Although the results are still unofficial, it appears that Brian Wolf will be $10,000 richer after winning the prestigious MotorcycleUSA.com Snowshoe GNCC in Snowshoe, WV - round nine of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series.
This is the second year in a row that the HMF Honda rider has claimed the top prize at this race, despite the fact that he's an XC2 Pro-Am rider. What made it even more exciting was that Wolf battled back and forth with eventual Pro class winner Chris Borich in a thrilling race that was only decided in the final few miles.
The Snowshoe GNCC is a special event in that $50,000 bonus money is paid out based on the overall finish of the race, and factoring in a time differential (the XC2 class started a minute-and-a-half behind the XC1 class, Wolf was awarded the overall win despite physically crossing the finish line behind Borich. In the meantime, Borich went home with a $5,000 check for finishing second overall, while another XC2 rider, Walker Fowler, claimed $3000 for finishing third overall.
"This is crazy," says Wolf. "I never thought it was possible to win this two years in a row. I guess you just play the game and see what happens. This is the toughest race of the year and it's just a matter of who can play the game the longest. Nobody wants to run hard though this stuff and take chances and we built this bike so we could run hard and take chances and that's what we did today."
The overall results are pending and will be reviewed by the AMA the first of the week based on a report that the XC2 riders took an inadvertent "alternate" line during the first two miles of the course, although Racer Production's Tim Cotter made it clear that "no one appears to have taken a different line to intentionally gain an advantage."
In the meantime, Borich extended his lead in the XC1 division by taking his seventh win of the year, putting his Yoshimura Suzuki across the line nearly a minute and a half ahead of Yamaha rider Donnie Ockerman, while Can-Am's Adam McGill finished third.
"I got the holeshot and I really didn't want to lead, then all of a sudden the Pro-Am guys came out of nowhere," says Borich. "I knew it was going to be a long day because Wolf was riding pretty good, he had some pretty good lines out there. I got the lead on the final lap and put the hammer down and tried to make up as much time as I could but it wasn't enough for the overall. It was kind of a survival race out there but I was able to add to my points cushion for the championship so it was a good race."
Ockerman's runner-up finish marked his best of the year and his third podium of the year. The Illinois rider made the best of a good start and it paid off.
"I knew those guys had horsepower on me so I start outside and cut inside in the first turn and it worked out - I was third when we went into the woods," says Ockerman. "I just kind of followed everyone on the first lap and kept the hammer down for the rest of the race."
Despite getting off to a poor start, McGill worked his way into third by the end of the two-hour race.
"No matter what you do it seems it's the wrong move or the wrong decision," says McGill. "It just seemed everything I did today was wrong, but that's racing."
Taylor Kiser kept himself in the championship hunt by putting his Ballance Racing Yamaha into the fourth place position in the XC1 class, while Can-Am's Chris Bithell rounded out the top five.
FRE/KTM's Bryan Cook finished sixth, with Polaris rider Jarrod McClure finishing seventh ahead of a trio of Yamaha riders: Brandon Sommers, Jeffrey Pickens and Johnny Gallagher.
In addition to the overall win, Brian Wolf also topped the XC2 division - his third win of the year - leaving him 10 points ahead of Walker Fowler in the XC2 points standings.
Fowler was second in class on his Yamaha (to go along with his third overall finish).
"I'm super-pumped with third overall, I've never done that before, so this is cool," says Fowler. "I didn't really know where I was all day, I didn't check the scoring monitor."
FRE/KTM's Josh Kirkland finished third, with Kevin Yoho (Yam) and round-five winner Gabe Phillips (Yam) rounding out the top five.
In the morning race, U2 class rider Clifton Beasley took the overall win on his Can-Am - his first time to do so - and by doing so also claimed the GT Thunder ATV Amateur $100 Overall Award. Beasley finish a little over a minute ahead of Women's winner Traci Cecco. Meanwhile, another U2 rider, James Miller (CAN), was third overall.
In the Youth race, Marshal Goings took the overall win and topped the 90 Modified (12-15) division in the process.
|XC1 Standings||XC2 Standings|
|1.||Chris Borich||Suzuki||256 (7 wins)||1.||Brian Wolf||Honda||196 (3 wins)|
|2.||Taylor Kiser||Yamaha||216 (1 win)||2.||Walker Fowler||Yamaha||186 (3 wins)|
|3.||Adam McGill||Can-Am||178||3.||Josh Kirkland||KTM||178 (1 win)|
|4.||Don Ockerman||Yamaha||150||4.||Kevin Yoho||Yamaha||168|
|5.||Chris Bithell||Can-Am||145 (1 win)||5.||Gabe Phillips||Yamaha||157 (1 win)|
|6.||Johnny Gallagher||Yamaha||118||6.||Eric Hoyland||Yamaha||119 (1 win)|
|7.||Bryan Cook||KTM||116||7.||Corbin Knox||Honda||113|
|8.||Brandon Sommers||Yamaha||105||8.||Mark Notman||Suzuki||107|
|9.||Jeffrey Pickens||Yamaha||104||9.||Blake Kramer||Suzuki||102|
|10.||Jarrod McClure||Polaris||95||10.||Dustin Canipe||Kawasaki||99|