Kailub Russell Set to Battle Thad Duvall, Steward Baylor and More This Sunday

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 6, 2019) – The 45th Annual AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, starts this weekend, March 9 and 10, with the 5th Annual Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC in Palatka, Florida. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell is looking to continue his success after earning his sixth-straight GNCC National Championship last season.

Another rider to keep an eye on will be the #989 Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall. For the past two seasons Duvall has finished in the runner-up position behind K. Russell, but this year he is looking to take home his first-career GNCC National Championship.

Kailub Russell will be looking to fight for his seventh GNCC National Championship this season.
Kailub Russell will be looking to fight for his seventh GNCC National Championship this season.– Ken Hill

Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. rounded out the top three overall last year, even earning himself a victory at the season finale in Indiana. S. Baylor comes into the season looking to pick up where he left one and battle at the front of the pack for the first win of 2019.

Kicking off the new season on a new team is Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Trevor Bollinger. Last season Bollinger found himself on the overall podium at three different rounds, placing fourth overall in the points standings. This season Bollinger is aiming to push himself even further, and hopefully get his first-career XC1 Open Pro victory.

Thad Duvall is ready to battle for the GNCC National Championship.
Thad Duvall is ready to battle for the GNCC National Championship.– Simon Cudby

Making their return to the off-road racing circuit will be the Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki team. The team will consist of 2010 GNCC National Champion Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn. Both of these riders have had successful past on Kawasaki’s, which could be beneficial for both riders in the upcoming season.

Making his XC1 Open Pro debut this Sunday, March 10 will be FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Josh Toth. In 2017, Toth earned the XC2 250 Pro class championship and would finish in the runner-up position last season. After earning second overall at the season finale last season Toth makes the move to the premier class, where he is looking to fight for his first overall win this season. 

Josh Strang returns on the Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki team for 2019.
Josh Strang returns on the Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki team for 2019.– Darrin Chapman

News broke today that AmPro Yamaha/Moose Racing/Parts Unlimited-backed racer, Ricky Russell will not be lining up for the season opener in Florida. R. Russell was practicing over the weekend when he sustained a broken fibula. AmPro Yamaha is working to release more news before this weekend’s Wild Boar GNCC. 

Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Grant Baylor comes into the season after finishing ninth overall in 2018. G. Baylor underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season, and is now looking to head into round one ready to battle at the front of the XC1 Open Pro pack. 

Other riders looking for a strong start to the 2019 season are FXR/Husqvarna/SRT’s Layne Michael, Husqvarna/Kenda/Bell/FXR’s Cory Buttrick, Phoenix Honda Racing’s Andrew Delong and Solid Performance KTM/Fly Racing’s Jesse Groemm. 

Trevor Bollinger will be sporting a new look this season aboard the Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing team.
Trevor Bollinger will be sporting a new look this season aboard the Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing team.– Simon Cudby

Trail Jesters KTM-backed racer and defending XC2 250 Pro class champion, Ben Kelley  is ready to get the season rolling with his newly earned number one plate. Kelley earned two overall podium finishes last year along with six XC2 class wins. 

Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Craig Delong finished out the season third last year, but is hoping to come out with a round one win this Sunday afternoon. Phoenix Honda Racing’s Austin Lee is eager to get the season underway after finishing fourth in the points standings last year. Lee is hoping to battle for an XC2 250 Pro class win, and contest for the title.

On Sunday, March 10, the motorcycles will take to the woods of Florida following the same race schedule of youth racing action starting the day off at 8 a.m., women and amateur riders at 10 a.m. and the pros and top amateurs will start at 1 p.m.  

Spectator passes run $20 for adults and $10 for children (6-11), and kids five and under are free for the full weekend (Saturday through Sunday), with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. 

Steward Baylor is excited to get the season started this weekend in Florida.
Steward Baylor is excited to get the season started this weekend in Florida.– Ken Hill

Saturday’s 2 p.m. pro ATV race as well as Sunday’s 1 p.m. pro bike race will be broadcasted LIVE on the internet via Racer TV on www.racertv.com. A highlight showfeaturing the event will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday, June 1 at 12:00 p.m. EST. 

For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

About GNCC Racing

The AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized is America’s premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 2,400 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks, and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Central America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised weekly on NBC Sports and RacerTV.com. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

About eMTB Racing

The Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship brings off-road racing and pedal-assist or electric bicycles together for an eight-round championship produced by Racer Productions. Much like a typical cross-country racing event, these races feature varied terrain featuring hills, rocks, roots, and more but are limited to electric, or pedal assist model mountain bikes only. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

How to Watch

Racer TV and NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) are the official homes for coverage of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. All 13 rounds, from the season opening Big Buck GNCC in South Carolina to the finale at Ironman Raceway in Indiana, will air in 30-minute, taped-delayed telecasts on NBCSN, while Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 1 p.m. ATV and motorcycle races from each event. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.racertv.com/.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.