Can-Am Race Report: Steele Creek GNCC

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
Rob Smith Steele Creek GNCC

Can-Am Renegade 800R X xc racer Rob Smith won the 4×4 Pro class and the overall in the 10 am session at round three of the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country series in rainy North Carolina. Can-Am 4×4 racers won all four 4×4 morning classes, which included a 1-2-3 sweep in the 4×4 Pro class, and earned nine total 4×4 class podium finishes out of a possible 12.

“Can-Am ATV racers had a great weekend at the Steele Creek GNCC, overcoming the elements to win all four 4×4 classes and sweep the morning overall podium,” says Jeff Leclerc, racing project leader, Can-Am. “The new 4×4 Pro class points race is very tight after three rounds now that Rob Smith notched his first win of the year. We’ve had three different Renegade 800R X xc racers win thus far, and I definitely see this one going down to the wire. It’s very exciting for everyone at BRP and I’m sure the fans are thrilled as well.”

The third round of the GNCC series was held at an extremely challenging and soggy Steele Creek in Morganton, NC. Despite the slippery terrain and poor weather that forced the GNCC crew to shorten the 10 am morning race to three laps, Can-Am 4×4 Pro racers were on the gas, going 1-2-3 to sweep the overall podium and also the 4×4 Pro class podium. BNR Motorsports / Can-Am Renegade 800R X xc pilot Rob Smith earned his first class win of the year and second career morning overall with an impressive ride in N.C. Smith went from fifth place on lap one to third on lap two to first place on the third-and-final lap to earn his first win of 2014.

Steele Creek GNCC 4x4 Podium

“I really needed this win…it is my second overall win ever and my first win in the new 4×4 Pro class,” says Smith. “Everything worked in my favor today and I couldn’t be happier. The track was a sloppy, muddy mess. I am so glad my Can-Am has four-wheel drive. I was able to power through everything without worrying about getting stuck. It really gave me an advantage with the conditions. My Renegade was perfect.”

Round-one winner Kevin Trantham (Can-Am X-Team) also led a portion of the race, but ended up second by less than one second to Smith. The third 4×4 Pro podium and morning overall position went to ATV Parts Plus / Can-Am Renegade racer Bryan Buckhannon. Despite leading the first two laps, Jordan Phillips, the winner of round two, ran into trouble on the final lap and ended up fifth. The current 4×4 Pro class points shake down like this: Buckhannon (71 points; no wins); Trantham (70 points; 1 win); Smith/Phillips (tied with 64 points; one win each).

“I’ve raced Steele Creek many, many times and this was by far the muddiest it has ever been. I am happy with second overall. It’s great to have three Can-Am ATVs on the overall podium. It was a tough mud race and we all worked hard to get up here,” says Trantham.

Can-Am 4×4 ATV racers also won three other classes. Tanner Bowles, eighth overall in the 10 am session, notched his second straight victory in the 4×4 A/B class to expand his points lead. Bowles was joined on the podium by Can-Am racer Joshua Trafelet, who took second. Terry Whiteside earned the 4×4 Senior (40+) class win, which was his second of the season. Reigning champion Forrest Whorton was fifth, but still sits second in the points race. Nick Mase, also on a Can-Am 4×4, took second at Steele Creek. Can-Am 4×4 C class racer Nicholas Eichelberger won his class to climb to within two points of the class leader despite missing round one. Ryan Trantham joined him on the box in third.

Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including,,,,, and many more.

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