Five wins in six races for defending champion
Defending champion Chris Borich has looked all but unbeatable so far in the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. His success continued this past weekend as he used another late pass to win the Limestone 100, securing his fifth win in six races to take a commanding lead in the race for the XC1 championship.
Bowers/Coastal National Guard/Yokley Racing’s Jarrod McClure grabbed his second $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season through the windy turns of the Lawrence County Recreational Park, but some early carnage with AMA ATV Motocross Pro Derek Swartfager caused McClure to drop back a few positions. Swartfager got sideways heading into the woods and tagged a tree, stopping up a majority of the XC1 field behind. That’s when GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher, JG Offroad/FRE/American Honda’s Brian Wolf and BNR’s Kevin Yoho made their escape from the pack and began pulling a gap early on.
Wolf took over the lead on the opening lap and there began the intense battle amongst the top seven riders. Precision/Moto X Perts/ITP/Lonestar/RG Motorsports’ Adam McGill, Walker Fowler, Taylor Kiser and McClure pitted against one another right away and Maxxis/Yoshimura’s Chris Borich came into the mix around lap 3.
“I had a decent start and the guy who was leading bumped a tree and I went from a halfway decent start to almost last,” says Borich.
The Ballance Racing Yamaha duo of Fowler and Kiser pitted around the halfway point and opened the door for Wolf and McClure to chase the leaders of McGill and Borich. In the midst of the intense freight train action, the top contenders made it a point to show the spectators just how much fun they were having on the course.
McClure put himself within striking distance of the leaders in the second half of the race and it appeared that he might grab his first podium finish of the year, until he began experiencing mechanical issues on the fourth lap. This marks yet another mechanical issue for McClure this season, but he still holds tenth overall in the standings with two fourth place finishes so far.
Motoworks/Can-Am’s Chris Bithell was another rider that got caught in the early carnage, but the Pennsylvania rider made his way up to the top five battles by the halfway point. Bithell came through Pro Row on the final lap inside a podium position, but Kiser ended up taking away the third place spot.
McGill fell into the lead around lap two and held off the defending champ for a solid three laps before Borich pulled his signature move and blasted into the lead with only one lap to go.
“I tell you what, Racer Productions did an awesome job with the track today, it was by far one of the best tracks I’ve been on. It really suits my style because it’s fast and slick and you can rail the berms,” says Borich.
Borich pulled a sizeable gap on McGill’s second place ride on lap five, but McGill never let up as he kept himself within striking distance of the defending champ. McGill came through the finish less than 30 seconds behind Borich, admittedly losing wind towards the end of the race.
“I liked the track today, it was more my style. I went as hard as I could and towards the end there I started to hit a wall,” says McGill. “But two more weeks and we’re going to be in my neck of the woods and it’s going to be my time to win here soon!”
Waynesburg Yamaha’s Gabe Phillips took his third XC2 Pro Am win of the season, bringing him within only three points of the newest points leader Braden Henthorn. DeRisi Racing’s Henthorn came in second place behind Phillips in XC2, just ahead of Greg’s ATV & Cycle’s Matt Hanna. Hanna’s third place finish puts him in fifth place overall, behind Eric Hoyland (fourth) and Patrick McGuire (fifth), who both experienced bad luck in Indiana. McGuire got caught up in some first corner carnage, while Hoyland experienced some mechanical issues that kept him from finishing the race.
Indiana local Fred Marley took home the Junior A (22+) class win, and also grabbed the Top Amateur Award, beating out Ohio’s Brycen Neal. Neal contested the top amateur position throughout the two-hour competition and managed to grab another win in the College A (16-21) class.
GT Thunder’s Dave Simmons topped the AM overall once again, besting an entire field of the best amateur and 4×4 racers in the country, and taking home yet another Super Senior (45+) win. But it was actually former XC1 Pro Donnie Ockerman who topped Simmons in the overall, making his first return to GNCC since the 2011 season finale at Loretta Lynn’s. Ockerman took the Sportsman A/B class victory, with a self-proclaimed enjoyable experience in the two-hour competition. Can-Am X-Team’s Bryan Buckhannon not only bested the 4×4 division, but also finished second overall and grabbed the class win in the 4×4 Open division. Pennsylvania’s Angel Atwell landed the final spot on the overall podium and took her third Women’s class win of the season. Atwell and Yamaha Racing’s Traci Cecco now share three wins a piece heading into round seven in two weeks.
Usual AM front-runners Kevin Trantham and Marshal Goings experienced mechanical issues in the early stages of the race, taking both riders out of contention for overall podium finishes this weekend.
Shelbyville, Indiana’s Charlie Welch took his first Youth overall win of the season this weekend in front of his hometown crowd. Welch has been switching off wins with North Carolina’s Matt Owen all season and his hometown win put the Indiana boy into the 90 Mod (13-15) CVT class lead with seven rounds to go. Zachary Jones grabbed another 90 Open (12-15) class win ahead of defending Youth champ Hunter Hart, as the duo made up the rest of the overall podium. Hart is still recovering from a leg injury and managing to salvage championship points along the way.
Round seven of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Masontown, W. Va. May 12 and 13 for the Mountaineer Run GNCC.
|2012 GNCC XC1 Standings||2012 GNCC XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||171||1.||Braden Henthorn||Honda||129|
|2.||Adam McGill||Honda||117||2.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||126|
|3.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||112||3.||Patrick McGuire||Yamaha||118|
|4.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||103||4.||Eric Hoyland||Honda||115|
|5.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||98||5.||Matt Hanna||Yamaha||95|
|6.||Brian Wolf||Honda||80||6.||Michael Lancaster||Honda||83|
|7.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||79||7.||Joshua Merritt||Yamaha||65|
|8.||Jeff Pickens||Yamaha||78||8.||Blake Kramer||Yamaha||63|
|9.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||77||9.||Nathan Thomas||Honda||58|
|10.||Jarrod McClure||Honda||76||10.||Nathan Wallpe||Honda||57|