Even when Kailub Russell crashes he seems to come out on top and with Round 3 of the 2015 Grand National Cross Country series on Sunday in North Carolina on a track considered "home" he's got the best chance to start out the season with three straight wins for the first time in his career.
Russell crashed on the opening lap in Round 2 earlier this month in Georgia but a charge through a mud hole that everyone else avoided helped his position and shortly after he took the lead and never looked back. Sunday's race at Steel Creek Campground in Morganton, NC throws a lot at riders including water crossings, mud and rocks. It's a rugged track with long and steep hills peppered with tree roots. Russell won here last year and it's a track he's used to since he lives in the state.
"This track is tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina, so there is quite a bit of elevation change on this track, with some big hill climbs and it usually ends up pretty beat up and rough at the end of the day," Russell said.
His primary competitor this year is Josh Strang, the 2010 GNCC Champion and runner-up to Russell last year, who can also claim Steel Creek as home. Strang has posted two second-place wins this year and sits 10 points back from Russell in the Championship standings. Strang last won a race in 2014 in Round 12 when Russell rode a small bore two-stroke and already had the Championship wrapped up. Strang is battle hardened and fought off Thad Duvall in Round 1 and overcame a broken front brake rotor last time out.
Thad Duvall is in third place with 39 points and has finished fourth and third to start the year. Jordan Ashburn beat Russell for the holeshot in Round 1, though he finished eighth for that race. It won't be a walk in the park for Russell but his competitors have to deal with more than just the terrain to win.
Racing starts at 1 p.m. (EST) on Sunday at Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, NC.
2015 GNCC Overall National Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell (60) - MotoSport rider
- Josh Strang (50)
- Thad DuVall (39)
- Chris Bach (37)
- Nick Davis (28)
- Jordan Ashburn (28)
- Grant Baylor (26)
- Jason Thomas (26)
- Tyler Medaglia (26)
- Craig DeLong (16)
Written By: AndrewT