2019 GNCC Racing season finally gets underway with Duvall, Baylor and Strang all aiming to topple Kailub Russell.
The 45th Annual AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series finally begins this weekend, March 9/10, with the fifth annual Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC in Palatka, Florida.
After the opening round at Big Buck was postponed in February, all eyes turned to Florida and the Wild Boar GNCC as the new beginning for the 2019 season.
Who can stop Russell taking seventh title?
FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell is looking to continue his success in the Floriday sand. After earning his sixth-straight GNCC National Championship last season he surely remains the rider to beat for all competitors.
Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall #989 is always a rider in contention and ran Russell to some epic close finishes last season.
Duvall has finished in the runner-up position behind Russell for two seasons and will surely look to take home his first-career GNCC National Championship in 2019.
Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. rounded out the top three overall last year, earning himself a victory at the season finale in Indiana. S. Baylor comes into the season looking to pick up where he left the battle last season.
Kicking off the new season for 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 standings. New season, new team and Bollinger will look for his first-career XC1 Open Pro victory.
Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki team return to GNCC this season with former champion, Josh Strang and Jordan Ashburn on the Team Green machines. Both riders have successful histories on Kawasaki’s and enter the 2019 season with renewed enthusiasm.
Making his XC1 Open Pro debut this Sunday Kailub Russell’s team-mate, Josh Toth. In 2017, Toth earned the XC2 250 Pro class championship and finished runner-up in 2018. Toth makes the move to the premier class on the back of an overall podium at the final round of 2018.
Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Grant Baylor finished ninth overall in 2018 but suffered with injuries and will hope to bring more to the table in 2019. Grant underwent shoulder surgery during the off-season but heads into round one ready to battle at the front of the XC1 Open Pro pack.
Ricky Russell is one rider absent from the opening round after breaking his leg practising last weekend.
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.
XC 250 Pro class
Defending XC2 250 Pro class champion, Ben Kelley is ready to get the season rolling with his number one plate up front of his Trail Jesters KTM. Kelley earned two overall podium finishes last year along with six XC2 class wins and begins as favourite.
Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Craig Delong finished out the 2018 season third but will hope to come out one better beginning this Sunday. Phoenix Honda Racing’s Austin Lee is also eager to get the season underway after finishing fourth in the points last year.
Wild Boar 2019 venue plan:
On Sunday, March 10, youth racing starts at 8am, women and amateur riders at 10am and the Pros and top amateurs from 1pm.
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.
Saturday's 2pm pro ATV race and Sunday's 1pm Pro bike race are broadcast LIVE on Racer TV.
More information: GNCC.com
Photo credit: Ken Hill, Simon Cudby, Darrin Chapman Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org