"This has been a very up and down season for me, and even though it is the end of the season, it is great to have the bike working well and for everything to be clicking just right," said Ironman GNCC XC1 Pro winner Charlie Mullins.
Factory FMF/KTM’s Charlie Mullins took his first Can-Am Grand National Cross Country win of the season at the Amsoil Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The KTM
rider beat out Shenandoah Honda’s Thad Duvall by 28 seconds while Mullins’ teammate and current GNCC points leader Kaliub Russell rounded out the podium after battling back from a number of early complications.
Mullins had to work for the front through the opening lap of the three-plus hour contest since it was DuVall and AmPro Yamaha
’s Paul Whibley who came off the start contending for the lead. Whibley earned the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award and led for a period though Lap 1, but DuVall was never far behind and he eventually found a line to the front. During the second lap, Mullins took over the lead, but had DuVall and Whibley challenging close behind and the three riders pushed each other to the limit, building a gap on the rest of the field as they battled for the top spot.
“It was awesome to get a win! The track was really tough and it took a lot of energy to ride, so I was happy to see the checkers,” Mullins said. “I don’t know if I’ll make Loretta’s depending on my little boy and when he gets here, but at least I got a win this season. It feels really good.”
DuVall was running in third behind Whibley as the riders entered the final lap, but disaster struck as Whibley ran out of fuel before he could make it to the checkers. He took fuel from another rider and crossed the finish in fourth, but later received a penalty of 15 seconds and one finishing position for not returning to the pit for assistance. The incident marks Whibley’s worst showing of the GNCC
season so far and dropped him one point behind Russell in the overall points tally.
Kaliub Russell battled back after some early difficulties to finish in third and take the overall points lead.
Russell faced his fair share of difficulties as well, coming off the start in last and crashing early on. During Lap 2, the KTM rider crashed a few more times and was running in eighth position, but was able to retain his composure and battle through the pack. Whibley’s late race incident allowed Russell to reach podium position before the checkers and give him a slight points advantage as riders prepare for the final round at Loretta Lynn’s.
“I was last coming off the line and ran into Jordan Ashburn and crashed in the third turn,” said Russell. “I stopped in the woods to straighten my bars on the first lap and after that I decided to ride like a novice the rest of the day. I just kept plugging away and got on the podium, which I’m happy about.”
Whibley’s penalty was advantageous for Obermeyer Yamaha’s Chris Bach, who finished the contest behind Whibley but who was awarded fourth in the final count. Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn took sixth and was followed by WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead in seventh. Takeshi Koikeda took eighth-place while New Zealand’s Adrian Smith and JG Offroad Honda’s Jimmy Jarrett finished ninth and 10th respectively.
Russell now sits at 291 points overall in the XC1 Pro class with Whibley in second with 290. Mead is third in the standings, 71 behind the Yamaha rider and DuVall is an additional eight points back in fourth. Mullins currently rounds out the top five heading into the final round and Ashburn sits sixth.
Ironman GNCC Results 2012:
XC1 Pro podium with Charlie Mullins (center) in first, Thad DuVall (left) in second and Kaliub Russell (right) in third.
1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)
2. Thad DuVall (Honda)
3. Kaliub Russell (KTM0
4. Chis Bach (Yamaha)
5. Paul Whibley (Yamaha)
6. Jordan Ashburn (Yamaha)
7. Rory Mead (KTM)
8. Takeshi Koikeda (KTM)
9. Adrian Smith (Yamaha)
10. Jimmy Jarrett (Honda)
11. Nathan Kanney (Honda)
12. Brenden Ritzman (Honda)
13. Garrett Edmisten (Kawasaki)
GNCC XC1 Pro Championship Points 2012:
1. Kaliub Russell, 291
2. Paul Whibley, 290
3. Rory Mead, 219
4. Thad DuVall, 211
5. Charlie Mullins, 198
6. Jordan Ashburn, 175
7. Chris Bach, 157
8. Garrett Edmisten, 145
9. Nathan Kanney, 143
10. Takeshi Koikeda, 139
XC2 Pro Lites
Steward Baylor Jr. took the overall points lead after winning the XC2 Pro Lites division in the Ironman GNCC.
KTM’s Steward Baylor Jr. took the win in XC2 Pro Lites action at the Ironman GNCC, beating out KR4 Performance’s Jason Thomas by six seconds after a heated battle for the win. F.A.R.Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong rounded out the podium, coming in an additional five minutes behind the front-runners.
Baylor hadn’t won since Round 5 and had to fight with Thomas nearly the entire race as the two traded the lead a number of times before the checkers. One point now separates the two riders at the top of the overall points list as they prepare for the final round at Loretta Lynn’s.
JG Offroad Honda’s Scott Grills finished in fourth, followed by Husaberg rider Shane Hufford Jr. in fifth. Husqvarna rider Nick Davis took sixth with Yamaha’s AJ Stewart trailing in seventh.
DeLong is third in overall points behind Baylor and Thomas, with Yamaha rider Jedediah Haines holding to fourth and Brad Bakken rounding out the top-five.
Ironman GNCC XC2 Pro Lites Results 2012:
Ironman GNCC XC2 Pro Lites podium with Steward Baylor Jr. (center) in first, Jason Thomas (left) in second and Andrew DeLong (right) in third.
1. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)
2. Jason Thomas (KTM)
3. Andrew DeLong (Husqvarna)
4. Scott Grills (Honda)
5. Shane Hufford Jr. (Husaberg)
6. Nick Davis (Husqvarna)
7. AJ Stewart (Yamaha)
8. Jedediah Haines (Yamaha)
9. Chris Douglas (KTM)
10. Nathan Ferderer (Husqvarna)
11. Morgan Moss (Yamaha)
12. Michael McGinnis (KTM)
13. Lucas Statom (Yamaha)
14. Larry Silvia (KTM)
15. Brandon Houts (Yamaha)
GNCC XC2 Pro Lites Championship Points 2012:
1. Steward Baylor Jr., 267
2. Jason Thomas, 266
3. Andrew DeLong, 250
4. Jedediah Haines, 196
5. Brad Bakken, 159
6. Jesse Robinson, 156
7. AJ Stewart, 145
8. Scott Grills, 123
9. Michael McGinnis, 110
10. Zach Nolan, 107