Main image by Mitch Kendra
The following press release is from GNCC Racing:
PALATKA, Fla. – The Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) concluded its second round of racing on Sunday, March 5 in Palatka, Florida with the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC at Hog Waller Campground and ATV Resort.
Getting a great jump off the line first to earn the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Open Pro Holeshot Award was Rocky Mountain/Tely Energy KTM Racing’s Ben Nelko, but as the racers made their way through the course on lap one it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig Delong emerging from the woods first. DeLong would hold the lead for the first couple of laps as FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley made his way up through the pack. Kelley would make the pass for the lead on the fourth lap, and he would continue to place a gap over the field for the final two laps of the race.
Kelley would come through to cross the line first, earning his first win since his injury last season. Coming through in second was the hard-charging Rocky Mountain/Tely Energy KTM Racing’s Steward Baylor. As the race got started Baylor would find himself at the back of the pack. As the race wore on, Baylor would continue to click off the positions and making the necessary passes to get to towards the front. DeLong would fall back to third as the checkered flag flew, rounding out the top three Wild Boar finishers.
After running in second to start the race, and briefly holding the lead on the third lap of the race, AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell would cross the line in fourth to finish out his day. Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn would put in a good ride as he rounded out the top five in the XC1 Open Pro class.
Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Grant Baylor would cross the line sixth in the XC1 class, and ninth overall on the day. After earning the holeshot award, Nelko would remain seventh in XC1 for the duration of the race. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Trevor Bollinger returned to racing after he looked to have suffered from a minor injury at round one. Bollinger would come through eighth in the XC1 class and 17th overall in the Florida heat.
Rounding out the top 10 in the XC1 Open Pro class were Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang in ninth and GASGAS/FXR/Scott Goggle’s Layne Michael in tenth. FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Jonathan Girroir was having a good race running up in the third place position at the halfway point but was ruled out after completing three laps. Unfortunately for Canada’s Tyler Medaglia and Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Thad Duvall, both would complete one lap before being forced to retire from the race.
When the XC2 250 Pro class took off it was Chris Canning earning himself the $250 Steel City Men’s Clinic XC2 250 Pro Holeshot Award. It wouldn’t take Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Ryder Lafferty long to make the pass for the lead though after a brief battle with Liqui Moly Factory Beta Racing’s Jonathan Johnson. Lafferty would lead from the second lap until the race was over, earning his second-straight win of the season. AmPro Yamaha’s Liam Draper would make his way into second with just two laps remaining after starting back in the fourth place position on the day. The defending champion, Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Lyndon Snodgrass would make his way up to round out the podium after a bad start put him back in ninth place at the beginning of the race.
As the FMF XC3 class took off it was Bells Electric/Wossner Pistons/FXR’s Toby Cleveland earning himself the $100 Lojak Cycle Sales FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am Holeshot Award. However, soon after they headed into the woods Cleveland would find himself battling with Hall’s Cycle/Enduro Engineering/Moose Racing’s Jhak Walker. As the group came through on the opening laps Walker would hold the lead, however out on lap three Cleveland would make the pass stick and continue to try and place a gap over the field. Walker would maintain his second place position until the checkered flag flew, while FXR/X Brand Goggles/6D Helmet’s Dakoda Devore crossed the line in third at the round two in Florida.
Earning himself his first Top Amateur award was 250 A competitor, Lane Whitmer. Whitmer would come through 19th overall on the day and first in the 250 A class to stand in the center of the podium for his first time in the three-hour afternoon race. Fellow 250 A competitors, Bolton Beroth and Jason Tino would round out the Top Amateur podium as the two finished 24th and 25th overall as well as second and third in the class.
In the WXC class it was Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede getting the early lead and earning herself the $100 Trail Jesters WXC Holeshot Award. Steede would continue to hold the lead in the sandy terrain as AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer and GASGAS/Over and Out /RG Factory Racing’s Rachel Gutish would make their way into second and third for the opening laps.
Steede would continue to maintain her lead for the duration of the race, crossing the line with over a minute lead on the rest of the pack. Archer would battle back and come through second overall as Gutish continued to push for that final podium position.
Coming to earn the Youth overall and YXC1 Super Mini Sr. (14-15) class was Canyon Richards. As the day started out Richards would come through behind Ryan Amancio and the two would swap the lead position throughout the race. Richards would come through to see the checkered flag first as Amancio would unfortunately fall back to tenth after a last lap crash. Making his way through in second overall was YXC2 Super Mini Jr. (12-13) competitor, Caleb Wood as well as fellow YXC2 racer Mason Raynor rounding out the youth overall top three in Florida.
Austin Tsakanikas and Brody Amos would battle back to finish second and third in the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class, with Jiggs Fustini taking third in the YXC2 class. Linkin Bischoff came through to earn the 85 Big Wheel (11-15) class win. Travis Lentz would make his way to the center of the box in the 85 (12-13) class, and Gavin Abboud took home the 85 (7-11) class win.
In the 65 (9) class Ryder White came through first earning the win, and Tripp Lewis would earn the win in the 65 (7-8) class. Addison Harris earned herself the Girls Super Mini (12-16) class win, while Bailey Walker clinched the Girls 85 (7-13) class win. It was Audrina Anello sitting atop the box in the Girls 65 (7-11) class, and Waylon Daughtry trying their hand at GNCC earning the Trail Rider (7-15) class win.
Next weekend The Specialized General will take place at Aonia Pass MX in Washington, Georgia. This will feature the first round of the 2023 Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship on Friday afternoon at 4 pm. ATV Racing will take place on Saturday with Motorcycle racing on Sunday. Camping fees apply at this venue as it is an established campground. Camping is $15 per night ($45 for Thursday arrival, $30 for Friday and $15 for Saturday). Hookup and other specialty spots are available by calling Aonia Pass MX.
Catch GNCC Pro ATV and Motorcycle Racing free via RacerTV.com all season long. Pro ATV Racing starts Saturday’s at 2pm ET, with the exception of Big Buck, Snowshoe and Ironman events where they will start at 1pm ET. GNCC Pro Motorcycle Racing will begin at 1pm ET on Sunday’s. Later in the year GNCC Racing will premiere on MAVTV with event highlight episodes.
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.