Don't challenge Kailub Russell.
If you want a chance to beat him.
Russell, who won his second straight Grand National Cross Country series Championship after Round 11, took Round 13 at Ironman Raceway, the final of the season, in most impressive fashion on Sunday in Crawfordsville, IN.
He won on a 2-stroke KTM 150XC nearly 90 seconds in front of second-place finisher Josh Strang. Russell, a MotoSport rider, traded his regular 350 race bike for the small bore as a way to raise money for his trip in a few weeks to the International Six Days of Enduro in Argentina and help out friend Rory Mead who suffered a spinal injury earlier this year in GNCC racing. The now winning bike, Russell took second on the 150 for the last round, is in the hands of one lucky raffle winner. The raffle raised just more than $50,000.
"I kept hearing I couldn't do it here, the track is too fast, this and that," Russell said. "Well, thanks for the motivation."
Russell got a bad start off the gate and eventually worked his way up front. He said it took him awhile to make the passes on Charlie Mullins and Ryan Sipes but once he got around them he stepped up the pace and took off. Russell led four of the six laps on the day and even grabbed a fastest lap award. He's the first to win a GNCC overall on a small bore 2-stroke since 2001. It was his 22nd career victory.
"It was unreal," he said of the victory. "It's definitely the most meaningful win of my career, so far. Anyone can win a championship not many can beat the best in the world on a small bore two stroke. It has helped raise a lot of money for Rory Mead. Thank you to everyone who participated in the raffle."
Mullins, Russell's teammate on the FMF/KTM team, returned for the second straight Round after breaking his wrist in a practice crash prior to Round 8 at the end of May. Mullins started the race in familiar territory, out front, but eventually lost ground thanks to the nagging wrist injury. Mullins led the Championship Points standings after Round 7 and his absence dropped him to fourth place prior to Sunday's race. He finished Round 13 in 10th place and held on to fourth-place overall, just 15 points from a spot on the final podium.
Strang, who won Round 12 becoming the only winner this season other than Russell or Mullins, needed a strong showing to retain his hold on second-place for the final podium. Strang battled with the GNCC rookie Sipes for much of the race until he took hold of second on the final lap beating Sipes by just nine seconds. Strang, the 2010 GNCC winner, also grabbed second on the Championship podium, while Jordan Ashburn who finished in sixth-place on the day took the final Championship podium spot.
Sipes, who retired from the Motocross/Supercross circuit last year but raced in much of the Motocross season this year in between GNCC dates, took third for his first podium appearance of the year. He nearly took third-place in Round 11.
Nearly 2,300 riders competed over the two-day Ironman GNCC event which was the highest number ever recorded in the 40 years of the series. It broke the record set in September at Unadilla by 200 riders. GNCC racing returns in the spring for the 2015 season.
GNCC Round 13 XC1 Pro Results
- Kailub Russell - MotoSport rider
- Josh Strang
- Ryan Sipes
- Andrew Delong
- Steward Baylor Jr.
- Jordan Ashburn
- Takeshi Koikeda
- Paul Whibley
- Grant Baylor
- Charlie Mullins
Overall National Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell (348) - 2014 GNCC Champion
- Josh Strang (241)
- Jordan Ashburn (223)
- Charlie Mullins (208)
- Grant Baylor (202)
- Andrew Delong (178)
- Paul Whibley (177)
- Steward Baylor Jr. (134)
- Chris Bach (123)
- Ricky Russell (117)
Written By: AndrewT