The 2022 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series kicked off its schedule in Union, South Carolina on Sunday with Husqvarna Motorcycles riders claiming three of the top-six positions in the stacked field of XC1 Pro competition. With Jordan Ashburn at the helm delivering an impressive third overall, it was Trevor Bollinger who headlined Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s efforts with a solid top-five finish, followed by teammate Craig DeLong close behind in sixth as he begins his official XC1 rookie season in 2022.
Bollinger didn’t get the best start as he found himself shuffled back mid-pack on the opening lap. He quickly charged from 10th to fifth in the first hour, setting himself up for a mid-race charge into podium contention. While running third, Bollinger made a few costly mistakes that dropped him to sixth and he slowly climbed back into the top-five battle late in the race. Making a last-lap push, Bollinger was able to overtake fifth and make a valiant charge up to fourth, where he finished only four seconds behind in fifth.
“I’m finally healthy and glad to be at the races. It’s been a long off-season working with all the guys,” Bollinger said. “I got a pretty bad start and finally inched my way up to third about halfway through and I really tried to catch Ben and Josh but I wasn’t able to make it happen. I’d catch them and then make some mistakes and then I got shuffled back and it took me a lap or two to get it all figured out. I was able to make a late-push and ended up fifth place, so it’s a pretty good day for me.”
DeLong got off to a fifth-place start going into the woods but he got shuffled back to seventh by the end of the opening lap. He bounced around inside the top-10 for most of the race, intensely mixing it up with a freight-train of riders for three long hours. The XC1 rookie eventually caught up to his teammate, Bollinger, later in the race and he finished strong with a last-lap pass for sixth on the day.
“My whole goal for today was to try to ride as hard as I could for as long as I could,” DeLong said. “I got shuffled back and I tried to latch onto the freight train but that’s kind of where I was at the whole race. I got a little bit lucky with some people crashing and not finishing but for the most part I’m pretty happy with how I rode. I have some things to work on but it’s good to know where I stand going into the next round.”
Team rider Thad Duvall suffered an unfortunate crash early in the race when he hit a tree stump and catapulted straight into the ground, resulting in multiple injuries to his hip and pelvis. The West Virginia native plans to undergo surgery as soon as tomorrow. The entire Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team wishes Thad a speedy recovery.
Next Round: Palatka, Florida – March 6, 2022
Big Buck GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
2. Josh Strang (KAW)
3. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
5. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
6. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
18. Thad DuVall – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
Overall Championship Standings
1. Ben Kelley, 30 points
2. Josh Strang, 25 points
3. Jordan Ashburn, 21 points
5. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 16 points
6. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 15 points