Ballance clinches ninth GNCC championship
Yamaha pilot wins fourth race of season in Ohio
Story by ATV.com Staff, Photography by Jason Hooper, Oct. 14, 2008
Bill Ballance dominated Saturday's ITP Power Line GNCC at Power Line Park and, in the process, clinched his ninth GNCC ATV Championship.
Ballance took the lead early in the two-hour event en route to the checkered flag. The event was the 12th round of the 13-race Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series (GNCC).
“I got a good start, was able to get into the lead and ride away,” says Ballance. “I’m just now healed up from my injuries and it felt good to just ride without pain. My crew and all the fans were telling me where I was and I just tried to ride smooth and have fun.”
Ballance’s race was largely uneventful as he assumed the early lead and quickly established a large gap between himself and newly crowned XC2 champion Don Ockerman, who was competing in his first ever XC1 race and surprised everyone, including himself.
“I never even dreamed about racing in the Pro class when I got into this sport,” says Ockerman. “Now, I’m up here on the podium and I can’t believe it. I got a great start and was leading it for a while. I just went for it. Then, I made a mistake and Bill got by me so I tried to settle in and stay up there.”
While Ballance and Ockerman put their Yamahas out front the best racing of the afternoon took place between Suzuki’s Chris Borich and KTM’s Adam McGill. McGill had trouble early, but charged through the pack to challenge Borich throughout the last lap. The two were wheel to wheel at the checkered flag with Borich getting the nod for the final podium spot.
“I had a decent start and just started picking guys off one at a time,” says Borich. “I was pretty comfortable in third until I crashed on the last lap. My goggles were dirty, I hit a big mud hole and went down. When I got up I saw McGill coming and knew I had to get going again quick.”
The day, however, belonged to Ballance. His ninth title further cements his status as the all-time king of GNCC ATV racing. Ballance held his daughter and his shiny new 2008 Can Am GNCC No. 1 plate on the podium.
“Yamaha congratulates Bill for another historic win,” says Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS marketing manager. “His dominance proves how tough he is mentally and physically, and the way he wins – with poise and character – is truly something special.”
GT Thunder Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers took the ITP Holeshot Award for the second week in a row in the XC1 Class and raced to an 11th-place finish.
In the XC2 Pro-Am Class, Honda mounted Mark Notman took the Rekluse Holeshot Award, and rode well to a runner-up finish.
Yamaha’s Traci Cecco earned the ATVRiders.com Morning Race Overall Victory, and also won the Women’s class over Angel Atwell and Lexie Coulter. Cecco was racing without rear brakes for most of the race. Both Cecco and Atwell experienced crashes on their way to the win and runner-up finishes.
Josh Merritt won the Youth ATV Race ahead of Jerry Welch and Mathew Harris.
The 2009 Can-Am GNCC Series wraps up with the Klotz Ironman GNCC Oct. 24-25.
Can-Am GNCC Round 12 Results:
Can-Am GNCC Series Standings: