Expect a free-for-all on Sunday for Round 9 of the 2015 Grand National Cross Country series as riders get a three-month break and much-needed rest to gear up for the final four rounds starting in September.
Kailub Russell brings a two-race win streak into the weekend's round held at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, WV which is widely considered the toughest track in the series. A win on Sunday gives Russell eight victories for the year and a 90 point-plus cushion in his quest for three-peating as Champion. Extending his lead to the point equivalent of three winning rounds puts him in line to wrap up the title at Unadilla for Round 10.
The field has thrown a couple of competitors to knock Russell off center podium only succeeding once when Chris Bach got his first career GNCC win in Round 6 more than a minute ahead of Russell. The last two rounds Ryan Sipes has proved a formidable foe rolling up second and keeping Russell honest.
Sipes made headlines earlier this month when the former Motocross/Supercross standout, who retired from the rigors of those seasons in 2013 and joined GNCC last year, took 11th overall at the Tennessee National Motocross on June 6, then finished second the next day at the John Penton GNCC in Ohio. Sipes finished 12th overall at the High Point National on Saturday and plans to race two more rounds in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series. He's already in the Top 20 for points and gets this weekend off from Outdoors as that series is on a two-week break.
Meanwhile, Russell, a MotoSport rider, won the last two rounds of the Kenda AMA National Enduro series, the most recent on Sunday in Wyoming, where he beat Russell Bobbitt by more than two minutes. He leads the field there by 27 points. Russell finished second in the first three rounds and has four rounds left to clinch his first Championship in that series. Many of the GNCC riders also compete in the National Enduro series which holds a round in each of the next four months, concluding in October.
The Snowshoe GNCC is located in West Virginia's largest ski resort and features a live start unlike the dead start in the other GNCC rounds. Russell brings a lot of success as he took second in 2012, won in 2013 and decimated the field last year by more than three minutes. He said the hardest part of the course is the elevation with the steep up-hills and down-hills. The course is also littered with deep mud bogs and massive tree roots.
Elsewhere, Kacy Martinez is also looking for her eigth win in the Women's class. She's won four straight and leads her class by 15 points in her quest for a second straight Championship. Martinez, also a MotoSport rider, performed a similar feat as Sipes when she took Bronze in the X Games for Women's Enduro X on June 5 in Austin and won GNCC Round 8 two days later in Ohio.
Pro bikes for GNCC Round 9 start at 1 p.m. (EST) Sunday at the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, WV. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children aged 6-11.
2015 GNCC Overall National Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell (235) - MotoSport rider
- Grant Baylor (147)
- Chris Bach (126)
- Ryan Sipes (122)
- Thad DuVall (120)
- Josh Strang (118)
- Jordan Ashburn (89)
- Jason Thomas (87)
- Ricky Russell (70)
- Craig DeLong (67)