It probably took a little longer than he expected, but Adam McGill finally earned his first victory of the season at the ITP Powerline Park GNCC in eastern Ohio, Round 11 of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. Walker Fowler was nipping at McGill’s heels and fighting until the end, finishing just one second behind at the checkers.
Ballance Racing Yamaha's Fowler kicked off Saturday's afternoon race with high intensity, battling Waynesburg Yamaha's Jeff Pickens for the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award but it was Pickens who came out on top with his first holeshot of the season. However, Fowler was able to put himself out front on the opening lap and JG Offroad/FRE/American Honda's Brian Wolf tucked in behind as the two began to gap the field early on. Wolf slowly faded back as riders like four-time GNCC champ Chris Borich continued to move towards the front.
Borich has had a target on his back all season long and although the Maxxis/Yoshimura rider wrapped up the 2012 title last round, the pressure to win races still exists. Borich quickly made his way to the front after a mid-pack start and by Lap 2 was dicing back and forth with Fowler, McGill and Chris Bithell for the lead position. Borich, Fowler and McGill each held the lead at one point or another but perhaps the biggest turning point came on the final lap when Borich experienced mechanical issues that took him out of the race for the first time in the 2012 season. Upon Borich dropping out of the race, McGill and Fowler focused on the intense two-way battle for the lead.
Precision Motorsports/Lonestar Racing/Moto X Perts' Adam McGill has been plagued with mechanical issues and injury for nearly half the season, so his Round 11 victory could not have come at a better time. Although Fowler led a majority of the two-hour race, McGill was able to capitalize on some last-lap mistakes to secure his first win of the season.
"It's been a tough season for us," says McGill. "We're like a factory team trying to do this on a family budget so it feels really good to know that I can come out here and still get a win like this."
Bithell secured his fourth podium finish this season for the Motoworks/Can-Am team after being within striking distance of the win all afternoon. Bowers/Coastal National Guard/Yokley Racing's Jarrod McClure ran fifth for a majority of the race but McClure took advantage of Borich's misfortune as he moved into the fourth place position on the final lap. But it wasn't without a fight from fellow Ohio rider Brian Wolf. With one lap to go, Wolf and McClure turned it up a notch and put on one of the most exciting battles of the day. McClure ultimately bested Wolf for fourth, while Wolf took home a solid fifth place finish.
It wasn't a desirable day for Ballance Racing Yamaha's Taylor Kiser, who never made it ahead of fifth place all afternoon. Kiser's sixth place finish gives Fowler a bigger advantage in the overall point standings. GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha's Johnny Gallagher kept his top 10 streak alive as he finished seventh behind Kiser. BNR's Kevin Yoho ran into some mechanical issues on the final lap, ultimately finishing eighth place. Ohio's Mark Notman had a standout performance in his home state, finishing ninth place in the XC1 division, just ahead of Craig Bowman, who rounded out the top 10.
DeRisi Racing's Braden Henthorn landed his third win of the season in the highly competitive XC2 Pro Am division. Henthorn was able to match points leader Pat McGuire's number of wins this season, but it's still McGuire who holds the overall lead in the XC2 championship standings.
DeRisi Racing's Eric Hoyland was eager to go racing as he jumped the start a little too early before shooting to the first corner in the lead. Hoyland was held for a 30-second penalty at the end of Lap 1, therefore giving McGuire the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award by default aboard his Tireballs-backed machine.
Ohio's Josh Merritt had a breakout performance in his home state of Ohio as he took his first-ever XC2 Pro Am podium finish. What began with a back-of-the-pack start turned into a personal milestone for Merritt as he worked his way to the podium from outside the top 10. Greg's ATV & Cycles' Matt Hanna challenged the lead early on but eventually fell back to fourth, where he finished for the day. Eric Hoyland rounded out the top five in the XC2 Pro Am division.
Maryland's Landon Wolfe finished an impressive ninth place overall in the afternoon racing, giving him the Top Amateur Award over College A (16-24) class runner-up Marshal Goings. Wolf's performance landed him ahead of Henthorn and the rest of the Pro Am division on the adjusted time clock, an impressive feat for the young gun.
For the first time this season, GT Thunder's Dave Simmons didn't end his day atop the overall morning podium, but it wasn't due to a shortcoming. Simmons continued his perfect season in the Super Senior (45+) class on board the #737 ATV in honor of longtime friend and fellow GNCC Racer, the late Glen "Jody" Pritchard.
While Indiana's Kevin Cunningham topped the morning overall podium in the non-points paying Sportsman A/B class, it was Can-Am X-Team's Bryan Buckhannon who took the overall win, in addition to the 4x4 Open win over UXC Racing's Michael Swift. Zakowski Motorsports' Zac Zakowski finished third overall, making the morning overall podium a 4x4 sweep.
In the U2 division, BNR's Robert Smith bested points leader UXC Racing's Clif Beasley, reducing the points gap to less than 10 with two races remaining. The Women's class showcased yet another ultra-competitive battle as Lexie Coulter pulled off a big win over former champ Angel Atwell and Yamaha Racing's Traci Cecco. Cecco's third place finish was enough to secure the 2012 title, marking her ninth-career GNCC championship.
The 90 Open (12-15) division dominated the ATV Youth overall, this time led by South Carolina's Zachary Jones (Apex), who secured his fourth overall win of the season. Finishing only one second behind the leader was defending champ Hunter Hart (COB) and Ohio's Cody Collier (Yamaha) rounded out the overall podium with a close third place finish behind Hart. Less than three seconds separated the top three finishers. Indiana's Charlie Welch (DRR) took fourth overall in the (12-15) division and Pennsylvania's Seth Wilson rounded out the top five.
Side-by-Side competition resumed this weekend for Round 5 of the six-race series and the competition level was at all time high. Pennsylvania's Team Excavating 3 won its second-straight race in the XC1 Modified division, but after missing the first two rounds the team still sits eleventh overall in the standings. Although Coastal National Guard finished fourth overall for the day, the Pennsylvania-based team currently tops the premiere XC1 class in the overall standings. Team Barron Eastgate Racing finished second overall, while Team Krecelich/Jacks rounded out the overall podium with a third place finish in the XC1 class.
The 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series returns to action October 20 and 21 for the Amsoil Ironman "pink-themed" GNCC.
|2012 GNCC XC1 Standings||2012 GNCC XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||298||1.||Patrick McGuire||Yamaha||253|
|2.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||216||2.||Braden Henthorn||Honda||237|
|3.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||204||3.||Matt Hanna||Yamaha||193|
|4.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||192||4.||Eric Hoyland||Honda||193|
|5.||Adam McGill||Honda||186||5.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||174|
|6.||Jarrod McClure||Honda||163||6.||Blake Kramer||Yamaha||133|
|7.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||148||7.||Michael Lancaster||Honda||126|
|8.||Brian Wolf||Honda||148||8.||Josh Merritt||Yamaha||121|
|9.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||143||9.||Nathan Wallpe||Honda||117|
|10.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||130||10.||James Green||Honda||100|