The Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, continued Sunday, September 13, as the motorcycles took to the woods of West Virginia. Round 9, the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mountaineer, took place at Summit Bechtel Reserve in Beckley, WV.
After spending the hot summer months on break, the 2020 Grand National Cross Country Series is set to push through the remaining rounds of the tour, starting with the 2020 Mountaineer GNCC. It’s been two months since the last time riders ripped through the woods but with only five rounds left on the calendar (four confirmed and one TBA), everyone knows that they need to stack results and move up the championship standings.
Making his return to racing aboard a new brand for the event was Steward Baylor Jr., who was allowed to race an AmPro Yamaha practice bike for the weekend. As the lead pack of racers came through timing and scoring on lap one, Baylor found himself sitting 5.5 seconds behind Kelley. Throughout the course of lap two, Kelley and Baylor would engage in a battle with Baylor taking over the top spot as they came through just 1.9 seconds apart. Russell had made his way into the number three spot, but found himself 53 second behind the lead duo.
As the race wore on Baylor Jr. would put his head down and push to put a sizeable gap between himself and Kelley. With the fans cheering him on throughout all six laps, Baylor Jr. would come through to take his first overall win of the season with over a minute lead. Kelley, who tangled with some lappers, would manage to hold onto second overall with Russell rounding out the top three overall at this year’s Mountaineer GNCC.
FactoryONE Sherco’s Grant Baylor steadily moved up through the pack after a seventh place start to the day. Baylor found himself running in the third place position at the halfway point in the race, but would be unable to hold off a charging Russell. As the checkered flag flew Baylor would check-in with a fourth overall on the day.
In the XC2 250 Pro class it was Trail Jesters KTM’s Jonathan Girroir taking his fourth class win of the season. Girroir was off to a great start and would come through on the opening lap in the first place position. Girroir would find himself up into the third overall position based off of his adjusted time. However, as the race worse on Girroir found a good flow and did not want to make a mistake to jeopardize his XC2 class win. Girroir would come through to take the win with a 13 second gap back to second place.
Tely Energy Racing/KTM’s Liam Draper made his way onto the XC2 class podium with a second place finish in West Virginia. Draper had started off his day running in the fourth place position, but would steadily work his way through the pack. When the white flag came out, Draper would make a last lap charge to ensure his second place finish.
AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer battled throughout the 10 a.m. race to take her second WXC class win of the season. Archer made her way into the lead position early in the race, but would face a battle with Beta USA’s Rachel Gutish on the second lap of racing. Gutish, who grabbed the $100 Trail Jesters WXC Holeshot award, was eager to battle at the front of the pack. Archer would make the pass back around Gutish to retake the lead as the white flag came out. When the checkered flag flew after four laps of racing, Archer would cross the finish line a minute ahead of her competition. Gutish would come through to hold onto second place at round nine. BABS Racing Yamaha/Maxxis’ Becca Sheets maintained her third place position throughout the duration of the two-hour race. Sheets remains in the WXC points lead after nine rounds of racing are complete.
Overall XC1/Pro Open championship standings after round nine:
- Kailub Russell (256)
- Josh Strang (193)
- Jordan Ashburn (143)
- Craig DeLong (133)
- Michael Witkowski (123)
- Jonathan Girroir (121)
- Grant Baylor (103)
- Cody Barnes (91)
- Liam Draper (83)
- Benjamin Kelley (82)
XC2 250 Pro Series Standings:
- Craig DeLong (224)
- Jonathan Girroir (224)
- Michael Witkowski (209)
- Cody Barnes (154)
- Liam Draper (143)
- Thorn Devlin (121)
- Ryder Lafferty (105)
- Jonathan Johnson (101)
- Benjamin Nelko (82)
- Simon Johnson (79)
Next Race: Round 10 – Burr Oak GNCC – September 27, 2020
More information: GNCCRacing.com