Kirkland returns to GNCC stage to collect XC2 trophy
Emotions and accolades poured out during the 2010 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series banquets, with the top GNCC riders in every bike and ATV class collecting series awards, and several other personalities recognized through specialty awards. The banquets took place on December 10 and 11 at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown, WV, with over 1200 racers, fans and family members attending.
On the ATV side, the most emotional moments were reserved for the XC2 Pro Am class, as 2009 Champion Josh Kirkland, who was paralyzed in a practice crash over the summer, returned to the GNCC scene for the first time since his accident. Kirkland sat on stage to collect his fifth-place XC2 trophy, but 2010 XC2 Champion Brian Wolf presented him with his number-one plate and medallion. Fellow XC2 rider Eric Hoyland, who skipped racing in the class at the final round in order to allow Kirkland to remain fifth in points, received the Good Samaritan Award. In addition, Wolf and Walker Fowler were presented the Sportsmanship Award. The two riders tied in final points, and while Wolf won the crown on a tie breaker, they agreed to break the number-one plate in half at the season finale.
Not surprisingly, GNCC XC2 pro Champion Chris Borich collected the Rider of the Year Award, a good match to his second-straight GNCC Championship. He also received a cash bonus and series; ring encrusted with two diamonds to represent his two GNCC Titles. Cliffton Beasley won Utility Rider of the Year for an undefeated season in the U2 class, Youth Overall Champion Levi Coen won the Youth Rider of the Year award, while fellow youth rider Wesley Wolfe took the Hard Luck Award. Women’s Champion Kristen Atwell won Most Improved Rider.
Super Senior rider Glenn Pritchard won the Bad Ass Award. Pritchard crashed early in the season, and while in the hospital for his injuries, discovered he had cancer. He still returned to race again at the end of the season.
Emotions poured out again when the series recognized GNCC family members who were lost during the season, including Ryan Earley, Brad Jefferies, Marcus Gonzales and Chris Cole. John Gallagher Sr, who has raced more GNCC races than anyone in the history of the series, passed in a work-related accident last December, and GNCC Racing honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, only the fifth ever handed out in series’ history.
BRP Can-Am collected the Sponsor of the Year Award, and Yamaha won the Manufacturer’s Cup. Warnert Racing collected Rough and Ready Pit Crew honors, photographer Kenny Hill took the Award of Media Excellence, and Ohio won the State Championship for collected nine GNCC Championships. And William Yokley, the 2010 UTV Overall Champion, collected the Sport Ambassador Award once again.
The 2011 Can-Am Series kicks off on March 5-8 with the Westgate River Ranch GNCC.