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KAWASAKI FLOODS THE PODIUM

Just a few days ago, the storyline for the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series was defined by a penalty handed out at the next-to-last round. A winner-take-all championship scenario between FMF KTM’s Ben Kelley and AmPro Yamaha’s Steward Baylor was spoiled via a four-point penalty for Baylor. Now Kelley had enough points to grab the title as long as he finished second if Baylor won the finale. This of course led to plenty of conjecture, drama, and controversy. But in the end, those few points didn’t matter at all. Mother Nature wreacked havoc on the final race, Sunday’s Yamaha Ironman GNCC, and everything turned crazy. As the riders sat on the starting line over a saturated race track, with rain still coming down, the scenario changed from “If Baylor wins can Kelley finish second” to “Can either rider even finish?”

Josh Strang NABS HIS FIRST GNCC WIN OF 2021

Steward Baylor’s four-race win streak in the Grand National Cross Country Series is over, as is Josh Strang’s recent run of bad luck. Somewhere in the middle sits the ever-consistent Ben Kelley, who continues to lead the standings.

Strang took his Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green machine to the win after a hard-fought battle with Kelley that came down to the last lap. Kelley led as the white flag came out, but Strang made the move and they both pushed to the verge of exhaustion at the finish, with Strang emerging with the win by just six seconds. It was a hot and humid day and after three hours of racing, the leaders were spent.

“Oh man, it’s round seven now and I feel like I was capable of getting a win at the first round,” said Strang on RacerTV.com. “So to take seven races, I’m bummed out to say the least. The last two races haven’t been all that good for me, so to get a win today, I was pumped.

MAKE IT FOUR-STRAIGHT IN GNCC FOR STEWARD BAYLOR

Stu Baylor’s comeback attempt in the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series continues, now featuring four-straight wins. That’s just in GNCC, also, because Stu has spent his other weekend’s winning in AMA National Enduro and the U.S. Sprint Enduro Series. Baylor started the GNCC season in a huge hole after missing round one with injury, and struggling at round two with a clutch problem. It’s been all wins since, and after his fourth-straight over the weekend in Indiana, he knows the score.

“Five points,” he said, accurately calculating his deficit to series’ leader Ben Kelley.

On this day, Baylor’s stiffest competition down the stretch came from Kelley himself. After Baylor and his AmPro Yamaha teammate Layne Michael got out front early, Kelley put in a charge to get to second and bid for the win. Baylor had enough to hold him off.

BAYLOR TRAIN KEEPS ON ROLLING

Round five of the 2021 GNCC Racing season would see a return to Union, South Carolina’s Big Buck Farm for the Tiger Run GNCC. The Big Buck Farm hosted the season opening Big Buck GNCC back in February and for the first time ever would host two GNCC events in a single season. While the course and conditions were different from the opening round, the last name of the rider taking the overall win at the two events would be the same; except the first names would be different. Here are a few keynotes from the Tiger Run GNCC.

Stu Baylor GOES BACK-TO-BACK

Society Hill, South Carolina—The 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, concluded round four, FMF Camp Coker Bullet, of racing on Sunday, March 28. After a brief rainstorm with high winds, conditions drastically changed throughout the course.

Steward Baylor’s march back into the GNCC title contention continues, as the AmPro Yamaha rider won his second-straight race in the series after missing round one with injury, and suffering clutch problems at round two. This one wasn’t easy though as Stu Baylor and Josh Strang battled the whole time, all the way down to the last lap. The pair would begin to pull away from the rest of the pack, while swapping the lead position multiple times. Strang would lead the way as the white flag came out, but as they headed towards the finish line it was Stu Baylor coming through to earn his second-straight win of the year. Strang would finish second just three seconds behind Stu Baylor.

Steward Baylor CAPTURES FIRST WIN OF 2021 AT THE GENERAL GNCC

Washington, Georgia—The Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, completed round three of the 2021 season in Washington, Georgia at Aonia Pass MX with The Specialized General. Throughout the weekend the series saw 2,060 entries across Motorcycle, ATV and eMTB racing.

As the race got underway it was Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburnjumping out to grab the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Open Pro Holeshot Award, but as the pack of eager racers made their way to timing and scoring on lap one it was Coastal GasGas Factory Racing’s Ricky Russell holding the early lead.

As they headed out for their second lap AmPro Yamaha’s Steward Baylor was on a mission to get to the front. Baylor would put his head down and push from a seventh place start to take over the lead as they came through on lap two. Baylor would continue to push himself as he held the lead. As he made his way around for the white flag, Baylor had over a minute lead. Baylor remained focused and crossed the finish line after three-hours of racing to take his first overall win of the 2021 season.

BEN KELLEY FIGHTS BACK AT WILD BOAR GNCC

Round two of the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, concluded with motorcycle racing on Sunday, March 7 in Palatka Florida. The world’s fastest off-road motorcycle racers would take to the sandy terrain of Florida at Hog Waller’s Mud. 

Getting a great jump off the line and earning himself the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award was Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn. After getting that early lead, Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Ricky Russell would soon make a pass into the number one spot, holding onto it for the first two laps of racing.

Straight From Arenacross: Rounds 7 and 8 Recap from Tampa, FL

Tulsa, OK (March 2, 2021) – The 2021 Kicker AMA Arenacross Series switched things up and headed outdoors for Rounds 7 and 8 of the series. The events were held at the East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Florida on this past Saturday and Sunday. The oversized arenacross track and full gates of top Arenacross and Supercross talent, in the pro classes, gave way to some of the best racing of the series thus far.

Phoenix Racing Honda Team's Kyle Peters finished the weekend with his unbeaten streak still in tact. He's now won 16 straight main events this series, and heads to Amarillo looking to finish the series with the streak alive, while clinching his second straight AMA National Championship title. 

GRANT BAYLOR SURPRISES IN GNCC OPENER

Plenty of bench racing before the season began in regards to the vacant Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series throne. Kailub Russell had retired from the series after winning eight-straight titles, and there were many contenders for this year’s crown, including Steward Baylor. But few probably had Stu's younger brother Grant Baylor at the top of their list. While making his debut on the new KLM Milwaukee GasGas team, Grant notched the second win of his GNCC career, firing first in what promises to be a wild season.

Straight From Arenacross: Rounds 5 and 6 Recap from Guthrie, OK

Tulsa, OK (January 24, 2021) The 2021 Kicker AMA Arenacross Series stopped in Guthrie, Oklahoma for rounds five and six of the series. The events were held at the Lazy E Arena on Friday and Saturday. The oversized arenacross track and full gates of top talent in the pro classes gave way to some of the best racing of the series thus far.

Phoenix Racing Honda Team's Kyle Peters managed to continue his win streak this weekend, remaining unbeaten at the top. Though with each passing round the feat is seeming to become a little tougher to accomplish. Team Babbitt's Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Mike Alessi is one of a few pressing to get that first win and knock Peters off the top of the podium. Alessi led for many laps during a few main events this weekend, showing he has skillset and ability to make it happen.

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