Kenda riders Whibley and Strang finish soild 2-3 in GNCC Season opener.

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Less than thirty minutes away from the Daytona Bike Week festivities, the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series kicked off its 13-round series with the inaugural running of the Moose Racing Mud Mucker GNCC

 

Kenda riders Whibley and Strang finish soild 2-3 in GNCC Season opener.

XC1 Pro Podium: (left) Paul Whibley, Charlie Mullins, (right) Josh Strang


Sunday’s Mud Mucker GNCC was one of the most highly anticipated season openers in recent history. Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/AmPro Yamaha’s Josh Strang shot out to grab the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, with AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley and Rockstar Energy/WMR/KTM’s Ryan Sipes close behind. Incredibly, the riders who dominated last year’s championship, the Factory/FMF/KTM duo of Mullins and defending GNCC National Champion Kailub Russell, were down in a heap in turn one, complete with bent bars and parts sent flying everywhere. XC1 Pro Class contenders Steward Baylor and Andrew Delong were down as well, setting up drama-filled charges through the pack.

Mullins wouldn’t be denied, however. The 2011 GNCC champ quickly made his way from nearly last into the lead position by the second lap. From there, Mullins engaged in a heated battle with Whibley that lasted for nearly an hour, with Whibley, the two-time champion from New Zealand, getting the lead back. Down the stretch, Mullins made the right moves to get away, completing an impressive charge from down on the ground to the center of Victory Lane. Mullins also claimed an extra $150 by laying down the KR4 Performance Fastest Lap Award on Lap 2.


Josh Strang Captured the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award


Whibley, who spent much of last year battling an injury, was happy to start the year with a solid second place finish. A furious battled for third emerged between Strang and RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Thad DuVall. They battled down to the final field section, with Strang grabbing the final podium position by less than one second.

DeLong and Baylor also put in strong comebacks to capture fifth and sixth overall. Whibley’s N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha teammate Jordan Ashburn was seventh, with Sipes, in his full-season GNCC debut, showing impressive speed and strength to score eighth place in the class. As for Russell, he, like Mullins, worked his way all the way back to the lead pack, but ran into mechanical problems on the muddy course. Fighting through the adversity and nursing it home for points, he salvaged fourteenth overall. Former Japan National Cross Country Series Champion and Pro Motocross/Supercross rider Takeshi Koikeda rounded out the XC1 top ten.


Paul Whibley finished a strong second place overall


About GNCC Racing

The AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,500 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised weekly on NBC Sports and RacerTV.com. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.