Round two of the 2020 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, concluded on Sunday, Mar 9, 2020. The Moose Racing Wild Boar race was located in the Sunshine State. The overall winner was the same as round one as FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell came away with his second consecutive win of the 2020 season, and his fourth win in the state of Florida.
Our attention was focused on the XC3 125cc Pro-Am and Open A classes as the Hayes brothers were set to build off of their Round 1 momentum. Zack Hayes took the win at the Big Buck GNCC just two weeks ago in South Carolina. He lined up with a lot of energy and was looking to extend his winning streak. However, things would not start off so well Sunday afternoon.
When Rodney Tomblin yelled his infamous “ten seconds,” 16 of the best racers in the world felt their adrenaline kick in. They all knew it was time to go battle the rough Florida terrain for three hours straight. Hayes would get off to an awful start and end up 10th after lap 1. From the second lap on, Hayes was a steady charge to the front. He made up three positions and found himself in 7th after the second lap.
Hayes recorded the fastest lap of his competitors on lap three and made up another three spots moving him into 4th. The next two laps, Hayes fought extremely hard to get past Jake Froman, who was in second, and then mount his charge for the leader Dominick Morse.
On the final lap, Hayes was able to get around the leader and check out. He was able to build a 17-second lead, and it was the Moose Racing/Carolina KTM/XC Gear’s Hayes taking home his second-straight FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am class victory at the Wild Boar GNCC. He also finished 27th overall for the day.
Husqvarna/FXR/Enduro Engineering’s Jake Froman made his way into the second place position on lap four and would battle throughout the remaining laps to hold onto his podium finish. Larsons Cycles/Fly Racing/Shoei Helmets’ Nathan Ferderer also made his way onto the FMF XC3 podium with a third in the class.
Not to be outdone by his brother, Chase Hayes took the early lead in the Open A class and never looked back. After one lap, Hayes had already built a 23 second lead over the second-place rider.
At one point in the race, Hayes’s closest competitor was over one minute behind. On the final lap of the 3-hour race, Alex Lugar made up a lot of time on Hayes but ultimately ran out of time. Lugar did close the gap to only 9 seconds to take 2nd place and 33rd overall. Hayes has now won the first two races of the 2020 season, and he finished 32nd overall.
With Zack’s win in the XC3 class, he has extended his points lead to 19 over Froman. Chase is leading the Open A class after two early-season wins, but Cope Beckert is only 5 points back.
The Hayes brothers will have a quick turnaround as they will do battle Sunday, March 14, at The General in Washington, GA.