ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING’S THAD DUVALL OUT WITH INJURY
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong is off to a strong start in the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series after scoring his second-straight podium finish at Round 2 on Sunday. DeLong battled through the toughest of conditions in Palatka, Florida to come away with a solid runner-up finish for the day. Teammate Thad DuVall wasn’t able to line up for Round 2 as he recovers from injuries sustained at a race last weekend.
Florida GNCC courses are typically the roughest of the season but the Wild Boar GNCC added an additional element with substantial rainfall taking place earlier in the week. The 14-mile course presented a variety of challenges including wet sand, deep ruts and rough whooped-out sections that proved to be a challenge throughout the day. DeLong maintained a solid pace despite battling the elements, beginning in the fourth-place position on the opening lap. He passed into second on lap two and set his sights on the leader but he dropped back to fourth once again after taking a bad line a few miles in. The defending champion battled his way back up to second at the halfway point and from there he hovered around the final podium position. While battling in third on the final lap, the second-place rider experienced an issue that would ultimately allow DeLong to overtake the position a few miles from the finish. With a solid second-place finish, DeLong continues to position himself in the running for a repeat championship run in 2021.
“It was a good day, definitely a long one that’s for sure,” DeLong said. “There were a lot of ups and downs, a lot of playing catch-up, crashing and getting back up and then crashing again. I was able to stay upright the last two laps and put in a good charge. All-in-all, it was a good day. Mike and I were together the whole race, we raced clean and it was a lot of fun.”
Unfortunate news for 2021 championship hopeful, Thad DuVall, who suffered a big crash at the opening round of the U.S. Sprint Enduro Championship last weekend. DuVall’s crash resulted in multiple injuries including a collapsed lung, broken collar bone and fractured ribs. He underwent surgery on Friday and now begins the recovery process with plans to return to racing as soon as he can.
Next Round: Washington, Georgia – March 14, 2021
Wild Boar GNCC Results
XC2 250 Pro Class
1. Jonathan Girroir (GAS)
2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
3. Mike Witkowski (YAM)
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
2. Josh Strang (KAW)
3. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
XC2 250 Pro Class Championship Standings
1. Mike Witkowski – 51 points
2. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Factory Racing Team – 50 points
3. Jonathan Girroir – 45 points