Fowler Grabs Second Straight Win at John Penton GNCC
Walker Fowler put together his best performance of the year with a dominating win at the 25th running of the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio, the eighth round of the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series.
RacingPowersports.com/CST Tires/PirateMX.com’s Adam McGill got off to a great start after grabbing the $250 Twin Air/DeRisi Racing XC1 Holeshot Award, leading the field of XC1 Pro riders into the first lap. Fowler (N-Fab AmPro Yamaha) stole the lead away on the opening lap and the duo diced it out for the lead position early on.
McGill took over the lead on the second lap, where he opted to pit for fuel, while Fowler chose to fly past his pits and into the lead. The rest of the front-runners joined McGill in pitting on lap two, allowing Fowler to break away out front.
Coming off a DNF at the previous round due to mechanical issues, Precision/Maxxis Tires Chris Bithell headed into round eight with vengeance. Bithell put himself into a favorable position right away as he tucked in behind the duo of Fowler and McGill up front. The Pennsylvania native entered a battle with McGill around mid-race, eventually making the pass for second on lap three.
Fowler began to pull away in the final moments, where he finished almost two minutes ahead of the second place finisher, Adam McGill.
Meanwhile, five-time GNCC Champion Chris Borich had to pick his way through the pack from an uncharacteristic start outside the top five. Borich quickly moved his way into fourth but the Team Maxxis rider began losing time from there. On the final lap, Borich succumbed to a mechanical issue that began affecting his machine after the mid-way point. Borich was forced to receive a tow back to his pit area, where he was unable to finish the race.
Just as Borich arrived to his pit area, reports surfaced that Bithell, too, was experiencing mechanical issues. It was a tough break for Bithell, who was running in the second place position, as his day ended before the checkered flag once again.
Amidst all the chaos on the final lap, DWT Racing’s Jarrod McClure continued to ride a solid pace as he had done all afternoon. McClure maintained a fifth place position throughout the two-hour race, but the Pennsylvania native was the one to capitalize on the mechanical issues ahead, where he jumped two positions from fifth to third place on the final lap.
Round eight marks McClure’s second podium finish for the season, where he now holds fourth overall in the championship standings.
Dave Bayless Motorsports/Dirtworks/DC Cycles Brycen Neal put forth another impressive ride in his rookie XC1 season, finishing fourth overall for the day in his home state of Ohio. Neal sits in seventh place in the championship standings after eight rounds of racing.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Cole Richardson made the XC2 Pro Am championship points chase a little more exciting after capturing the round eight victory to bring the points tally to a tie with closest competitor and fellow rookie Marshal Goings. Richardson’s stellar performance was enough to land himself a fifth place overall for the day, followed by GT-Thunder’s Brian Wolf who finished sixth overall.
West Virginia’s Brent Sturdivant finished seventh overall for the day, while GT Thunder/Maxxis/Howser Racing’s Josh Merritt came in eighth, followed by SICC Racing’s Marshal Goings in ninth from the XC2 Class, and Waynesburg Yamaha/GT Thunder/GBC-backed Jeff Pickens rounded out the top ten overall.
BNR Motorsports/Loctite’s Kevin Yoho secured 10th place in the XC1 Class and 11th overall, while Ohio’s very own Braden Henthorn scored 9th place in the XC1 Class and 12th overall in his return to racing after a recent jaw surgery.
Fowler’s second straight victory in the XC1 Pro Class, along with Borich’s misfortune at round eight, brings the Ohio native to within eight points of Borich’s lead in the championship standings. With five rounds remaining in 2014, Fowler has entered himself into a head-to-head battle with the five-time champion for the first time in recent history.
In the XC2 Pro Am division, Richardson led the two-hour race from flag to flag, capturing his fifth victory of the season. SICC Racing/Maxxis Tires-backed Goings put up a fight throughout the first half of the afternoon, but in the end Richardson’s fast-pace was untouchable. Goings took second place for the day, where he and Richardson sit tied with 200 points in the first place position.
New York’s Marty Christofferson continued his consistent streak atop the podium with yet another third place finish in the XC2 Class. Christofferson got off to a top five start and maintained a solid third place position all afternoon. Christofferson continues to hold third place in the championship standings after eight rounds of racing.
It was another good day for Ohio native Blake Tornes, who captured the College A (16-21) Class victory, as well as the Top Amateur honors with 16th overall.
For the first time this season, the 10 a.m. overall podium was swept by the young guns of the Schoolboy (13-15) A/B division, where Ohio’s Cody Collier secured his fourth straight $125 GT Thunder Amateur Overall at the John Penton. Collier was joined by his closest competitor in the class, as well as for the overall win, Westley Wolfe. Wolfe has been plagued by bad luck this season but the Maryland native was able to land a solid second place finish. Multi-time GNCC Champion in the Youth ranks, Hunter Hart, made his second career appearance on the overall podium with a third place finish for the day.
It was another exciting battle in the 4×4 Pro Class as West Virginia’s Bryan Buckhannon emerged victorious after more than two hours of battle on the track. ATV Parts Plus/Can-Am’s Buckhannon was joined atop the podium by Can-Am X-Team’s Kevin Trantham and his teammate Jordan Phillips, who rounded out the 4×4 podium with third place in the class. BNR Motorsports/Loctite/Can-Am rider Rob Smith finished fourth in the class and Factory Polaris/Coldcock Whiskey’s Rick Cecco rounded out the top five for the day.
After eight rounds of racing, Trantham holds the points lead in the 4×4 Pro Class with three wins behind him, while Buckhannon holds strong in second with two wins and Rob Smith sits back in the third place position.
Saturday afternoon saw round four of the six-race Side-by-Side championship where the state of Ohio once again proved tough as two of the three podium finishers hail from the Buckeye state. With Kyle Chaney behind the wheel, team Can-Am/Chaney Racing battled it out early on with fellow Can-Am driver Tim Farr and his JB Offroad 41 team. Chaney eventually made the move on the JB Offroad 41 team to take over the lead and he didn’t look back from there.
Team Crash Addict PARCS Can-Am put in a career-best second place finish with an impressive come-from-behind performance from a fifth row start. Led by Treavis Poynter, the team made up seven positions throughout the one-hour race, finishing less than one second behind the leaders.
It was nearly a photo-finish between teammates Polaris National Guard, led by William Yokley, and Coastal National Guard’s Scott Kiger as the duo battled into the final corners of the Sunday Creek Motocross track. While leading, Kiger got hung up in one of the final sections and Yokley cruised past to secure the final podium position for the day
After four rounds of racing, Can-Am/Chaney Racing leads the way in the XC1 Modified championship standings, with Coastal National Guard in second. JB Off-Road Can-Am 41 sits in third, with Big Country Powersports/Polaris in fourth and Polaris National Guard rounds out the top five in points.
Florida native Brandon Frazier secured his seventh Youth overall of the season where he claimed yet another 90 Open (12-15) victory. Frazier was joined by Pennsylvania’s Tim Sroka in second place and West Virginia’s Carter Kerens rounded out the overall podium with third place.
The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes June 21 and 22 with the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC in Snowshoe, WV.
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