McGill, Borich complete XC1 podium
Walker Fowler won this weekend’s XC1 Pro ATV class at the ITP Powerline Park GNCC, but with just one round remaining in the 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Contry Series, the championship is still up for grabs.
Only 14 points separated N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar’s Fowler and CST/PirateMX.com/LSR/DeRisi/Tireblocks/SG-backed Adam McGill heading into the race and the pair didn’t disappoint when it came to delivering an exciting battle in St. Clairsville, Ohio. As the green flag dropped for the XC1 Pro ATV race, McGill took the early lead and claimed the $250 AMSOIL Holeshot Award with Fowler right behind him. The lead duo set a blistering pace early on, where they opened up a 30-second gap on third place by the second lap.
“At the beginning of the year I really struggled with starts, so a second place start was more than enough,” said Fowler. “I knew I needed to either beat McGill or be right behind him, and all I could think was that the guy I needed to beat was in front on me.”
After a small bobble by McGill, Fowler was able to find his way into the lead, and he maintained his composure throughout the entire two-hour race to secure his fourth win in the last five rounds. Fowler’s victory not only extended his lead in the championship chase, but it was perhaps the extra boost of confidence that he needs to claim his first ATV National Championship heading into the season finale in just two weeks.
“I was able to pull the quick lead until we got to Gus’ Mud Hole,” says McGill. “I took a bad line through the mud and Fowler was able to get around me.”
After getting off to a not-so-favorable start, Maxxis/B. Neal Motorsports’s Brycen Neal pushed himself into the top five by the third lap. Both he and JMR/ATVRiders.com’s Jarrod McClure engaged in a battle of their own early on, and lasting until the last lap when they caught the tail end of the third place rider of Team Maxxis-backed Chris Borich.
In the end Borich was able to hold off Neal and McClure for third overall. Neal placed fourth overall, followed by McClure in fifth. Coastal/Waynesburg Yamaha’s Jay Shadron crossed the finish line in sixth.
Bithell Racing/Maxxis/Precision-backed rider Chris Bithell improved over the last round’s finish taking seventh overall home for the day. Following behind him were BNR/GBC’s Kevin Yoho in eighth, Maxxis/BNR/Moose’s Josh Merritt in ninth and Fasttrax/Wolf Racing’s Brian Wolf held the tenth place in the XC1 Pro division.
With the absence of N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar’s Cole Richardson due to wrapping up the championship early and moving up to XC1, it opened the door for a new XC2 Pro Am class winner. Dillinger’s Celtic Pub/Hygear Suspension/Moose/GBC’s Marty Christofferson took full advantage of the opportunity claiming the class win, but West Virginia’s James Green jumped to the front first and claimed the $100 All Balls Racing XC2 Holeshot Award. Unfortunately Green fell to the back while JMR/ATVRiders.com’s Randy Hamilton captured yet another solid podium finish, and RYCO Racing’s Cody Collier took home third.
College A (16-21) class winner Westley Wolfe took the Top Amateur honors, finishing 13th overall for the day ahead of a handful of XC1 Pros and the entire XC2 Pro Am class. The Maryland native made history today by being the first person to win an ATV Motocross (ATVMX) championship and GNCC championship in the same season. Earlier this year Wolfe clinched both the Production A and 450 A division championships in the ATVMX series.
The 10 a.m. race was full of excitement as the overall podium was filled with the unusual sight of two Schoolboy Sr. competitors. Hunter Hart’s impressive performance landed him not only a class win, but also the overall win and the GT Thunder ATV Amateur Overall Award. He finished ahead of 4×4 Pro Michael Swift in second overall, and Yamaha rider John Glauda Jr. took the last spot on the box and finished a respective second in the Schoolboy Sr. Class.
Although he finished second overall, Team UXC Racing/Factory Polaris’ Michael Swift added another 4×4 Pro class to his resume. Swifts teammate, Kevin Trantham placed second in the class and Can-Am rider Bryan Buckhannon finished third, continuing his impressive season-long podium streak. Buckhannon continues to hold onto the points lead heading into the last round.
Defending class champion, Angel Knox, was able to wrap up the 2015 women’s championship with the class win today. The Honda rider crossed the finish line with more than a two-minute lead over Kara Merritt, who placed second. Even with the time gap after the checkers flew, the win did not come that easy for Knox as Alicia McCormick put up a hard fight until facing setbacks that had her finishing outside the top three. Katelyn Osburn rounded out the WXC podium.
“It’s a lot of hard work and years going in to get three WXC titles,” says Knox. “It feels good to know that my hard work has paid off.”
In the ATV Youth division, Pennsylvania’s Ronnie Rusch had the 2015 Overall Youth ATV championship in hand heading into this round, and he captured his 11th overall victory of the season. Yamaha rider Mikey Nickles stood in the second stop of the podium, while Pennsylvania’s Tim Sroka placed third.
In Side-by-Side racing, Tim Farr and Angel Knox were on the top step of the box with their Can-Am Maverick. They were followed by Bill Patterson and Mike Isaacson in second and Steve Matko and Clinton Graff in third. Can-Am Maverick racers have won all five Pro UTV races in 2015.
The 2015 AMSOIL GNCC series heads to Crawfordsville, Indiana on October 31 and November 1 for the season-ending AMSOIL Ironman GNCC.