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Kailub Russell Comes Out On Top with FMF Steele Creek GNCC Overall Win | Latest

FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell claimed the overall win at Steele Creek GNCC ahead of Husqvarna’s Thad Duvall and KTM’s Steward Baylor.

Husqvarna’s Josh Strang grabbed the early holeshot but as the field headed into the bush Strang was overtaken by Russell on lap one. The New South Welshman, suffering from an ankle injury, faded as the race progressed and recorded a seasons-best fifth overall.

JCR Honda’s Trevor Bollinger got off to a top-five start at his home race, and made quick work to pass for fourth and set his eyes on closing the gap for a podium position early on. Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Ryan Sipes wasn’t ready to hand over the position where he raced wheel-to-wheel with Bollinger. The duo had a rather large gap on SRT/KTM’s Steward Baylor who was in fifth. Much like the previous round, Baylor challenged himself and charged through the pack and began gaining valuable time and positions.

Russell came in contact with a banner midway through the race, but the conflict wasn’t enough for Duvall to be able to make the pass. It wouldn’t be until pit strategies came into place that a change-up in the lead would occur. Both Russell and Duvall elected to pit on the same lap, but Duvall’s pit was just a bit quicker than Russell. Russell pulled back onto Pro Row as Duvall squeezed by to take command of the lead. Duvall’s success quickly came to an end when Russell took back the first-place position as they re-entered the woods.

The mid-way point of the race also served as the turning point for Baylor’s race where he focused in on Bollinger in third. The two riders swapped the final podium position multiple times, until Baylor was finally able to take if for good on the fifth lap.

It wouldn’t be until the last lap when Russell had a little bit of breathing room, much like Russell, Baylor also found himself with a small gap over Bollinger. As they raced to the finish line, Russell would earn his third win of the season, with Duvall and Baylor rounding out the overall podium. Bollinger made a last minute strive, but finished just off the overall podium in fourth.

“It was a tough day out there, it wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Russell. “I thought the track would have more moisture. In some places you would have good traction, and other places it would just go away. I laid down a good pace on the first lap and Thad hung on there all the way to the end.”

Tayla Jones continued her undefeated winning streak, claiming the win in WXC class.

Tayla Jones