As many as five different riders held the lead during a wet and wild Moose Mountain Ridge GNCC. However, after two hours of bar to bar racing, Yoshimura Suzuki's Chris Borich emerged with his fifth win of the season, adding to his already impressive points lead in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series.
A steady and sometimes driving rain moved in over Somerset, Pennsylvania, just as the flag dropped to start the afternoon race. And exiting the first turn with the lead was Yamaha rider Jeffrey Pickens. Following Pickens was a tightly spaced group consisting of Borich, Ballance Racing/Yamaha's Taylor Kiser, FRE KTM's Bryan Cook, and Warnert Racing Can-Am teammates Adam McGill and Chris Bithell.
During the first half of the race, Pickens, Borich, Kiser, McGill and Bithell, all held the lead at one point or another, although Bithell held the lead for the longest stint. However, after pulling his goggles off when they got covered with mud, Bithell caught a stick in the eye and pulled off the track to recover, leaving Kiser, Borich and McGill to battle for the win.
Heading into the final lap, Kiser held the lead, followed closely by McGill and Borich. But, as he has done several times already this year, Borich picked off his rivals one by one to take a hard-earned win - passing McGill on an uphill climb and Kiser in a slippery corner.
"This was a tough one. In these conditions you could go from first to fifth and back to first in a heartbeat," said Borich. "I was behind McGill and Kiser on the last lap, and I got a good line on McGill and passed him. Then I sat Kiser up and just held on for the win. This [win] is awesome. That last race [in North Carolina] - it just wasn't my day, but today was my day so I'm happy."
Kiser got off to one of the better starts of the year, but encountered problems on the opening lap and dropped to mid-pack, forcing him to work even harder to get back in touch with the leaders. After getting passed on the final lap by Borich, Kiser held on to take the runner-up position, his fifth such finish of the year.
"I was running second after the start, and then I got hung up in a mud hole and dropped back a ways. After that I just told myself to relax," said Kiser. "Once I relaxed, I was able to work my way back up to the front."
"All in all it, it was a good day," added Kiser. "Not quite the result I was looking for, but we'll get there."
McGill's third place finish made his fourth podium of the year, and he sits solidly in third overall in the series standings.
"That last lap was tough," said McGill. "The conditions were horrible, but we were in the hunt. Bithell was out front and Borich was behind him, and I knew if I kept them in check I knew I would be all right. So I kept pushing all day and tried to stay up front. I ended up getting stuck three or four times on the last lap. Me and Borich and Kiser went into a mud hole at the same time and the next thing I knew they were gone and I was stuck. In desperation I held it pinned for a good 30 minutes and came out third."
Bithell managed to salvage fourth, while Yamaha riders Don Ockerman, Johnny Gallagher, Brandon Sommers, and Jeffrey Pickens finished fifth through eighth.
Honda-mounted Sloan Jackson was ninth and Suzuki rider Todd Demaree was 10th.
After seven races, Borich leads the championship standings with 196 points, followed by Kiser with 173, McGill at 132 and Bithell with 114.
In the XC2 race, HMF's Brian Wolf got off to a quick start and held a solid lead for a good portion of the time, before encountering problems. In the meantime, Yamaha's Walker Fowler took advantage of Wolf's misfortune and claimed his third win of the year, while Yamaha riders Gabe Phillips and Mark Notman rounded out the podium with second and third place finishes, respectively.
|XC1 Standings||XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||196 (5 wins)||1.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||146 (3 wins)|
|2.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||173 (1 win)||2.||Brian Wolf||Honda||141 (2 wins)|
|3.||Adam McGill||Can-Am||132||3.||Josh Kirkland||KTM||136 (1 win)|
|4.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||114 (1 win)||4.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||134|
|5.||Don Ockerman||Yamaha||104||5.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||129 (1 win)|
|6.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||95||6.||Eric Hoyland||Yamaha||93|
|7.||Bryan Cook||KTM||85||7.||Dustin Canipe||Kawasaki||86|
|8.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||85||8.||Blake Kramer||Suzuki||85|
|9.||Brandon Sommers||Yamaha||78||9.||Mark Notman||Yamaha||83|
|10.||Jarrod McClure||Polaris||75||10.||Corbin Knox||Honda||74|