With only five days to regroup after the opening round of racing, the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series returned to action for round two at The Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, Ga. It was an all-out battle for the podium positions, as the top seven ATV racers ran nose-to-tail for six laps of the grueling two-hour race.
Three time and defending ATV champion, Chris Borich, used his veteran knowledge to once again outmatch his opponents and secure the win at Aonia Pass MX Park. It wasn't until XC1 rookie Walker Fowler ran into late-race mechanical issues that Borich was able to breathe easily, though.
At the beginning of the race we were just having fun, I mean Wolf lead there for a little bit, says Borich. I passed him and he would pass me back and we joked around quite a bit. It was a fun time out there, I got to ride with pretty much all the top guys and it was just a fun time.
Ballance Racing Yamaha's Walker Fowler took the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award, leading the way early in the race. For the first three laps, it was a seven-rider freight train, showing leaders from almost every brand of machine. Early on, it was the Baldwin Motorsports/FRE/JG Offroad Honda of Brian Wolf, battling Maxxis/Yoshimura's Chris Borich (Suzuki), with GBC/Cernic's Yamaha-backed Johnny Gallagher and Precision/Moto X Perts/ITP/Lonestar/RG Motorsports' Adam McGill (Honda) in close tow, until McGill lost his front brakes and a front wheel bearing causing him to be sidelined the rest of the day.
And then there was Ballance Racing Yamaha's Taylor Kiser, who put in a gutsy second-place performance, while still on the mend from the shoulder injury that kept him from being a contender at round one.
The last lap of racing was arguably the most exciting yet, as Fowler and Borich dueled into the final turns, resulting with Fowler collapsing just after the finish.
I actually passed Borich where nobody could see, there was a little patch of woods right before we came out by the finish line, says Fowler. I got cross-rutted and about flipped and he passed me back, I popped over a small hill, the quad shut off and when I landed it wouldn't start again. I finally figured out it wasn't going to start and that's when we starting pushing toward the finish line.
Motoworks/Can-Am rider Chris Bithell was in the mix all day, ultimately crossing the line in the fifth position just behind a still recovering Brian Wolf. GT Thunder/ Waynesburg Yamaha's Jeff Pickens rebounded from a disappointing mechanical issue in Florida to secure the sixth position and ran within the lead pack for much of the race.
The morning race featured a back-and-forth contest between GT Thunder's Dave Simmons and Traci Cecco (Yamaha) for the overall lead. Simmons came out on top adding yet another overall finish to his collection. Eight time Women's champion Cecco took the early Women's class lead and stretched it to more than four minutes on DeRisi Racing's Kylie Ahart as the race progressed. Kevin Trantham (Can-Am) split the two Yamaha riders on the overall podium with his 4x4 Lites class win.
The 2012 UTV schedule kicked of this weekend as well, with Polaris National Guard's William Yokely taking the overall win in commanding fashion over Motoworks/Can-Am's Kyle Chaney and Coastal Racing/National Guard driver Scott Kiger.
Hunter Hart (Cobra) once again topped the youth overall ahead of fellow 90 Mod (12-15) competitors Cody Collier (Yamaha) and Seth Wilson (Yamaha).
Round three of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Morganton, NC, Mar. 31 and Apr. 1 for The FMF Steele Creek GNCC.