The fourth round of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series, an AMA National Championship, took place April 7-8 at Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, North Carolina. The unpredictability of Steele Creek struck again as riders battled through hours of racing only to separate themselves by a few quick seconds.

steele creek 2018 results
Photo Credit: Ken Hill | Courtesy of GNCC

Motorcycle Report

When the green flag waved for the motorcycle racers, Kaven Benoit got a jump on the pack to take the holeshot and the lead. Benoit didn’t hold it for long before Kailub Russell moved up to take over. K. Russell made the most of an open track and set the pace by going into lap two with a 24-second lead over Thad Duvall in 2nd. Ricky Russell also managed a solid opening lap in 3rd place, but Trevor Bollinger pressured the Yamaha rider and eventually passed him in lap two. Bollinger kept a firm grip on 3rd while R. Russell faded into the pack.

With the battle for 3rd place seemingly finished, the battle for the lead reached a high point. K. Russell and Duvall ran 1st and 2nd respectively until lap three when the two riders had to pit for refueling. Duvall took full advantage of the break by cutting his stop short and getting back on course before K. Russell. Despite K. Russell leaving the pits just behind him, Duvall took the lead. The two continued to battle for the rest of the race, running neck and neck while trading places several times throughout the remaining five laps. The racing was so close that Duvall held a 3.0 second lead at the end of lap five only to have it switch to a 2.5 second lead in K. Russell’s favor the following lap. The two leaders kept at it until the last turn. Duvall held off K. Russell just enough to cross the finish 4.5 seconds ahead and take the win.

Duvall’s finish at Steele Creek marked his first victory of the season and ended a string of frustratingly close finishes. K. Russell’s 2nd-place finish ended his streak of wins, though he is still leading in overall points. Duvall now sits just 14 points down. Bollinger kept third position from lap two until the end of the race, earning himself the final podium spot and moving him up to 4th overall. Benjamin Kelley finished one spot off the podium in 4th and held Steward Baylor Jr. to 5th.

PositionNo. NameMachineClassPointsOverall Points
1989
Thad Duvall
HQVXC1 Open Pro
30101
21
Kailub Russell
KTMXC1 Open Pro
25115
3739
Trevor Bollinger
HONXC1 Open Pro
2172
4530
Benjamin Kelley
KTMXC2 250 Pro
1865
5514
Steward Baylor Jr
KTMXC1 Open Pro
1683
6206
Josh Toth
KTMXC2 250 Pro
1546
7114
Josh Strang
HQVXC1 Open Pro
1458
812
Jordan Ashburn
BETXC1 Open Pro
1334
9523
Layne Michael
HQVXC1 Open Pro
1252
10117
Pascal Rauchenecker
HQVXC2 250 Pro
1148
11212
Ricky Russell
YAMXC1 Open Pro
1030
12121
Cory Buttrick
HQVXC1 Open Pro
917
138
Craig Delong
HQVXC2 250 Pro
836
14198
Liam Draper
HQVXC2 250 Pro
710
15927
Nick Davis
GASXC2 250 Pro
616
1617
Jesse Groemm
KTMXC1 Open Pro
518
17282
Michael Wiskowski
BETXC2 250 Pro
411
18945
Trevor Barrett
YAMXC2 250 Pro
35
19347
Evan Smith
HQVXC2 250 Pro
213
2018
Jesse Ansley
KTMFMF XC3 125 Pro-Am
14

ATV Report

ATV racing was hampered by rain, mud, and a very messy course. Despite the conditions, Cole Richardson shot to the front for the holeshot once the race started. Richardson kept his speed but failed to hold off Walker Fowler once they hit the woods. Fowler took over and led for the next three laps. Richardson did not fade and kept the gap to 3.5 seconds. However, he was pressured by 3rd-place rider Adam McGill, who was putting together a great run and managed to shave the gap between him and Richardson to 1 second.

The running order stayed the same until lap 4 when the leaders came to a rider who was stuck in the mud at the bottom of a hill. Fowler and Richardson both hesitated as they hit the bottleneck, and their small lead melted away. McGill quickly capitalized by taking the wide line and passing both Fowler and Richardson. McGill took the lead while Fowler and Richardson worked past the stuck rider. In the final stretch, the three ran bar-to-bar to the checkered flag. McGill held out to take the win by a 1.7-second margin. The battle for second was even closer. Richardson outran Fowler by 0.44 seconds to land in 2nd while Folwer was forced into 3rd.

racing steele creek gncc 2018 results
Photo Credit: Ken Hill | Courtesy of GNCC

McGill’s hard-fought win was his first of the 2018 season and moved him into 3rd in overall points, just three down from Brycen Neal who finished 4th. Richardson’s 2nd place is his best finish so far and moved him to 6th overall, a single point behind Jarrod McClure. With two 2018 wins already under his belt, Fowler’s 3rd-place finish kept him in the overall lead by eight points. Chris Borich finished 5th, 2 seconds ahead of Jarrod McClure in 6th.

PositionNo. NameMachineClassPointsOverall Points
1521
Adam McGill
HONXC1 Pro
3086
2733
Cole Richardson
YAMXC1 Pro
2572
31
Walker Fowler
YAMXC1 Pro
2197
42
Brycen Neal
YAMXC1 Pro
1889
54
Chris Borich
SUZXC1 Pro
1680
63
Jarrod McClure
HONXC1 Pro
1573
79
Devon Feehan
HONXC1 Pro
1453
88
Martin Christofferson
HONXC1 Pro
1343
97
Hunter Hart
YAMXC2 Pro Am
1222
1012
Greg Covert
YAMXC1 Pro
1123
1110
Johnny Gallagher
YAMXC1 Pro
1045
12303
Matthew Lindle
HONXC2 Pro Am
927
1317
Brandon Icard
HONXC2 Pro Am
813
1415
Tucker Wyatt
HONXC1 Pro
728
15542
Kevin Yoho
YAMXC1 Pro
621
16703
Austin Abney
HONXC2 Pro Am
523
1711
Joshua Merritt
YAMXC1 Pro
426
1818
Drew Landers
YAMXC2 Pro Am
312
1931
Tanner Walker
HONXC2 Pro Am
22
2058
Thomas Koontz Jr
YAMVet A
11
g steele creek gncc 2018 results
Photo Credit: Ken Hill | Courtesy of GNCC