It was another successful weekend for Can-Am racers at the Snowshoe GNCC as Motoworks/Can-Am DS 450 racer Chris Bithell finished second overall in the XC1 Pro class, while Andrew Langston (4×4 Open) and Jordan Phillips (U2) each won their class and finished first and second on the morning overall podium.
“Motoworks / Can-Am XC1 Pro Chris Bithell provided this team with some much needed momentum and drive for the remainder of the season after earning his best race finish of the year this past weekend at Snowshoe. He now sits firmly in fourth place in season points, just four points out of third. Some of our X-Team-supported 4×4 racers faced challenges this past weekend, but Forest Whorton and Kevin Trantham continued their winning ways aboard their Outlander ATVs,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “And the depth of Can-Am mounted racers in the field was very evident, as Can-Am ATV racers earned five class victories and the morning overall. It’s great to see Can-Am privateers race their way to victory and take full advantage of the Can-Am Amateur Racing Contingency Program.“
This round of the Can-Am GNCC racing series is staged atop Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains at more than 4200 feet and is truly a rider and fan favorite due to its picturesque views and resort-type atmosphere. Snowshoe is considered one of the roughest, most challenging GNCC courses in the series and features a unique asphalt street starting line, demanding hills as well as rough-and-rocky trails.
Bithell started on the front row and remained in fourth place pacing himself in the early stages of the race. Just before the final two laps, he made a charge and passed two riders on his way to the second position. During the fifth-and-final lap, Bithell continued to close the gap on the race leader and eventual winner but had to settle for second overall. The runner-up finish was Bithell’s best finish of 2012.
“I was in the top five and I just kept working my way up and in the final lap, I started to reel in the leader, but I ran out of time. It was a tough track, but it was a lot of fun,” says Bithell. “I can’t thank Can-Am and Motoworks enough for putting together such an awesome machine for me and doing everything they can to make sure I get on the podium.”
In the 4×4 Open class, Can-Am X-Team members Michael Swift and Bryan Buckhannon led the majority of the race, but both fell victim to a horrid bottleneck late in the race. Can-Am / Zakowski Motorsports privateer Andrew Langston took advantage of their problems and grabbed the class lead. He went on to win his first ever 4×4 Open class event and the morning overall. Swift eventually recovered to regain second place, but Buckhannon, the reigning 4×4 Open class champion, got horribly stuck while trying to navigate around the bottleneck. Once Buckhannon got rolling again, he finished fifth in the class. He still holds the class points lead.
“I am so stoked to take the overall win. I knew that Swift and Buckhannon were out front and when I saw they had issues and I got by, I knew I was in the lead in our class, but wasn’t sure about the overall. I was really pumped to take that win,” says Langston.
Heading into Snowshoe, defending U2 class champion Cliff Beasley was undefeated in 2012. However, his day ended short after a crash on lap two. Beasley’s misfortune allowed young North Carolina rider Jordan Phillips to take over the lead aboard his Renegade 800. He held on to notch his first U2 class victory and grab second overall in the morning race.
Kevin Trantham continued to dominate the 4×4 Lites class aboard his Outlander 500. He took over his class lead during the first lap and went unchallenged all the way to the finish to earn his seventh win of the season. Forrest Whorton claimed another class overall win, edging fellow Can-Am X-Team rider Mike Penland for the win in the 4×4 Senior division.
“I had a really solid race. The track was pretty tough, but I just did my best out there and I finished really well,” says Whorton.