Kailub Russell enters Round 8 of the 2014 Grand National Cross Country series this weekend in second place but his only competition to grabbing the lead is himself.
Last week's news that points leader Charlie Mullins would be out until September after breaking his wrist in a crash during a practice run put a bit of a damper on the season. Mullins and Russell represent the only race winners this year and both riders, teammates on the FMF/KTM team, seemed destined to repeat last year's nail biting down to the last race championship run. Only seven points separate the two riders.
Mullins' injury makes repeating as champion a bit easier for Russell who has had his share of crashes and bad luck this year. However, Mullins is expected to only be out two races, thanks to the nearly three month long break between Rounds 9 and 10, so even if Russell can take two wins, Mullins' points total keeps him in second place and doesn't take any pressure off of Russell.
"It's a bummer that Charlie is hurt, it's sucks for our team and for the fans, as we always seem to keep the racing tight and interesting," said Russell, a MotoSport rider. "With him out I don't plan on changing my race aspect. I want to win under any and all circumstances. I'm not going let up just because I don't need to win."
Russell dominated his last time out at the Mountaineer Run grabbing his fourth win of the season by a nearly two minute margin. The win brought him back to the center of the podium, he took third and second in the previous two races, respectively, and ended a two-race win streak for Mullins.
"The mountaineer went great, I rode to my ability all day long and didn't make any costly mistakes," he said. "If I keep riding like that I should be good to click off a couple more race wins fairly easily, but we all know too well in motor sports it's hard to stay on top of your game every weekend."
A view of Sunday Creek Raceway Pits- Photos: Ken Hill
Round 8 is Sunday at the Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, OH one of the oldest stops in GNCC racing and represents a sort of home track advantage for Russell as he's been racing there since he was a mini rider. He won Round 7 there last year.
"This race is on my grandpa's farm and racetrack so I'm well acquainted with the terrain and track," Russell said. "On the other side I have never really been too fond of racing here because it always seems to rain a ton and can be really slimy and a complete disaster or the complete opposite and be a dust bowl."
2014 GNCC Overall National Championship Standings
- Charlie Mullins (180)
- Kailub Russell (173)- MotoSport rider
- Josh Strang (132)
- Jordan Ashburn (111)
- Paul Whibley (99)
- Grant Baylor (91)
- Ricky Russell (89)
- Andrew Delong (86)
- Steward Baylor (71)
- Chris Bach (65)
Written By: AndrewT