Defending GNCC Pro ATV champion Chris Borich (Suzuki) is looking for this third straight victory to start the season at this weekend’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, NC.
The Maxxis/Yoshimura rider leads the pack and the point standings heading into round three of the 13-race Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. The Steele Creek Campground hosts a variety of rough and tumble obstacles and often times the track conditions affect the outcome of the intense two-hour races. The 10-12 mile course will feature mud bogs and creek crossings, mixed with rocky hills and the fan-famous Steele Creek bridge, where thousands of spectators gather to see racers battle their way through muddy waters.
Ballance Racing Yamaha‘s Walker Fowler, the rookie XC1 pro who many expect to challenge Borich for this year’s championship, understands just how rough racing conditions can be after one of the most intense finishes in GNCC history at round two in Georgia. Fowler experienced mechanical issues just a few turns before the finish and had to push his ATV to the checkers to hold onto a podium spot. He was exhausted, but the effort keeps him close to Borich in the series’ standings. The rookie still isn’t satisfied and will be back to avenge this weekend in North Carolina.
Motoworks/Can-Am‘s Chris Bithell kept it consistent in the first two rounds with 3-5 finishes, and currently holds the third place position in the point standings over Ballance Racing Yamaha’s Taylor Kiser. Kiser came into the Florida opener with a shoulder injury and raced around for a twelfth place finish, scoring valuable points. But once round two came around, Kiser put all efforts in and took second place after an all-out battle with Borich, Fowler, Bithell and McGill. That pack provides a preview of what’s to come in terms of race action in round three and beyond.
The XC2 Pro Am division is headed up by Patrick McGuire, who took impressive 1-2 finishes in the first two rounds. McGuire is joined by round two winner, Waynesburg Yamaha/Moto-X-Perts-backed Gabe Phillips, who had mechanical issues in the first round, putting him in fifth overall in the point standings. Other heavy hitters in Pro Am this year are New York’s Nathan Thomas, DeRisi Racing’s Eric Hoyland and Ohio’s Matt Hanna-all within a few points of one another as the season gets underway.
In honor of the March of Dimes mission to work together for stronger, healthier babies, the FMF Steele Creek GNCC will be a purple-themed event this weekend. Racers and spectators can get in on the weekend’s fun by wearing purple clothes, riding gear, graphics and decorations. Big-ticket raffles with prizes suitable for both ATV and dirt bike racers will be held as the primary fundraising for the weekend, in addition to a purple podium backdrop that will be signed by the weekend’s top finishers and raffled off after the race.
In the GNCC spirit of competition, fun, and spectator involvement, there will be exciting events taking place at the starting line of both the 10 a.m. amateur race and the 1 p.m. pro race on both Saturday and Sunday. All proceeds from this event will go directly to the Foothills Division of the March of Dimes in Conover, N.C. For more information on the March of Dimes, please visit www.marchofdimes.com.