Suzuki rider tames tough Florida track
Despite the fact that he’s riding a new machine and on a new team, Chris Borich looked as comfortable as ever in winning The Triton, the first round of the 2008 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series at the Kempfer Ranch in Melbourne, Fla. on March 2.
This was Borich’s first race as a member of Rockstar/Yoshimura Suzuki team. He rode his Suzuki QuadRacer R450 to a commanding victory, finishing nearly two minutes ahead of Honda’s Bryan Cook. Eight-time GNCC champion Bill Ballance crossed the finish line in third.
“I came down here a few months ago to get ready, and I tried and tried to break this thing and I couldn’t,” says Borich of his new quad. “The track was much rougher than in the past. Palmetto roots everywhere, heat, holes, trees, it was a tough one.”
Borich was jostled a bit off the start then steadily picked off riders, and passed into the lead on lap two.
“The early leaders got tired pretty quickly and I was able to get past them,” says Borich. “Once I got into the lead – I just took off.”
Cook was thrilled with his second-place finish after earning just one podium all last season.
“I brought in a lot of new people this year, some of the people who I used to work with back in my amateur days,” says Cook. “I didn’t know how my conditioning would be. I was done. My hands were bad. I just had to dig deep. My hands were so torn up I could barely hold on to the bars.”
Ballance started the race by grabbing the ITP Holeshot award, and then battled at the front of the pack before crashing mid-way through the race.
“I was trying to reserve some energy, but I think I was in reserve too long,” says Ballance. “Down here in Florida it’s always hard to guess how much to reserve, because it’s such tough terrain. I was running in second or third place, and I had a pretty good crash. I was laying on my back and had the wind knocked out of me. So I had to just start pushing as hard as I could and I was able to get this Yamaha up here on the podium.”
KTM was making its GNCC debut and though it missed out on the podium, Taylor Kiser and Adam McGill put on a good show, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
“I longed for straight-aways today because it was the best place to pass,” says McGill. “Once I gave it gas down a long straight nobody could catch me on my KTM.”