.
Kailub Russell: “I was physically ready to go today but I had a little bit of a cold this week and just didn’t feel 100%, so I was happy to get upfront there at the end. It was a tough race – I just couldn’t get going and Stu was riding really good but I was making it really hard on myself by crashing, getting stuck and just making dumb mistakes. I kept catching him and honestly, I thought I was going to run out of time but I made it happen. I was going to give it a hard charge and throw it in on him in one of these corners, but luckily, he doesn’t have much of a moto background and he just went wide for me and made it easy. It was fun riding with him today.”
GNCC recently made an announcement that due to COVID-19 concerns, Round 4 will no longer take place at the Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, North Carolina on Sunday, April 5. At this time, the series plans to host the race on the same date at an alternate location. For more information on the rescheduled location, please visit www.gnccracing.com.