Defending Champion Chris Borich continues to dominate the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, claiming his third win in four races at the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC in Union, SC on Saturday, April 10.
Borich's M.O. this year has been to come from behind, and today was no different, as the Yoshimura Suzuki rider got off to a so-so start and then carved his way to the front, passing Ballance Racing/Yamaha's Taylor Kiser with less than a lap to go to take the win.
"I worked hard for this one," says Borich. "I saw the white flag and I decided it was time to go, but there was not much room for passing out there and Taylor was going really well."
For the final two laps, Kiser and Borich were never more than a few lengths apart, and their fierce battle carried them to a healthy cushion over third place, which at first was held by FRE KTM's Bryan Cook, and then later by Can-Am's Adam McGill. Kiser might have held on for the win had Borich not saved an ace up his sleeve for the final lap.
"On the previous lap, I saw this line going down a hill and I gained a lot of ground on Kiser there. I knew if I could find it again then I could make a pass there," says Borich. "On the last lap, I saw the line and I just held it wide open and got around him him."
Kiser held on to finish in the runner-up position, two seconds behind Borich, while McGill claimed his second podium of the year with a third, the West Virginian passing Cook and Can-Am teammate Chris Bithell late in the race to do so.
"The dust was pretty bad and after I got a bad start I knew I would have to stay right on those guys if I wanted to get around them," says McGill. "I just tried to make passes where I could, and on the final lap I caught up with Cook and then he pitted and I ended up getting him at the start/finish. Then I caught Bithell and he ended up waving me by - I don't know if he was having problems or what, but I thank him."
Cook, who claimed the holeshot to start the race, finished fourth, ahead of Bithell, while Yamaha riders Jeffrey Pickens, Don Ockerman and Johnny Gallagher were sixth, seventh and eighth. Honda riders Harold Goodman and Sloan Jackson rounded out the top 10.
The win gives Borich a 10-point lead in the series standings over Kiser with four rounds of 13 now in the book.
In the XC2 race, FRE KTM's Josh Kirkland grabbed the holeshot, but gave up the lead when he got a limb stuck under his foot peg. At that point, HMF's Brian Wolf took control of the race. However, a bent rear axle late in the race foiled the Honda rider's impressive ride and allowed Yamaha's Walker Fowler to take the lead. Fowler made the most of Wolf's generosity and pulled away to his second win of the series.
"When I caught up to Brian I could hear his bike and that was the best sound I heard all day," says Fowler, who was 53 seconds behind Wolf heading into the final lap. "After that start in Florida, it feels good to get my second win."
Despite the bent axel, Wolf still came home with an impressive runner-up finish.
"After the two-lap board came out, it was real dusty and I hit a stump and went over the bars," explained Wolf. "I made the best of the situation and I think the key to this championship is going to be consistency, so I'm glad to get a second."
Kirkland passed Yamaha-mounted Kevin Yoho on the final lap to finish third, while Yoho and Suzuki rider Blake Kramer rounded out the top five.
With four rounds down and nine to go, Wolf holds an impressive lead in the series standings over Yoho, 110 to 80. Meanwhile, Fowler (77), Kirkland (76), and Parker Jones (68) sit third through fifth.
In the morning race, Dave Simmons won the GT Thunder ATV Amateur $100 Overall Award, beating out FRE KTM's Angel Atwell and Yamaha rider Kristen Atwell. During the early going, Simmons survived a tough battle with fellow Super Senior 50+ rider Glen Pritchard. However, Pritchard fell midway into the race.
"It was pretty tight in the beginning, battling with Pritchard," says Simmons. "There are some dusty kickers out there and I think he hit one of those and broke his collar bone.'
In the Open Modified UTV division, Team Costal Drilling 2 took the win, topping Team Stephens and Team Starrett. All teams in this class were driving Polaris.
In the Lites Modified class, Team Haymaker (KAW) topped Team Puttrick (YAM) and Team Faith (YAM).
|XC1 Standings||XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||115 (3 wins)||1.||Brian Wolf||Honda||110 (2 wins)|
|2.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||105 (1 win)||2.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||80|
|3.||Adam McGill||Can-Am||68||3.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||77 (2 wins)|
|4.||Bryan Cook||KTM||62||4.||Josh Kirkland||KTM||76|
|5.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||59||5.||Parker Jones||Honda||68|
|6.||Bill Ballance||Yamaha||58||6.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||58|
|7.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||57||7.||Dustin Canape||Kawasaki||55|
|8.||Don Ockerman||Yamaha||52||8.||Blake Kramer||Suzuki||50|
|9.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||52||9.||Eric Hoyland||Yamaha||41|
|10.||Jarrod McClure||Polaris||47||10.||Josh Beavers||KTM||41|