With five of 13 rounds completed as of April 23, Dunlop riders were firmly out in front in the 2017 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) off-road racing season. Once again.
After two events in South Carolina, and an event each in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, KTM’s Kailub Russell held a commanding 27-point lead in the premier XC1 Pro class with four wins and a second-place finish. Second in points was fellow KTM rider Steward Baylor, Jr. with one win and all the rest podiums. And following up in third in the title chase was Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall with a blistering string of four podiums to recover from a disappointing 16th in the first race. It’s high time for the competition to get focused though, because as a four-time GNCC XC1 Pro champion, Russell’s results so far spell trouble for the rest of the field heading into summer.
Turning to the XC2 250 Pro class for 16- to 24-year-olds, Yamaha-mounted Joshua Toth had a hammerlock on over 30 other competitors with a perfect record of five wins in five starts. After finishing fourth in the 2016 series, his ferocious start to the 2017 season shows just how serious Toth is about taking the crown this year. Second in the standings through late April was Craig Delong with four podiums and one top-six finish aboard his Husqvarna. Although Delong trails Toth by a wide 39-point margin with eight rounds left to go, his consistency has at least given him some breathing room over third-place KTM’s Michael Witkowski and his two podium and three top-six finishes.
What’s Coming Up
Next, the popular off-road series moves northward to Peru, Indiana on May 20-21 before swinging over to Ohio, up to New York and down to West Virginia and back around again. In fact, the remaining eight events will be run exclusively in these four states, giving regional fans multiple chances to witness this spectacular and highly physical form of racing. However due to the heat and humidity in mid-summer, after the June 24-25 round in Snowshoe, West Virginia, the series will break in July and August, resuming at New York’s famed Unadilla on September 9-10.
Like much of the field, points XC1 Pro points leader Russell’s KTM and XC2 250 Pro points leader Toth’s Yamaha are both outfitted with Dunlop Geomax tires. As a feature sponsor of the series, Dunlop attends each and every GNCC event to support racers in 52 separate motorcycle classes, as well as to meet and greet race fans, Dunlop dealers and their customers. We hope to see you there!