Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammates Craig DeLong and Trevor Bollinger put on a great showing at Round 2 of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, where they each secured a top-five finish in the premier XC1 Open Pro Class. Edging out DeLong for the final podium position was Husqvarna Motorcycles-mounted rider, Jordan Ashburn, who landed on the box for the second straight round with a third-place finish at the Wild Boar GNCC.
Taking place in Palatka, Florida, it was a three-hour battle of survival with hot temperatures and dry, sandy track conditions separating out the competition almost immediately. DeLong didn’t make it easy on himself from the start as he rounded the opening lap back in 10th place. The XC1 rookie put his head down and charged his way through the field, reaching a top-five position after an hour and a half of racing. Settling into fifth midway through, DeLong was gifted an additional position in the final hour and he capitalized to secure a strong fourth-place finish in the class.
“It was a tough day, the track was brutal,” DeLong said. “I got a good start but I got shuffled to the back of the pack for the first lap or two. I got moving and picked my way through the pack to fifth and some people had some unfortunate things happen and I got lucky with circumstances and got into fourth. I’m happy with it, and I’m happy with the result because it’s the best one this year, so we’ll see what we do in a week.”
Bollinger had a decent jump off the line but he went down early on the opening lap and lost substantial time getting back going. He worked his way up to ninth just ahead of DeLong on lap one and from there he continued to push his way through the field. Pacing off his teammate late in the race, Bollinger worked his way into fifth with two laps to go and despite another big crash on the final lap, he was able to bring it home for a fifth in class and seventh overall on the day.
“It was definitely a long and tough day,” Bollinger said. “I got a decent start and a mile in, I hit something and punched myself in the stomach. I had to pull over because it knocked the breath out of me so I was in the back of the pack eating dust, it was rough. When I came around the first lap, my CamelBak broke and I lost all my water so I just tried to stay as steady as I could and ended up fifth. Considering everything that happened, I think it was good.”
Next Round: Washington, Georgia – March 13, 2022
Wild Boar GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Ben Kelley (KTM)
2. Josep Garcia (KTM)
3. Jordan Ashburn (HQV)
4. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
5. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team
Overall Championship Standings
1. Ben Kelley, 60 points
2. Jordan Ashburn, 42 points
3. Josep Garcia, 37 points
4. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 33 points
6. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team, 30 points