Can-Am Renegade 800R X xc ATV racer Bryan Buckhannon won the 4×4 Pro class and earned the top spot on the morning overall podium at round nine of the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country racing series. Can-Am amateur 4×4 racers also won three classes, as the 13-round national endurance series made its annual stop at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Snowshoe, WV.
“I think it’s fair to say that Bryan Buckhannon has found his groove with the Can-Am Renegade 800R, earning back-to-back wins and three victories in the last four rounds. His outstanding performance at a challenging Snowshoe GNCC, which pushed him into the 4×4 Pro class points lead, gives him momentum heading into the two-month break,” says Jeff Leclerc, Racing Project Leader, Can-Am. “Can-Am 4×4 amateur class racers continue to outdistance their competition, as Tanner Bowles, Nick Eichelberger and Terry Whitesides all own the class points lead at the break.”
The AMSOIL GNCC returned to the highly popular and picturesque Snowshoe Mountain Resort for round nine and a weekend of activities and off-road racing. The course, which dissects the rocky, steep, tree-lined slopes of Snowshoe, featured thick fog, mini mud runs, nasty rocks and a unique, multiple-row street-start. Racers were released in single rows of five on asphalt, sprinting to be the first into the woods. Once on the course, it was up to the racers to ride smart and both conquer and avoid the natural obstacles that define Snowshoe.
Buckhannon (ATV Parts Plus / Can-Am Renegade 800R), who trailed fellow Renegade pilot Kevin Trantham by seven points in the 4×4 Pro class rankings coming into Snowshoe, was on the gas in his home state. However, Buckhannon didn’t have the lead until lap five. Prior to that he was patiently tucked in second behind BNR Motorsports / Loctite / Can-Am Renegade pilot Rob Smith for the first three circuits and then another racer on lap four. Once the multi-time ATV 4×4 Open class champion jumped out front, he never let up and held the lead all the way to the finish, winning by more than six minutes.
“We had a great weekend on the Can-Am. It felt good to get another class win and my first overall at Snowshoe. The course was rough and I couldn’t have done it without my friends in the mud hole helping me find lines. Also, a huge thank you to my mechanics for prepping my quad for me,” says Buckhannon.
Smith ended up third on the class podium and also earned the third position on the 10 a.m. session morning overall podium. He now has four class podiums and two trips to the overall podium in ’14, and is third in the class points battle. Can-Am X-Team racer Jordan Phillips, who has two victories this year, finished one spot behind Smith. Trantham, who battled in the top three much of the day, ended up fifth. He fell to second in the point standings, trailing Buckhannon by just seven points.
“The track was crazy. I had a good start and felt awesome with the lead,” says Smith. “I got stuck a few times and that dropped me out of contention for the win. I had a great battle coming into the finish and am happy to have made the podium at such a tough race.”
Can-Am earned a sweep in the 4×4 A/B class, as class leader Tanner Bowles continued his near-perfect season with his eighth-consecutive victory. The West Virginia racer has made the podium at every round and essentially has locked up the class championship, tallying 179 points, eight wins and one second-place (opener) run. Bowles will move to the 4×4 Pro class after the break, giving Can-Am another threat in the premier 4×4 ranks. Joshua Trafelet and Cory Bartlett also put their Can-Am ATVs on the class podium.
Amateur racer Nick Eichelberger kept his winning streak alive, earning the 4×4 C class win at round nine. Eichelberger has won the last three rounds and all five times he has entered. He has climbed to second place in the class standings despite missing four rounds. The final victory earned by Can-Am was by Nate Luther of Pennsylvania, who edged Can-Am racers Chris Bragg and Terry Whitesides for 4×4 Sr. (40+) class win. Whitesides, who has four wins this year, maintained his points lead going into round 10.