Defending champ starts 2016 off on a high note
Defending champion Walker Fowler picked up where he left off, winning the Moose Racing Wild Boar GNCC to open the 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship.
Fowler (N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar/MXP ) jumped out to an early lead, grabbing the $250 Wiseco XC1 ATV Holeshot Award. As the XC1 Pro class headed into the woods it looked as if the new season was setting up to be a repeat of 2015. CST/LSR/Induction Solutions/DeRisi/SG/Tire Blocks-backed Adam McGill was right on Fowler’s back fender as they took to the Florida woods.
“When we got through the first turn and I saw McGill beside me I was just thinking we were going to pick up right where we left off,” said Fowler. “Once I saw that Neal was behind me I tried to keep just enough of a gap so that he wouldn’t see the exact lines I was taking. Neal kept me honest, but it feels good to take the early points lead.”
Fowler ended up leading every lap of the race with Coastal Racing/MSR/Maxxis’ Brycen Neal behind him in second. Throughout the race there was a consistent 20-second gap between the two. Neal eventually earned the silver.
“This off-season was a learning experience,” said Neal. “Everything started clicking this past month and today really proved that I can be a championship contender.”
Off the start, six-time GNCC National Champion Chris Borich had issues getting off the line, where he was forced to make his way through the pack on the opening lap. Borich and McGill battled throughout the middle of the race, but Borich eventually passed McGill and took the last podium position.
“I was hoping to get a good start, but my bike didn’t fire up and I was pretty much dead last,” said Borich. “After we got in the woods it was a struggle, but as the race continued I started feeling better and was able to work my way to third.”
JMR/ATVriders.com’s Jarrod McClure was able to sneak his way past McGill on the last lap where he crossed the checkers in fourth with McGill right on his tail in fifth.
BNR/Moose Racing/Maxxis-backed Josh Merritt came in an impressive sixth, followed by GBC/HMF/FLY Racing/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher in eighth, N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Cole Richardson in ninth and Show Hauler/Canyon Motorsports/GBC-backed Landon Wolfe rounded out the top ten overall.
Higer Suspension/Waynesburg Yamaha/FLY Racing/Moto-Xperts/Spider Graphics’ Greg Covert recently made the switch to XC2 Pro-Am where he quickly adjusted to the ultracompetitive class. The New York native had to work quickly to pass Ye Olde Cycle Barn/Walsh/Hetrick Racing’s Westley Wolfe, who led the first lap. Wolfe managed to hold on to second place at the checkers, followed by Independent Cycles/Shockworx Motorsports/Variom’s Matthew Lindle in third.
“All my off-season training paid off,” said Covert. “Getting my first win feels great and I can’t think my team enough for working so hard to get me here.”
Fast Traxx/Spider Graphics/MTM/Pierce Performance’s Levi Coen took home the $100 All Balls Racing XC2 Pro-Am Holeshot Award, but unfortunately suffered some issues on the first lap and ultimately finished 14th in the XC2 Pro-Am class.
Ithaca Recreation Sports/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/Quad Tech’s Hunter Hart not only won the College A (16-21) division, but also finished 13th overall where he was named the top amateur.
The ATV Youth racers officially kicked off the 2016 season with their 8 a.m. race. At the end of the hour it was Georgia’s Dylan Walraven in first, Yamaha rider Joey Ocel in second and New York native Mikey Nickels in third.
Team UXC Racing’s Michael Swift’s hard work paid off during the offseason where he found himself sporting gold on the podium following the two-hour 10 a.m. race. His teammate, Kevin Trantham, followed in second and Indiana native Kevin Cunningham rounded out the top three 4×4 Pros.
Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) competitor, John Glauda Jr., rode an excellent race where he not only won his class but also finished third overall. His impressive finish earned him the $125 GT Thunder ATV Amateur Overall Award.
New York’s Kara Frederick found herself on the top spot of the box in the WXC class followed by Honda rider Kamren Bobb and West Virginia native Tori Fryer.
The 2016 AMSOIL GNCC Series resumes next weekend, March 12 and 13, at the brand-new Maxxis Cannonball GNCC in Sparta, Ga.
2016 GNCC National Championship Standings
- Walker Fowler (30)
- Brycen Neal (25)
- Chris Borich (21)
- Jarrod McClure (18)
- Adam McGill (16)
- Josh Merritt (15)
- Greg Covert (14)
- Johnny Gallagher (13)
- Cole Richardson (12)
- Landon Wolfe (11)