After two months off from racing due to the COVID-19 situation, the FMF KTM Factory Racing Team is ‘Ready to Race’ as team riders Kailub Russell and Josh Toth are set to line up this Sunday, May 17, at the Bull Dog GNCC for Round 4 of the 2020 AMA Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in Washington, Georgia.
Defending seven-time GNCC champion Russell heads into the weekend with a three-race winning streak behind him, where he left off with a big victory in Georgia exactly two months ago. Despite the time away from racing, Russell hasn’t skipped a beat with his training regimen and he is more focused than ever to continue fighting for an eighth consecutive title in the XC1 Open Pro class.
Russell will be joined by his teammate Toth who missed the first three rounds due to a leg injury sustained just before the season started. Following six weeks of rehabilitation, Toth has been riding for a few weeks and he’s ready to race his first GNCC of the 2020 season this Sunday.
Team Manager, Antti Kallonen: “I’m so excited to return to racing with the team. We have been waiting for this day to come and I have to thank GNCC for the work they’ve done in order for us all to make a safe return to racing. We all know this virus that put a pause on our lives is still among us but with the steps GNCC and all the teams and riders are taking, I feel safe and confident we can have a quality race while still practicing physical distance and the guidelines recommended by health officials.”
FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Ben Kelley will not line up this Sunday as he continues to recover from a shoulder surgery. The two-time GNCC XC2 250 Pro Champion sustained a major dislocation and a superior labral (SLAP) tear in his right shoulder prior to the season and following a successful rehabilitation process Kelley looks to return to racing in June.
This weekend’s event will see many modifications including strict social distancing guidelines, no spectators, autograph sessions and no live streaming video coverage on RacerTV.com in an effort to decrease the number of staff on hand.
Tim Cotter, GNCC Racing: “Thanks to the Safe-to-Race Toolkit and the best practices developed by the Safe-to-Race Task Force, the GNCC Series has received the green light to return to the great outdoors and we couldn’t be more excited. The health and safety of our racers and their families is our priority and because of that we’ve implemented extensive race day protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We look forward to getting back to racing!”