Fowler's second place finish enough to secure 2016 GNCC championship
Racers and fans watched as CST/LSR/Induction Solutions/DeRisi/SG/Tire Blocks’s Adam McGill raced his way through the muddy 10-mile racecourse at the Polaris Ace Powerline Park GNCC to claim the overall win. Today, October 1, also played in favor for N-Fab/Maxxis/AmPro Yamaha/Lonestar/MXP’s Walker Fowler as he was able to wrap up his second National Championship at the twelfth round of the 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship.
As the famous “10 seconds” was called and the green flag waved it was Fowler who had the quick jump to earn the $250 Wiseco XC1 Pro Holeshot Award. The lead would be exchanged between Fowler to McGill only three turns into the race when Fowler made a small mistake.
The 1 p.m. pro race was the first race of the day to encounter the infamous Powerline Park mud hole jump. Once McGill landed he found himself in an unfavorable position, but quickly recovered to maintain the lead. As the remainder of the class filed through each had their struggles, but remained focused on trying to get around McGill.
“The first lap was pretty sketchy because we just didn’t know what was out there,” said McGill. “Both Walker and Chris were taking it really easy on the first lap and I didn’t really want to lead, but I ended up just going for it.”
McGill held onto the lead as they checked through timing and scoring for the first time, but he was feeling the pressure from Maxxis/Fly Racing/HMF/Ye Olde Cycle Barn/Suzuki’s Chris Borich and Fowler who were right on his rear wheels. Fowler’s hard hit on the mud hole jump resulted in a loss of goggles, and the Ohio native decided to pit on the first lap for a new pair of goggles.
Once he had clear vision Fowler caught back up to McGill and Borich and made the pass for the lead as the two-lap card was out. Even though the race had a new leader, the intensity remained the same where McGill was eager to take back the lead and Borich was looking to do the same.
With only one lap to go Fowler made the decision to pit for gas. He began to pull out before the pit stop was fully completed and this small mistake opened up the perfect opportunity for McGill to slide back into the lead position.
“We ran the whole first lap without goggles, and I just tried to ride through it,” said Fowler. “We elected to pit at the end of the first lap and try to use a pit strategy. Overall it was a struggle throughout the day, but it feels good to get this second championship after putting in so much work this season.”
The top three contenders were wheel-to-wheel for the remaining last lap, where Borich continued to apply pressure as Fowler tried to sneak a wheel in on McGill in the open field section. Throughout the entire two-hour race McGill, Fowler and Borich were never more than three seconds apart even as the crossed and saw checkered flag.
McGill’s impressive performance earned him his fifth overall win of the season, and while he may remain the runner-up in the championship standings this finish provided that McGill remains a top candidate for the season finale in just three weeks. Borich, who is still looking for his first win of the season, will also be ready for the Ironman GNCC.
“We were a lot better than last week,” said Borich. “We have been trying new things, and we had some problems at the Mountaineer Run GNCC, but we came back and regrouped. Obviously we didn’t win, but this was a big confidence booster so we are ready to play.”
The overall podium was made up by McGill, Fowler and Borich. Fowler’s podium finish vaulted him to the top and allowed him to secure the coveted National Championship at the penultimate round of the 2016 season. Fowler’s teammate, Cole Richardson, finished just off the podium in fourth after working his way from the back of the pack at the beginning of the race. JMR/ATVriders.com/DWT’s Jarrod McClure rounded out the top five overall.
Once the XC1 Pro class was off and rolling Tire Spine/DeRisi Racing/Spider Graphix’s jumped out to the early lead and earned the $100 All Balls Racing XC2 Pro-Am Holeshot Award. ITP/Ye Olde Cycle Barn/Walsh Racecraft’s Westley Wolfe would end up capturing the class win with Dillinger’s Celtic Pub & Eatery/GBC Motorsports/Moose Racing’s Marty Christofferson and Pierce Performance’s Cody Collier in tow in second and third.
Devon Feehan outshined all the amateurs in the 1 p.m. pro race with his ninth place overall finish. Feehan surpassed many of the XC1 Pro and XC2 Pro-Am competitors. Ithaca Recreation Sports/Maxxis/Seat Concepts/Quad Tech/Stormpeak Crossfit’s Hunter Hart and Jeff Miller rounded out the top amateur podium.
The 4×4 Pro division dominated the 10 a.m. race where Can-Am/DWT/Houser Racing/Elka Suspension/HMF’s Cody Miller crossed the finish line victorious. Right behind Miller was the number 744 and the Cunningham Racing/Can-Am/Spider Graphix/Gold Speed-backed rider of Kevin Cunningham whose second place finish earned him the National Championship. Can-Am/QuadBoss’ Bryan Buckhannon held onto third place.
After a hard fought season Pierce Performance’s Ronnie Rusch topped not only the Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) division for the first time, but also the amateur overall standings where he finished seventh overall to earn the $125 GT Thunder Overall Amateur Award.
After grabbing the holeshot, Can-Am/Chaney Racing/CT Race Worx/Maxxis/Fox Shocks’ Kyle Chaney continued to lead the UTV division until the checkered flag. With Can-Am/DWT/Houser Racing/Elka Suspension/HMF’s Cody Miller finishing second, the UTV National Championship remains undecided heading into the season finale Ironman GNCC. JB Off-Road/Can-Am’s Tim Farr held onto the third place position.
Defending WXC champion Angel Knox rose to occasion in the WXC division where she scored her first class win of the year. Teixeira Tech/KAhart Racing/Honda’s Kylie Ahart and Dillinger’s Celtic Pub/Spider Graphix/Custon Axis-backed Katelyn Osburn finished second and third respectively.
After nearly four months off, the Single-Seat UTV racers lined up on the start rows again. At the conclusion of the race it was Torey Rush standing in the middle spot of the box for the first time this season. Robert Boynton and Sam Yokely rounded out the overall podium in second and third.
The day kicked off with the 8 a.m. youth race where West Virginia natives filled the overall podium. Devin Corrothers, Haden Nicholson and Payton Dalton braved the muddy and slick conditions to claim the top three spots on the podium.
Both the 1 p.m. ATV Pro race and UTV race were broadcast LIVE in their entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as archived video online by visiting the GNCC LIVE page. A highlight show featuring the event will be broadcast on NBCSN on Saturday, December 10, at 2:30 p.m.
The season finale for the 2016 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series is set to take place in three weeks, October 29 and 30, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The world’s fastest off-road racers will converge on the historic Ironman Raceway for the 22nd Annual AMSOIL Ironman GNCC.
For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084.
Overall National Championship Standings
- Walker Fowler (326)
- Adam McGill (280)
- Chris Borich (244)
- Brycen Neal (199)
- Cole Richardson (187)
- Jarrod McClure (182)
- Landon Wolfe (145)
- Greg Covert (120)
- Josh Merritt (116)
- Marty Christofferson (114)