Anybody still worrying about Bill Ballance’s poor start on the 2008 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series can probably stop. Ballance rode his Yamaha YFZ450 to his third consecutive win on June 1 in Sparta, Ky.
KTM’s Adam McGill, who was leading the XC1 Pro points chase heading into the Sparta race, had mechanical problems and failed to finish. Ballance now holds a 14-point lead over McGill.
“Man it feels good to win in front of so many friends and family,” says Ballance. “These were my type of conditions. It was hard and fast and I was able to have fun.”
Fellow Yamaha rider Brandon Sommers finished second to Ballance, while The National Guard/Honda rider William Yokley crossed the finish line in third for his second podium of the season.
Ballance started the day by grabbing the $100 ITP Holeshot Award, but trouble on the first lap saw the eight-time defending GNCC Champion fall to the back of the top ten. From there he put on a charge and took the lead halfway through the race, and then held off a strong challenge from Sommers and Yokley on the final lap to take the win.
Team Excell Motorsports Bryan Cook put together another solid day of riding, coming from mid-pack to finish fourth, one spot ahead of ATVRiders.com-backed Jarrod McClure.
As for McGill, he held the lead early in the race and battled with the lead pack for a podium finish on the last lap. With about three miles to go in the event, trouble set it.
“I had a stick jammed in the A-arm and the wheel and everything, so I had to stop and rip it out,” says McGill. “I took off in fourth and hooked up with Brandon Sommers and trained off of him. All of a sudden I heard a squealing noise, and I realized it was the chain coming off of the sprocket. So I slammed it into reverse so the chain would go back on, but I ended up sheering all of the sprocket bolts out. They’re hardened steel bolts. They’ve never done that before.”
GT Thunder Yamaha’s Don Ockerman topped the XC2 Pro-Am class for the sixth time in seven races this season and also finished an impressive sixth overall. Josh Kirkland finished second, while David Crane secured the final spot on the podium.
In the morning race, Yamaha’s Traci Cecco won the ATVRiders.com Morning Race Overall. Once again, Kawasaki KFX700 rider Michael Benson pushed hard and nearly pulled off the win, but ended up second, with Angel Atwell third on her Tom Clark Motorsports Honda.
Weekend Warrior Spartan GNCC:
XC1 Pro Class Standings:
Ballance edges McGill in Ohio