The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team made its way to Society Hill, South Carolina on Sunday for Round 4 of the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series. Despite difficult conditions, Craig DeLong battled his way to a fourth-consecutive podium finish in the XC2 250 Pro Class with a solid third-place at the Camp Coker Bullet GNCC.
South Carolina delivered hot and humid conditions for the first time this season, giving an added element to the already treacherous three-hour GNCC battle. And with rainfall coming down halfway through the race, track conditions quickly made a jump from rough and dry to slick and wet forcing riders to go into survival mode. In the XC2 250 Pro Class, DeLong got off to a sixth-place start and he patiently settled into the first hour of racing before charging his way up to fourth on lap three. The reigning champion continued to gain momentum as he overtook third mid-way through the race, setting his sights on catching the lead battle ahead. As the rain began to fall later in the race, DeLong struggled to break down the gap to the leaders and from there he brought it home safe for a solid third-place podium finish.
“It was a tough day,” DeLong said. “The track was physically demanding and then the rain came and it got rutty, muddy and even tougher. I made a good run there in the middle and I got kind of close to the leaders but once the rain came, I kind of struggled with the mud. The bike has been getting better and there’s improvements being made, so that’s a positive. We’ll go back over these next three weeks and try to regroup and come out better.”
In the XC1 Open Pro Class, team rider Trevor Bollinger lined up for his second race of the 2021 season in South Carolina. Bollinger got off to a ninth-place start and he battled in ninth for the first three laps. He passed into eighth on lap four and diced back-and-forth for the next couple laps before putting on a late-race charge. As the two-lap card fell, Bollinger positioned himself into seventh and he held strong in the final laps to secure seventh in the class and 12th overall for the day.
“It’s my second race back in a little over a year and a half so I’m still just trying to get my feet wet and build on where we started in Georgia,” Bollinger said. “I started a little slow in the beginning but towards the end I was able to pick some guys off and end up seventh in the class. Not a bad day considering where we were two weeks ago. I’m looking forward to the next one and getting back to where I belong in the front.”
Team rider Thad DuVall sat out once again as he continues to recover from multiple injuries sustained in a big crash at the opening round of the U.S. Sprint Enduro Championship. DuVall plans to return to racing as soon as he can.
Next Round: Union, South Carolina – April 18, 2021 Camp Coker Bullet Results
XC2 250 Pro Class
1. Jonathan Girroir (GAS)2. Lyndon Snodgrass (KAW)3. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)2. Josh Strang (KAW)3. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)…7. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
2021 Championship Standings – After Round 4 of 13
XC2 250 Pro Class Championship Standings
1. Jonathan Girroir – 105 points2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Team – 92 points3. Mike Witkowski – 77 points