It’s not the NBA in the conference finals or the NHL in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It’s not MLB winding down the final couple of months before the all-star break and it’s not the NFL kicking off minicamps and OTA’s across the country. Its not the Olympics, the PGA, the MLS, the MLL or NASCAR.
Tomorrow there will be a Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) at “The Bulldog” in Washington, Georgia, presented by Specialized.
Never heard of a GNCC, huh? It’s alright. Most people haven’t. Luckily, I’ll be your resident redneck to tell you all about it.
Take upwards of 120 finely tuned endurance athletes, strap them to 50 horsepower motorcycles with 450 cubic centimeter engines and have them race each other through the woods. Oh right, let’s do that for three hours every other weekend until October.
Throw in a couple hundred hillbilly fans with their shit-kickin’ boots, a bunch of cold Busch Light, a little good weather and you have yourself a party.
That guy wearing Number 1? That’s Kailub Russell and he’s the baddest dude in the series. On some MJ shit, KR has won seven-straight championship and has amassed 63 career wins, the most all time. Luckily for the rest of the guys, 2020 is Kailub’s ‘Last Dance’. Before the season he announced that he will retire from full-time GNCC racing at the end of the year. He currently has a 23-point lead after three races and is going to run away with his eighth title. He’s got the best team, the best bike and the best support from Factory KTM.
The rest of the field is a shell of what it should be. Top contender Thad Duvall is out with a knee injury. Two young studs in Ben Kelley and Josh Toth are both out with injuries. Trevor Bollinger was coming on strong and got shingles or some shit. He had an unrelated surgery in February.
Stew Baylor has been the closest to knocking of Kailub this season. Before the season, Stew changed teams from Tely Energy KTM to a new team in Factory One Sherco. He has since been fired, or relieved of his duties. However you want to say it. So, a la Ricky Bobby, he sponsored himself.
Where you would normally see a sponsorship logo, Baylor’s graphics says “ME”. He has “I WANNA GO FAST” written on his swingarm and his graphics even include the cougar from Talladega Nights on his shroud and his front fender. What a legend.
Former series champion Josh Strang will also be in the field. He won the series in 2010 and is the elder statesman of the XC1 Pro class. He sits in second in the point standings just ahead of Ricky Russell (no relation to Kailub). Jordan Ashburn enter the weekend in fourth place. Ashburn is a great starter but falls off dramatically after about an hour.
Stew and his brother Grant come in at 5th and 6th, respectively. Grizzly Grant also switched to Factory One Sherco this season and I believe he is still employed by the team.
So anyways, that’s happening tomorrow. Is it a real sport? Probably not. Is it a step in the right direction? You bet your sweet ass.