Two-time GNCC champion Kailub Russell makes his bid for title #3 when the opening round of the 2015 series kicks off this weekend in Florida

Marking the 41st running of the Amsoil Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, the Rodman Plantation in Palatka, Florida plays host to round one.

Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell leads the way in the XC1 Pro class as he looks to earn his third consecutive National Championship in 2015. With a host of previous champions and race winners lining up to contest this year’s championship, Russell will have his hands full all season long.

While Russell’s two-year hot streak makes him a heavy favourite heading into round one, it’s interesting to note that the KTM rider has never won an overall at the season opener.

As Russell hopes to land his first win of the season in Florida, 2010 GNCC Champion Josh Strang will look to continue his late-season success from 2014 into an early victory at round one.

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Strang, who is racing aboard an all-new Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team, has experienced victory in the Florida sands so there’s no doubt the Australia native will put up a tough fight. 

N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn enters this season with a career-best national #3. Ashburn proved to be one of the most consistently fastest riders last season and the fact that he’s returning with the same program this season, ensures the Yamaha man is one to watch for. 

Husqvarna’s Andrew Delong will return for his debut season in the XC1 Pro class aboard the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team looking to improve. JCR Honda’s Chris Bach also lines up on the front row.

Thad DuVall will debut his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR Husqvarna as #989 this season, while Australian rider Daniel Milner will launch his first full season as a GNCC contender aboard the N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha team.

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For the first time in recent history, the GNCC opener will be missing two major players in its line-up. The 2011 GNCC Champion Charlie Mullins, who sat out the second half of the season due to a double wrist injury, will remain sidelined for round one. Mullins underwent additional surgery during the off-season and the Factory FMF/KTM rider continues to focus on recovering.

Two-time GNCC Champion Paul Whibley announced his retirement from GNCC in 2014 and will not be racing the series this season. With 19 career wins and two National titles (2009 and 2012) behind him, Whibley remains one of the most successful GNCC racers in the history of the sport.

Two-time XC2 Pro Lites Champion Grant Baylor will make his full-time XC1 Pro debut in 2015. Baylor made the switch to N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha this season. 

The XC2 Pro Lites championship battle will be highly contested this season with a full crop of talent lining up in 2015.

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Raines Riding University/Atlas Yamaha/’s Ricky Russell will return to action after missing the end of last season due to injury. Moto-Tech KTM’s Trevor Bollinger became a big contender at the end of last season, finishing second in the class behind Baylor.

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR’s Nick Davis made consistent stops on the XC2 podium last season and looks to contest the championship this season.’s Layne Michael looks to be a contender this season. DirtWise/Maxxis/KLIM rider Jason Thomas makes his return to XC2 in hopes of capturing a second championship in the class.

The AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series kicks off its 2015 season March 7 and 8 in Palatka, Florida with the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC.