Ballance finishes second, increases lead in standings
Bryan Cook didn’t let his home state fans down when he grabbed the win at the Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in Yadkinville, NC on June 21.
The privateer Team Excell Motorsports Honda rider been running strong all year, but this was the first time he was able to pick up a victory, outlasting Yamaha’s Bill Ballance and ATVRiders.com’s Jarrod McClure.
“Man it feels so good,” says Cook. “I heard the fans cheering all day, every time you came around a corner there were people cheering.
“You know, it gives you some motivation over the winter when everyone is talking about everyone else, and they’re not talking about you. I wanted to get back up there and get my name back out there. Today I had a good start, and then Branden (Sommers), something must have happened and his engine just quit. I got lucky and I was able to get around. After that, I just kept my head down. I got a little fatigued but not too bad, and I held on.”
Cook took over the lead from Sommers mid-way through the race and held off a last-lap charge from Ballance.
“I knew a good start would be key today, and my Yamaha got me off the line quick,” says Ballance. “I pulled a little bit of a wheelie, so I had to clutch it and everyone got by me. I just put my head down. On the last lap I was getting pit boards that I was closing in, and I thought I might see Bryan up ahead. I was giving it everything I had, and I must have just barely clipped a tree. I went over the bars a bit.”
With his second-place finish, Ballance extended his Can-Am GNCC Series points lead over KTM’s Adam McGill, who crossed the finish line in fifth. McClure finished third, earning his first-ever XC1 Pro Class podium.
“It’s hard racing against these guys,” says McClure. “They have the big trucks and the equipment, we just have our little trailer, but we do what we can. Today I had a good start and I just stayed up there all day, didn’t make many big mistakes.”
Ryan Lane finished ahead of McGill in fourth, which was his best result of the season. After crashing in turn one, Rockstar Yoshimura Suzuki’s Chris Borich fought his way back through the field to finish sixth. Next came National Guard Honda’s William Yokley, who was fighting a clogged filter in the dust. KTM’s Taylor Kiser, XCBob.com’s Matt Smiley and Excell Motorsports’ Santo DeRisi rounded out the top 10.
Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers grabbed the ITP Holeshot Award and led the first lap, but a crash dropped him back to 11th.
In the XC2 Pro-Am Class, another North Carolina rider, Jeff Maloney, grabbed his first career win. Pennsylvania’s Tyler Lenig was a close second, with Ohio’s XC2 points leader Don Ockerman in third.
“I don’t live too far from here, and it was great having all of these locals out there cheering me,” says Maloney. “It was tough, Tyler (Lenig) was creeping up on me. Every time I looked back, he was right there.”
In the ATV morning race, Tom Clark Motorsports’ Honda’s Angel Atwell took her fourth win of the season, outdueling series rival Traci Cecco (factory Yamaha). Atwell’s niece Kristin finished third overall as the women’s class swept the podium again.
Bryan Buckhannon (Open 4×4) and Cliff Beasley (4×4 Lites) kept their perfect seasons alive with victories, while usual suspects Michael Swift (4×4 Limited) and Michael Benson (U2) won their classes. Buckhannon, Swift and Beasley rode Can-Am Outlanders, Benson was mounted on a Kawasaki KFX700.
Round nine of the Can-Am GNCC Series takes place July 5-6 in Somerset, Pa.
Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC:
XC1 Pro Class Standings:
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