Kailub Russell may be in the middle of a nearly three-month long break in the 2014 Grand National Cross Country series but he's keeping busy on his bike in the meantime so he's ready to take home his second consecutive championship when competition resumes in September.
Russell plans to compete in the 4th annual Kenda AMA Tennessee Knockout this weekend in Sequatchie, TN. Billed as a "brutal test of man and machine" the TKO is an extreme type of endurocross and features multiple rounds of competition pitching riders against the terrain and each other in a "knockout" format. Each round is different and can be short or long in length but all bring seriously difficult terrain for riders to tackle.
"The TKO is at the Trial Training Center and will offer a lot of rocky obstacles and creeks with some very tough hill climbs in the mix," Russell said. "As far as practicing for it I plan on heading to the facility a few days prior to practice a little but for the most part just kind of handle whatever is thrown my way."
Russell is switching out his 350cc 4-stroke GNCC bike for a 300cc 2-stroke which he says makes it a lot easier to control on the treacherous terrain he expects to face. Russell leads Charlie Mullins, his teammate on the FMF/KTM team, by 53 points in the GNCC Championship race. Mullins, who broke his wrist prior to Round 8 in a practice run and did n ot compete in the final two GNCC rounds before the break, is not only expected to be back for the final four GNCC rounds but is listed as a competitor in the TKO.
"It's just a good way to keep busy and get in some technical riding for my upcoming endurocross debut," said Russell, who is joining the 2014 GEICO AMA Endurocross series on August 23 in Atlanta. "I'll be somewhat cautious to not get injured with the GNCC championship so close to being wrapped up but I want to do well and if I'm in position to have a good result I'll probably hang it out a little more."
The TKO is considered to be spectator friendly with easy viewing access to many of the most challenging sections. Amateurs compete on Saturday and pros compete on Sunday. The Trial Training Center is located at 300 Woodland Road in Sequatchie, TN. Cost is $20.
The Endurocross series started in May and the round in Atlanta is at the Gwinnett Center.
GNCC resumes September 6 at Unadilla in New Berlin, NY.
2014 GNCC Overall National Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell (233) - MotoSport rider
- Charlie Mullins (180)
- Josh Strang (165)
- Jordan Ashburn (154)
- Grant Baylor (134)
- Paul Whibley (123)
- Andrew Delong (119)
- Ricky Russell (109)
- Steward Baylor (102)
- Chris Bach (92)