Cycle News

Cycle News 2021 Issue 43 October 26

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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ROUND 13 / OCTOBER 24, 2021 IRONMAN RACEWAY / CRAWFORDSVILLE, INDIANA P76 OFF-ROAD I GRAND NATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY SERIES WORDS BY SHAN MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY BY KEN HILL I t's only fitting that a crazy and eventful season would be capped off with an equally crazy and eventful final race. Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna Racing's Thad Duvall claimed his first win of the season in muddy condi- tions at the Ironman GNCC final, while FMF/KTM's Ben Kelley clinched the 2021 Grand National Cross Country Series title with a ninth overall finish in a race that was delayed and then shortened (to two hours) after off-and-on torrential rain turned creeks into rivers and bar ditches into ponds. Kelley wrapped up the 2021 Grand National Cross Country Series champion- ship after one of the closest championship battles on record. Kelley jumped out to a big lead in the champion- ship standings after title rival Steward Baylor (AmPro Yamaha) did not start the opening round of the series due to injury. However, Bay- lor would reel off seven wins in the next 10 races to take a narrow one-point lead in the series standings with two races remaining. After a dramatic penulti- mate round disrupted results at the top, Kelley came into the series finale at Ironman Raceway with an eight-point lead on Baylor—setting up one of the closest finishes in GNCC history. When the Ironman GNCC finally got underway, Kelley got away in second behind Babbitt's Online/Monster Energy/Team Green Ka- wasaki's Josh Strang but coasted to a stop near the eight-mile mark when his bike suddenly stopped. Ironically, Baylor's bike fell victim to the water, too, and both riders found themselves stranded on the course and frantically trying to get their bikes to fire.

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