FIRST-CAREER GRAND NATIONAL CROSS COUNTRY
PREMIER CLASS TITLE CLINCHED ONBOARD FX 350
MURRIETA, CA – October 23, 2023 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – In what has marked a stellar season of 2023 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) competition, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Craig DeLong has clinched his first-career XC1 Open Pro Championship at Ironman’s 12th and final round of the season in Indiana.
Entering the finale with a sizable advantage on his side, DeLong was in prime position to capture the premier class title, needing nothing more than to earn a consistent haul of points in order to secure the overall number one plate on his FX 350.
On that request he delivered, launching to a second-place start, before posting a steady, calculated ride on the technical and fast-paced terrain. An eventual eighth-place finish at the conclusion of the three-hour affair was enough to be crowned this year’s champion.
In what has been an exceptional year for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing standout, DeLong recorded three overall wins across the season, including his first in class in Round 3 at The General GNCC. Upon standing on the podium a further three times, victory at the penultimate round in the Buckwheat 100 proved a pivotal moment for the series, providing a small buffer entering this weekend.
“What an incredible season, with all the different winners at each round,” DeLong reflected. “There were plenty of ups and downs, but we were in a good position heading into the break tied with the points lead, and then to come away with a bit of a buffer after winning the previous round was huge. All-in-all, I can’t thank the whole team enough – I came into this season with the goal to get a couple of round wins, and together we managed to accomplish much more than that! This definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m excited to back it up in 2024.”
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing teammate Trevor Bollinger continued to climb back toward peak form throughout the closing rounds of GNCC, recording a 12th-place finish at Ironman, where it was evident that he’d made further steps in the right direction.
After sustaining a broken scapula early in the season, Bollinger returned to action at Round 8 of the series, with a pair of sixth-place finishes at Rounds 10 and 11 marking his season-high results, also equipped with FX 350 machinery.
“I started off well today, I was around fifth and made my way into fourth early on, although just ran into some unfortunate issues that cost me a lot of time,” said Bollinger. “From there, we got things repaired and I tried to rally as best as I could, but I just lost too much time to make anything happen. I feel really good right now, glad to be healthy, and am excited to go into the off-season and prepare for next year.”
Ironman GNCC Results
XC1 Open Pro Class
1. Josh Strang (KAW)
2. Steward Baylor Jr, (KTM)
3. Johnny Girroir, (KTM)
8. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
12. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
Overall Championship Standings
1. Craig DeLong – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 246 points
2. Steward Baylor Jr, 235 points
3. Ben Kelley, 215 points
4. Jordan Ashburn, 201 points
17. Trevor Bollinger – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, 50 points
Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, Inc.
Husqvarna Motorcycles has continued to expand its professional race team to compete in AMA Supercross, AMA Pro Motocross, AMA National Enduro, GNCC, AMA EnduroCross, and AMA National Hare & Hound championships. Husqvarna team riders are competing aboard Husqvarna FC 450, FC 350, FC 250, FE 350, TC 250 and TE 300 models.
Rockstar Energy Drink
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Source: KTM North America, Inc.