Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong captured his first victory of the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series on Sunday with a hard-fought performance at the John Penton GNCC.
Held at Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio, Round 7 maximized every bit of GNCC’s three-hour threshold with hot and humid temperatures topping off a grueling day in the woods. DeLong got off to a great start in the XC2 250 Pro class as he powered his way to the front early on. He immediately put on a charge to create a one-minute gap after the first lap and he extended his lead to around two minutes by the halfway point. With a comfortable lead heading into the final two laps, DeLong made the decision to pull back the reigns as he cruised into the checkers with about one-minute to spare.
“I had a good start and just rode my own race from there,” DeLong said. “I was feeling comfortable out there – I was able to push and just started pulling away. I got it up to about two minutes there and with about two laps to go, I kind of backed it down and saved myself because I didn’t want to totally collapse here at the end.”
It was a tough day for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s XC1 Open Pro roster. Team rider Thad DuVall was sidelined due to a stomach virus and Trevor Bollinger fought through a tough spell of leg cramps during the last half of the race. Bollinger got off to a ninth-place start in the class and he quickly worked his way up to seventh. However, his legs began cramping halfway through and he did his best to salvage the rest of the race, finishing eighth in the class and ninth overall for the day.
“It was a pretty tough day,” Bollinger said. “I got a pretty decent start and just went backwards and then there in the middle of the race I struggled with my legs cramping. I was able to put a good lap in at the end, finishing ninth overall. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Next Round: Mount Morris, Pennsylvania – June 6, 2021