Historic sixth straight win for Ben Kelley at 2022 Hoosier GNCC
Ben Kelley takes historic sixth win of the season at the 2022 Hoosier GNCC, bettering Kailub Russell’s Grand National Cross Country straight wins haul.
The king is dead, long live the king. Isn’t that the phrase? Ben Kelley might have a long way to go to better Kailub Russell’s eight Grand National Cross Country championships haul but the record for consecutive wins in one season has just been broken at the Hoosier GNCC at the Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Kelley, who is being coached by the grand master Russell these days, has just taken his sixth-straight GNCC win, maintaining a 100% record for the 2022 season and surpassing Kailub’s five-on-the-bounce tally.
As has been the pattern all season, it was a dominant performance from the reigning champion Kelley at the Hoosier this past weekend. Initially following his FMF KTM teammate Josh Toth on the first lap, Kelley took the lead and proceeded to check out.
That lead extended with relentless pace throughout the three-hours with Ben taking an almost three-minute margin across the line.
“It was a solid race.” Explained Kelley. “I’ve been getting good starts and it’s just clicking right now. I’m riding good and having fun doing it. I’m just having to push at a comfortable pace to stay focused out there and hit my marks. We’ve been training hard and it's paying off, I’m really happy with the progression.
“It’s pretty cool to have more consecutive wins than Kailub Russell, he’s the one helping me get here this year, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Bollinger wins fight for P2
The fight for the podium places was intense with Josh Toth, Jordan Ashburn, Trevor Bollinger and Craig Delong all in with a shout. It came down to the final lap with Toth holding a 30-second advantage over Bollinger, plus Ashburn and Delong edging closer as they had their own battle just down the road.
Fitness was playing a role on the Ironman Raceway course and Bollinger was the fittest of the survivors, taking advantage of Toth getting stuck in a mud hole to steal second spot on the last lap.
“I’m glad to be back up here on the box,” Bollinger said. “I feel good and my bike is getting better every week. I was healthy all last year and I was able to carry it over into this year and just build. I think I’m finally back to where I was. I was in that last lap and I fell but I just kept plugging away and luckily, I was able to make it happen. It was a good day.”
Exhausted at the line, Toth said, ““I pulled the holeshot and got out front early on but it was super tricky because there were so many lines and a wide track, so I just did the best I could. I knew Ben had some good lines so I let him by and just followed him.
“We picked up the pace and worked together to try and pull away from the guys. I had just a few mistakes later in the race - I took a hard hit and that knocked the wind out of my sails and then on the very last lap, I got stuck in a rut and Trevor went by. It’s frustrating to lose second but overall, I’m really pumped on the day.”
Austrian bikes locked-out of the top five overall positions with Jordan Ashburn holding off Craig Delong to (just) maintain his second place in the points standings.
2022 Hoosier GNCC PM race results:
How’s the championship table looking?
All of the above means Ben Kelley sits on a massive 180 points haul for the season so far, 65 ahead of Jordan Ashburn. After taking his third podium in as many races, Trevor Bollinger is just one point behind Ashburn on 114 in third..
The next round of the GNCC season is the John Penton, historically not a race Kelley has a good record at having lost out in the last lap to Steward Baylor and Josh Strang when the series visited the same venue twice in 2021. After the Hoosier race Kelley said he “wants that John Penton trophy bad” – you won’t catch us betting against it being nine wins in a row…
2022 GNCC championship points after round six:
XC2 250 win on the bounce for Snodgrass
Australian Lyndon Snodgrass stuck in another very solid performance on the Babbitts Kawasaki to take his second win of the season. Chasing his teammate and countryman on the XC1 bike, Snodgrass put the KX250 almost a minute clear at the finish.
Lyndon now sits on a 151 points tally in the XC2 class ahead of Mike Witkowski who had another one to forget on the AM Pro Yamaha finishing 10th after getting skittled at turn two and then having a mid-race mechanical issue.
The podium places were filled with Southern hemisphere riders with Aussie Angus Riordan coming home in second and Kiwi Liam Draper third. Ryder Lafferty was the first American home in fourth ahead of Cody Barnes fifth.
Double bubble for Steede in WXC
Korie Steede took her second win of the season in the WXC class. Steede is the only rider to stand on the podium in all races this season, which is the only reason you need as to why she leads the series after six rounds.
The ISDE outright women’s champion Brandy Richards headed to the midwest from her desert homelands to stack up another ‘guest’ appearance in GNCC and bagged second spot ahead of last season’s title challenger, Rachel Archer. Tayla Jones was fourth but remains second in the points table ahead of Archer with the top three now sharing two wins apiece in the six races.
AM bike race results:
Round seven of the 2022 season is the John Penton GNCC in Ohio on May 22.
Photo Credit: Mack Faint + Ken Hill