Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong clinched the XC2 250 Pro Championship on Sunday following a season-long battle that came down to the final round of the 2020 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in Newburg, West Virginia.
Coming into Sunday’s finale, DeLong held an 11-point lead in the class championship but claiming the title was anything but easy with three hours of racing left to go in the title fight. DeLong got off to a decent start but he got caught up in the chaos through the first few turns and was forced to start the race from the back of the pack. He worked his way into fourth by the end of lap one and he continued to fight his way through the field, where he swapped the final podium position for two laps before solidifying second-place as the two-lap card came out. From there, DeLong rode smooth and steady to bring it home for a championship-winning second-place finish. However, it was quickly determined by race officials that a penalty would be in place for the race-winner, thus awarding DeLong with his fifth victory of the season, to boot.
“I’m at a loss for words. This is awesome,” DeLong said. “The day didn’t go very easily for me. I was just trying to stay clean and make my way towards the front. There was like a five-rider battle for the lead and I just played it cool and tried to salvage a podium. I have to give a huge thanks to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team. The whole crew was really good, they kept me calm when I needed to be and really kept me on-track this season.”
XC1 Open Pro
Thad DuVall got off to a great start as he positioned himself in the lead-battle early on. He maintained second for the first two laps before dropping back to fifth on lap three. He ran into a couple issues halfway through the race and from there he battled his way back up to ultimately finish seventh on the day.
“The day started off good, I got a good start and tried to click things off,” DuVall said. “I was having a good race and then just had a couple of small issues but I was able to end the day and have some fun. The FX350 worked great, I’m really happy with how the bike handled and I’m looking forward to getting 2021 started and going after the championship.”
Team rider Trevor Bollinger made his return to racing for the first time in over a year following a knee injury sustained earlier this season. Bollinger got off to a top-five start and he settled into eighth on the second lap. He pushed his way up to seventh at the one-hour mark and he did his best to maintain a solid pace through the remaining laps to ultimately finish ninth in the class.
“It was nice to be back racing for the first time in a little over a year,” Bollinger said. “I just wanted to go through the motions again before 2021. We ended up getting a good start, rode around the top-five the first lap and just got a little tight since I haven’t raced in a while. I ended up dropping back a little bit but it was nice to just get back out there before the season ends.”
Buckwheat 100 GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class Results
1. Steward Baylor Jr. (YAM)
2. Ben Kelley (KTM)
3. Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
7. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
9. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
XC2 250 Pro Class Results
1. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
2. Mike Witkowski (YAM)
3. Cody Barnes (BET)
XC2 250 Pro Championship Standings
1. Craig DeLong, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team – 316 points
2. Mike Witkowski – 304 points
3. Jonathan Girroir – 280 points