Kaliub Russell narrowly beat out teammate Charlie Mullins for the win at the Powerline GNCC in Ohio.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Kaliub Russell earned his fifth win of the season at the ITP Powerline Park GNCC, beating out fellow KTM
rider Charlie Mullins and current points leader Paul Whibley of AmPro Yamaha
, who took second and third respectively.
Temperatures were low during the event and the difficulty was compounded by scattered rain showers at the beginning of the afternoon race. Whibley came out and took the Motosport.com Holeshot Award with Russell and Mullins close behind through the first lap, but then he hit a rough patch, crashing a number of times and opening the door to the front for the KTM riders.
"I was pretty sore after the first crash and it was kind of a salvage-points kind of day from there," said Whibley. "You can win a championship on your worst days but you can't win them if you don't finish. So if you can keep those worst days to a third place like this, then it's still a good day."
Mullins and Russell built a gap on the rest of the field and exchanged the lead a number of times through the course of the three-hour race. Russell was able to take advantage of a few mistakes made by Mullins to hold the lead to the checkers.
Conditions were not easy for riders at Powerline Park. Here Charlie Mullins works through an especially tough patch.
“We are very proud of both of our riders today,” said Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager Antti Kallonen. “Mullins is still riding injured after hurting his shoulder at the ISDE and we are thrilled that he was able to give such an impressive performance today. Russell also rode strong all day and is very determined to keep his bike on the top step of the podium in the final two rounds. The points chase is very close and we expect it will come down to the wire.”
Shenandoah Honda’s Thad DuVall, winner of the previous GNCC round at Unadilla and fresh from the ISDE
competition in Germany where he represented the United States on the Junior Trophy Team, finished fourth at Powerline Park ahead of WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead. The two riders remained in close competition through the race and changed positions a number of times. DuVall ultimately gained the upper hand by a slim margin, coming in less than a second ahead of Mead.
Japan National Cross Country Series champion Takeshi Koikeda finished in sixth, followed by Garrett Edmisten and Whibley’s teammate Jordan Ashburn in seventh and eighth respectively.
Whibley remains the points leader, but only has a four point advantage over Russell. Mead sits third overall, but is 69 points off Whibley’s lead.
Powerline GNCC XC1 Pro Results 2012:
The XC1 podium with Kaliub Russell (center) in first, Charlie Mullins (left) in second and Paul Whibley (right) in third.
1. Kaliub Russell (KTM)
2. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
3. Paul Whibley (Yamaha)
4. Thad DuVall (Honda)
5. Rory Mead (KTM)
6. Takeshi Koikeda (KTM)
7. Garrett Edmisten (Kawasaki)
8. Jordan Ashburn (Yamaha)
9. Jimmy Jarrett (Honda)
10. Nathan Kanney (Honda)
11. Adrian Smith (Yamaha)
GNCC XC1 Pro Championship Points 2012:
1. Paul Whibley, 274
2. Kaliub Russell, 270
3. Rory Mead, 205
4. Thad DuVall, 186
5. Charlie Mullins, 168
6. Jordan Ashburn, 160
7. Christopher Bach, 139
8. Garrett Edmisten, 137
9. Nathan Kanney, 133
10. Takeshi Koikeda, 126
XC2 Pro Lites
The XC2 Pro Lites podium with Jason Thomas (center) in first, Aaron Plessinger (left) in second and Andrew DeLong (right) in third.
KTM’s Jason Thomas earned his second win of the season in XC2 Pro Lites and moved ahead of defending champion Steward Baylor Jr. in overall class points. Aaron Plessinger made his debut XC2 ride memorable by taking the Motosport.com Holeshot award and finishing the day in second. F.A.R. Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong took third just two seconds ahead of JG Offroad’s Scott Grills in fourth.
Thomas and Baylor got out to the front early on and were contending for the lead through much of the contest until Baylor hit a mud hole on the final lap, causing him to lose position and fall to fifth. The misfortune also allowed Thomas to move four points ahead of Baylor in points. Baylor opened the season in dominant fashion, scoring wins in the first five consecutive races, but since he’s fallen on some hard luck, taking 10th in Round 6 and missing Round 7 entirely.
Yamaha rider Jedediah Haines finished in sixth ahead of KTM riders Christopher Douglas and Zach Nolan, who took seventh and eighth respectively.
Powerline GNCC XC2 Pro Lites Results 2012:
1. Jason Thomas (KTM)
2. Aaron Plessinger (Yamaha)
3. Andrew DeLong (Husqvarna)
4. Scott Grills (Honda)
5. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
6. Jedediah Haines (Yamaha)
7. Christopher Douglas (KTM)
8. Zach Nolan (KTM)
9. AJ Stewart (Yamaha)
10. Ryan Lojak (Yamaha)
11. Brad Bakken (Yamaha)
12. Philippe Chaine (Husqvarna)
13. Brett Zofchak (KTM)
14. Michael McGinnis (KTM)
15. Damon Rummel (KTM)
GNCC XC2 Pro Lites Championship Points 2012:
1. Jason Thomas, 241
2. Steward Baylor Jr., 237
3. Andrew DeLong, 229
4. Jedediah Haines, 183
5. Brad Bakken, 156
6. Jesse Robinson, 156
7. AJ Stewart, 131
8. Zach Nolan, 107
9. Scott Grills, 105
10. Cody Gragg, 102