Mullins Takes Points Lead to OhioThursday, May 30, 2013 | 10:05 AM
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - As the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series hits the halfway point, a three-way battle has ensued in the XC1 Pro class. Although Charlie Mullins holds the points lead heading into Round 7, teammate Kailub Russell and Thad DuVall are still in the hunt, as every lap of every three-hour race will count toward the ultimate National Championship.
The series heads to Millfield, Ohio this Sunday for the Wiseco John Penton GNCC held at the popular Sunday Creek Raceway. Although this is a hometown race for many riders on the circuit, it's perhaps most familiar to Factory FMF/KTM's Russell, whose family owns the facility. However, as one of the longest-running GNCC's on the schedule, the John Penton has grown to be a favorite amongst GNCC Racers alike.Factory FMF/KTM's Charlie Mullins claimed his fourth victory of the season at the last round, where he leads a stacked field of Pros into this weekend's race. The KTM teammates have managed to sweep the first two positions at every race except Round 5, where both riders experienced mechanical issues in the mud. Mullins, like Russell, is an Ohio native and both riders are sure to put on a show in front of their home state crowd.
Charlie Mullins has the points lead heading into Round 7.
Photo: Ken Hill
Reigning XC1 champion Paul Whibley has secured the last two consecutive wins at the John Penton, both of which he bested Russell in a closely contested three-hour battle. After struggling with a wrist injury the first half of the season, Whibley matched his best finish of the season last round with fourth overall. The AmPro Yamaha rider now looks to move forward with a podium finish in Ohio.Shenandoah Honda/USWE-Sports.com's Thad DuVall continues to inch his way toward the championship chase as he currently sits third overall with one victory under his belt. More importantly, DuVall has maintained a consistent string of finishes this season, landing atop the podium at the last three rounds. Although DuVall isn't from the state of Ohio, the John Penton can be considered a home race due to the close proximity to his residence in Williamstown, W. Va.
Last round, Carolina KTM/RidePG.com's Chris Bach finished outside the top five for the first time since the opening round. Like DuVall, Bach has put in several consistent rides this season, giving him a fourth place position-less than 10 points behind DuVall-in the championship standings. With continued success on the podium, Bach will be directly in the mix for the championship chase.
After much excitement on the racetrack last round, DirtWise Schools/ KTM-Parts.com/ Maxxis Jason Thomas has taken over the XC2 Pro Lites class lead for the first time this season. Although the defending XC2 champion hasn't won a race yet, Thomas is the only rider in the class to have finished inside the top ten at every round this season.
Thad DuVall has become a championship contender this season.
Photo: Ken Hill
F.A.R Husky's Andrew DeLong lost his long-time points lead after experiencing issues at the last two rounds. Despite the setback, DeLong sits in third place in the championship standings, only 10 points behind the leader. XC2 Pro Lites rookie Grant Baylor secured his first career pro class win last round, giving the 16-year-old a three-point advantage over DeLong in the overall standings.
With four different winners in the first half of the season, the XC2 competition continues to heat up this weekend. West Virginia's Zach Nolan holds one race-win, while part-time GNCC Racer Aaron Plessinger secured a win at Round 3. Additionally, DeLong holds three wins, while Grant Baylor is the most recent XC2 winner.
Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, June 1 and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, June 2. Local riders are invited to race the event as well, as GNCC racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.
Defending XC2 champion Jason Thomas heads into the weekend with the points lead.
Photo: Ken Hill
Spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateurs race at 10 a.m., and top amateurs and pros race at 1 p.m. Round 3 of UTV competition will take place Saturday at 4:30 p.m. For more information, please visit the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com.
Tune into RacerTV.com on Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern to catch GNCC LIVE coverage of the Pro ATV race from the Wiseco John Penton GNCC.
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