Taylor Kiser went toe-to-toe with defending champion Chris Borich in the final stages of the FMF Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, NC and secured his first win of 2012.
The Ballance Racing Yamaha team dominated almost every aspect of the two-hour race, beginning with Walker Fowler's $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award. Kiser joined Baldwin Motorsports/FRE/JG Offroad Honda's Brian Wolf and Motoworks/Can-Am's Chris Bithell in following his teammate during the early stages of the race, as the foursome switched off the lead during the first lap.
Maxxis/Yoshimura's Chris Borich (Suzuki) found himself in a less-desirable position as he struggled to fire his machine on the start, while Precision/Moto X Perts/ITP/Lonestar/RG Motorsports' Adam McGill also experienced issues, setting the duo back nearly one minute behind the lead pack.
Bithell found himself in front after Fowler, Wolf and Kiser all pitted towards the end of the second lap, but Bithell quickly reversed roles as his Can-Am crew pitted him the following lap, knocking him from first to sixth. Meanwhile, Borich and McGill had pushed each other through the pack and into the lead mix, igniting yet another battle for the GNCC Racing history books.
Kiser took command about one hour into the race, but it was only a matter of time before Borich made his signature attempt to steal it away in the late minutes of racing.
On the final lap, Kiser and Borich charged into the finish line area, where Borich cut inside to gain ground on the leader, but Kiser railed the outside and the two riders made contact just before the next set of turns. This is where Borich made a final attempt to steal back the lead but came up a little short this time, sending himself end-over-end to the ground. Kiser went on to secure his first XC1 Pro class win since his 2010 victory at The General.
"I was able to hold Borich off there at the end, I just held my line and we came together but racing is racing," says Kiser. "Today was a lot of fun and the Ballance Racing team is here to stay! We're ready to get some more race wins this season.
McGill capitalized on Borich's mistake at the end of the race, taking over the second place position after an impressive comeback, moving into the third spot in the point standings. "The factory family is definitely coming together. I should be a threat [to the championship] before long," McGill said. Borich still tops the standings, while Kiser holds second.
"I tried to make the pass on Kiser there at the end of the race but it didn't quite work out for me," says Borich. "We'll take a podium finish, though, and look forward to round four."
Fowler finished fourth on the day and currently sits in fourth overall, while Bithell's sixth place puts him in fifth overall, just ahead of Brian Wolf, who finished fifth on the day. Jarrod McClure (Honda) took seventh, while Kevin Yoho (Yamaha), Jeff Pickens (Yamaha) and Johnny Gallagher (Yamaha) rounded out the top ten.
Rookie Braden Henthorn secured his first career Pro Am win amongst a very competitive slate of XC2 racers. Waynesburg Yamaha's Gabe Phillips and DeRisi Racing's Eric Hoyland got out front early on but Matt Hanna (Yamaha) and Patrick McGuire (Yamaha) held tight inside the top five early on. Hanna ended up dropping off during the fourth lap and Phillips went on to take second on the day, followed by Hoyland, McGuire and Josh Merritt (Yamaha) rounding out the top five.
New York's Roman Brown grabbed the Top Amateur honors with an impressive nineteenth overall in the afternoon race, securing the College A (16-21) win over Chad Jones, Landon Wolfe and Brycen Neal.
Wilson GT Thunder's Dave Simmons (Yamaha) topped the morning race, with Indiana's Marshall Goings (Honda) close behind. Can-Am X-Team's Kevin Trantham finished third overall and also took the top 4X4 honors, in addition to securing his third consecutive win in the 4X4 Lites class. Lexie Coulter took the Women's class holeshot, but it was Angel Atwell (Honda) who finished out front, as Yamaha Racing's Traci Cecco came in a very close third.
South Carolina's Zachary Jones (Apex) topped the Youth overall as well the 90 Open (12-15) class, beating out (8-11) winner Carter Kerens (Yamaha), and fellow (12-15) competitor Seth Wilson (Yamaha).
Round four of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Union, SC, April 14-15 for the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC.
|2012 GNCC XC1 Standings||2012 GNCC XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||81||1.||Patrick McGuire||Yamaha||73|
|2.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||64||2.||Eric Hoyland||Honda||60|
|3.||Adam McGill||Honda||57||3.||Braden Henthorn||Honda||58|
|4.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||57||4.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||55|
|5.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||52||5.||Joshua Merritt||Yamaha||42|
|6.||Brian Wolf||Honda||44||6.||Nathan Thomas||Honda||41|
|7.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||40||7.||Michael Lancaster||Honda||39|
|8.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||40||8.||Matt Hanna||Yamaha||35|
|9.||Derek Swartfager||Honda||37||9.||Dallas Goins||Honda||32|
|10.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||33||10.||Blake Kramer||Yamaha||32|