The 2012 GNCC race season is going to go down in the history books as one to remember! As round 12 of the series concluded this past weekend in Crawfordsville, IN the racers only have one more round left in the series and the two most prestigious classes, XC1 Pro and XC2 Pro Lites are far from being deciding who will walk away with the Championship! In each of those classes, 1st and 2nd place are only separated by one point! You couldn’t ask for better racing than what we have seen this season!
The week leading up to the Ironman GNCC the area had gotten a good amount of rain that left the uphills being technical and the mud holes being tricky. From the looks of the trail itself, it looked pretty good and tacky, but a mistake on an uphill or bad choice in a mud hole could cost you valuable time this weekend.
Going into this round of the series the XC1 Pro Championship points were close. Paul Whibley had 274 points and Kailub Russell with 270. Both racers knew that they needed a solid finish this weekend to continue the chase for the Championship. Paul Whibley started the race just the way he wanted and grab the holeshot. By the end of Lap 1, Russell had moved in to the 2nd place position and Whibley into 4th but only separated my mere seconds! Unfortunately on Lap 2 Russell seemed to have had some problems and fell back to 7th place while Whibley stayed up front and charged pulling a gap. Mullins, Whibley and Duvall spent most of the day charging hard, staying within seconds of each other and giving the spectators just what they came to see, good off-road racing! Russell was consistent throughout the day and while the top 3 racers were charging he was playing catch-up from a mistake on Lap 2 slowly moving his way up to 4th place by the last lap. But that consistency paid off for Russell in the end and some bad luck for Whibley—running out of fuel on the last lap–cost him a couple of positions. So at the end of the day, Charlie Mullins pulled off the win making that his first for the 2012 season, while Thad Duvall got 2nd place and Kailub Russell got 3rd. Rounding out the Top 5 for the XC Pro class was Chris Bach and Paul Whibley. Going into the final round of the series Kailub Russell leads Paul Whibley by 1 only point!
The XC2 Pro Lites class came into the Ironman with the same scenario as the XC1 Pro class. UK Jason Thomas had 241 points and Steward Baylor had 237 points. Both racers came to this race with one thing on their minds and that was to win! For three hours these two racers went back and forth between 1st and 2nd place creating an interesting and exciting race for all to witness. At one point throughout the race, Baylor was 1st overall in and Thomas was 2nd overall on adjusted time! This shows just how hard these two guys were pushing each other. Both riders rode a phenomenal race and proved why each of them deserves this championship. In the end, Baylor was able to cross the finish line in 1st but only by 6 seconds over Thomas, while 3rd place went to Andrew Delong. Rounding out the top-5 was Scott Grills and Shane Hufford. Going into the final round of the series Steward Baylord leads Jason Thomas by only 1 point!
Loretta Lynn’s will host the final round of the series on November 3rd. There are 4 racers and 2 Championships to be decided. Who is going to win? It all comes down to just this one race. Determination to succeed and dedication to fulfill their 2012 goals and focusing on what they are there to accomplish. Not only to win a race, but to win a championship! These boys are going to give it everything they have and everything they have worked all year for. You’re not going to want to miss out on this event. It is sure to be the most exciting race of the year!
Points Standings with 1 Round Remaining
|XC Pro Class||XC2 Pro Lites|
|Kailub Russell-291||Steward Baylor-267|
|Paul Whibley-290||Jason Thomas-266|
|Rory Mead-219||Andrew Delong-250|
|Thad Duvall-211||Jedediah Haines-196|
|Charlie Mullins-198||Brad Bakken-159|