Defending champ opens season with two wins
Chris Borich made it two wins in a row in the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series with an exciting victory at the Maxxis General GNCC – round two of the series in Washington, Ga.
Racing was close all day, with four riders going nose-to-trail for much of the two-hour race. Warnert Racing Can-Am’s Chris Bithell moved into the lead on the opening lap and held it for most of the day with Borich, Adam McGill and Brian Wolf following closely behind. However, on the final lap, Bithell and Borich broke away into their own personal battle for the lead.
With half a lap to go Borich made his move, cutting under Bithell in a sweeping turn on one of the fastest portions of the track. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider made the pass stick and held on to take the win by just three seconds over Bithell.
“That last lap I knew it was going to be pretty much a free for all,” says Borich. “I pulled up along side him a couple of times but he had a wheel on me so I let him go. Then when we got to the motocross track I went under him in one of the turns and took the lead.”
Bithell was in position to win this race last year, as well, but ran out of gas on the final lap. This year, he was at least able to come away with second place points after turning in a hard-fought and impressive performance.
“It was a good race,” says Bithell. “We fought back and forth all day, trying different lines, and he got the better of me. But I’ll be back to win one for sure.”
Third went to Bithell’s Can-Am teammate, Adam McGill, who was in contention for the win up until he lost touch with the leaders on the next to last lap when a lapper got between him and the Bithell/Borich battle.
“I didn’t start real good, but I put my head down and caught up with those guys and waited for a mistake,” says McGill.
Balance Racing Yamaha‘s Taylor Kiser finished fourth, a position he worked into after getting squeezed out in the second turn and starting the race near the back of the pack.
Honda rider Jarrod McClure ran near the front early on and finished just under 30 seconds behind Kiser for fifth, his best finish in over a year.
Johnny Gallagher was sixth ahead of fellow Yamaha rider and XC1 rookie Kevin Yoho, while Bryan Cook put his FRE KTM into eighth after grabbing the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award to start the race.
Honda riders Donnie Ockerman and Craig Bowman rounded out the top 10.
Wolf was credited with 14th after blowing an engine with a lap-and-a-half to go in the race. At the time the Honda rider was running with the lead pack.
In the XC2 division, Walker Fowler capitalized on a good start, took the early lead and then pulled away to an impressive win – his second of the year.
“We got the best start I’ve had in a long time and I went around the first corner in third,” says Fowler. “I took some smart lines and got into the lead at about the four-mile marker. After that we just dropped the hammer and here we are.”
Parker Jones finished second and claimed the $100 Motosport.com Holeshot Award, to boot, for getting the holeshot.
“You had to watch the mud holes and be smart out there,” says Jones. “I stayed with Fowler for a little while and then he left me. After that, I just told myself ‘I’m staying here in second and no one’s going to get it away from me.’”
Aarol Bright finished third in just his second race as a Pro-Am rider.
“I’m really stoked,” says Bright. “I got off to a horrible start and just had to work my way up all day.
Fourth went to another KTM rider, Richie Brown, while Honda rider Dustin Canipe finished fifth ahead of Yamaha-mounted Matt Hanna.
Patrick McGuire was seventh on a Yamaha, while Honda riders Eric Hoyland, Spencer Dickerson and Nathan Wallpe were eighth, ninth and 10th.
In the A.M. race, Dave Simmons got his first win of the year, beating Bryan Buckhannon and Clifton Beasley for the overall award.
“You had to be aggressive in the mud and attack it,” says Simmons. “I just kept nailing it and hitting it wide open and that was the key.”
Simmons also topped the Senior 50+ division, while Buckhannon took the top spot in the 4×4 Open class and Beasley won the U2 division. In the meantime, Traci Cecco topped the Women’s division and finished fourth overall.
Also in the A.M. race, Kevin Trantham was first in the 4×4 Lites class and seventh overall, while Jonathan Waddell won the Sportsman A class with a 10th overall finish.
Hunter Hart took the overall win in the morning Youth race despite losing his brakes on the second lap. It was Hart’s second win of the season and he beat out Blaine Martin in second and Randal Riden in third.
“I pulled the holeshot and just kind of checked out on the field,” says Hart. “I just charged as hard as I could and got the win.”
Hart also took the win in the 90 Open (8-11) class, while Martin topped the 90 Open (12-15) division.
In other Youth classes, Alyssa Oplinger won the Girls (8-15) class, Brendan Golding topped the 90 Limited (11-15) class and Brandon Frazier topped the 90 Modified (8-11) class.
In UTV competition, Team Polaris National Guard claimed the overall win and also topped the Open Modified division, beating out Customs Night Krawlers and Polaris Rath. Customs Night Krawlers and Polaris Rath were also second and third in the Open Modified class.
The Open Limited division was won by Travalena driving a Can-Am, with Racing Two Brothers (POL) and Wright Side Up (POL) finishing second and third.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Series returns to action on March 26th and 27th for round three of the series at the FMF Steele Creek GNCC, held in Morganton, South Carolina.
|GNCC XC1 Standings||GNCC XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||60 (2 wins)||1.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||60 (2 wins)|
|2.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||46||2.||Aarol Bright||KTM||39|
|3.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||43||3.||Parker Jones||Honda||35|
|4.||Adam McGill||Can-Am||39||4.||Eric Hoyland||Honda||34|
|5.||Jarrod McClure||Honda||31||5.||Dustin Canipe||Honda||32|
|6.||Bryan Cook||KTM||29||6.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||30|
|7.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||28||7.||Patrick McGuire||Yamaha||27|
|8.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||26||8.||Richie Brown||KTM||27|
|9.||Donald Ockerman||Honda||26||9.||Nathan Wallpe||Honda||25|
|10.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||20||10.||Matt Hanna||Yamaha||20|