HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. – The 2019 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series returned from summer break on Sunday for Round 10 of the 13-race series, where KTM riders Kailub Russell and Ben Kelley swept the premier XC1 and XC2 divisions and both achieved career-milestones at the Black Sky GNCC. Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Kelley clinched a back-to-back XC2 250 Pro Championship with his 10th consecutive win of the season, while his FMF KTM Factory Racing teammate Russell fought hard to claim his 60th career victory in the series as he continues to vie for a seventh-straight XC1 title.
Russell: “I’m happy to get the win today, especially up north because I don’t ever come up here and ride this kind of terrain – it’s tough, challenging and hard on your body. It’s also hard to be in a league of your own at a track like this, it’s really easy to make mistakes and you have to be really cautious. Ricky was riding really well today, I never could get away from him but I was riding pretty good and just trying to hit everything clean and it all worked out.”
In the XC1 class, Russell grabbed a top-five start and slowly worked his way into the lead by the end of the first hour. With intense pressure from Ricky Russell in the second-place position, Kailub led for the next two laps before experiencing a pretty big crash around the halfway point. He lost the lead and dropped about 15 seconds back to second, before clawing his way back into the lead with three laps to go. With Ricky close behind, Kailub had another small tip-over toward the end of the race and from there, it was a head-to-head battle all the way to the checkers with Kailub taking his 60th career-win by just under two seconds.
XC2 250 Pro
It was another outstanding day for Ben Kelley, who remains undefeated in the highly competitive XC2 class after 10 rounds of racing. Kelley positioned himself into second on the opening lap of Sunday’s race and he quickly powered his way into the lead by lap two. From there, he continued to extend his lead in the class to ultimately claim victory by over three-minutes. The young Connecticut native has proven his merit amongst the XC1 ranks throughout the season, where he currently sits fourth overall in the combined standings with three rounds remaining.
Kelley: “I’m stoked to get another championship and to back up my performance from last year. It wasn’t easy – I’ve won all the races this year but I worked just as hard and feel like I’ve been riding even better than last year. Today was good, I felt like I was riding really good from the beginning and I just tried to stay smooth and keep pushing the entire time.”Antti Kallonen: “Big congrats are in place for Ben and the Trail Jesters KTM Racing Team. Ben has been having an amazing season in the XC2 class and his 10-race win streak is absolutely stunning results. It is great to see not only Ben backing his championship but working even harder to elevate himself as a rider that competes for the overall top positions all season long.”FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am
Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Jesse Ansley returned to the center of the podium in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am division after leading all eight laps of Sunday’s race. After 10 rounds, Ansley holds a 16-point lead in the class with five wins behind him.
Next Race: Mount Morris, Pennsylvania – September 29, 2019