It's been done before but not in a while.
Josh Strang opened the 2010 Grand National Cross Country Championship with four straight wins before ultimately winning the title and now Kailub Russell has a chance to duplicate that effort on Sunday at Big Buck Farm in South Carolina.
Coincidentally, Russell's primary competition in the XC1 Pro class for the 2015 GNCC season is Strang who has started the year with three straight second-place finishes but it's not like they're battling right up to the finish line. So far, Russell's wins have more or less been uncontested.
In Round 1, Strang was two and half minutes behind Russell when the checkers dropped. A crash on the opening lap of Round 2 didn't hold the two-time defending champ back as he muscled through a mud hole that everyone else went around which returned him near the front and he went on to win by more than two minutes. In Round 3, again another two and half minute spread when Russell crossed the finish.
It could very well be more of the same as Russell won at Big Buck last year but in addition to other riders very hungry for wins, everyone might have to deal with weather conditions. The forecast calls for scattered thunder showers Thursday and Friday with a slight chance of rain throughout the weekend.
"(Rain) will make this track really slick and tough to find traction," said Russell who is a MotoSport rider. "Most of the time it's a pretty fast track the flows well and has a few different creek jumps and short steep climbs."
Russell said he likes the track and he's well familiar with it thanks to racing on it for other events besides the GNCC.
"The key to winning is just try and get out front and get away from everyone on the first lap like I have been doing, so those guys can't key off of my pace," he said.
Can Kailub Russell stand center podium again this weekend? - All Photos: Ken HillA win for Russell moves him into third-place on the overall wins list with 26. He's currently tied with Fred Andrews. But he'll have to win two-more to tie Juha Salminen's opening salvo who started the 2006 GNCC season with six straight wins en route to a dominating Championship run.
Other MotoSport riders racing this weekend include Kacy Martinez who will also try to get four straight in the Women's class. Last year, Martinez won three straight before taking second at Big Buck and then went on a tear winning six straight in her dominating 2014 Championship run. Jessica Patterson, who won at Big Buck last year, has two runner-up results to Martinez this year.
Brad Bakken who competes in the XC2 Pro Lites class has started the year with three-straight Top 10 finishes and three Top 20 overalls. The XC1 and XC2 classes compete together for the same National Championship.
GNCC Round 4 gets underway at 1 p.m. (EST) Sunday at Big Buck Farm in Union, SC.
2015 GNCC Overall National Championship Standings
- Kailub Russell (90) - MotoSport rider
- Josh Strang (75)
- Thad DuVall (60)
- Grant Baylor (44)
- Jordan Ashburn (44)
- Jason Thomas (38)
- Chris Bach (37)
- Nick Davis (28)
- Tyler Medaglia (26)
- Craig DeLong (25)