MotoSport rider Kailub Russell wasted little time in jumping back into championship contention with a win on Sunday at Aonia Pass MX Park in Washington, GA for Round 2 in the Grand National Cross Country Series.

The defending champion took ninth-place last week for Ruond 1 and 14th overall after a Lap 1 crash and mechanical problems kept him off the podium. Round 2 didn't start off so well either for Russell when his bike failed to fire and left him last off the start line. However, by the end of Lap 1 Russell moved his way into the Top 5.

"It rained all night and part of the day leading into the race leaving the track pretty treacherous," he said. "As the race wore on I just kept riding consistent laps picking my way through all the mud holes and was able to come away with the win."

Prior to the start, the GNCC Course Marshalls shortened the race time to a minimum of two hours because of the heavy rainfall throughout the day. Russell finished the usually three-hour GNCC race in 2:17:54.

Photos by Ken Hill

Russell said he was hoping for rain because he wanted a mud race. He saved his best lap for last and passed XC2 Pro Lites defending champion Grant Baylor in the final moments. Jordan Ashburn took third. Russell's teammate and Round 1 winner Charlie Mullins finished in sixth-place.

"I put myself into these positions where I have to win and I just have to dig deep and keep plugging away to get that points lead," Russell said.

Russell leaped from 14th in the Overall National Championship standings to third place just eight points behind Mullins who retained the top spot. Former Supercross/Motocross stand out Ryan Sipes finished in eighth for the second round in a row. Sipes finished 14th overall and is in 15th place for the National Championship standings.

GNCC takes a week off before resuming with Round 3 March 29-30 at Steele Creek Campground, 7081 NC Hwy 191 in Morganton, NC.

GNCC XC1 Pro Results

  1. Kailub Russell - MotoSport rider
  2. Jordan Ashburn
  3. Paul Whibley
  4. Josh Strang
  5. Charlie Mullins
  6. Steward Baylor
  7. Chris Bach
  8. Ryan Sipes
  9. Takeshi Koikeda
  10. Adam Bonneur

Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Charlie Mullins (45)
  2. Paul Whibley (43)
  3. Kailub Russell (37) - MotoSport rider
  4. Josh Strang (37)
  5. Jordan Ashburn (35)
  6. Steward Baylor (28)
  7. Grant Baylor (28)
  8. Rory Mead (27)
  9. Ricky Russell (22)
  10. Trevor Bollinger (21)