BCS Performance / Can-Am X-Team racer Josh Creamer won the Pro and Pro-Am classes at round two of the 2012 New England ATV Motocross (NEATV-MX) series. In Can-Am / Grand National Cross Country racing action, five Can-Am racers won their classes this past weekend at the inaugural Can-Am Mammoth GNCC event held in Kentucky.
“Josh Creamer continued his Pro and Pro-Am class dominance by winning in the sandy Southwick soil aboard his DS 450. I was thrilled to see Richard Pelchat have such a great showing, challenge Josh and give us two riders on both the Pro and Pro-Am class podiums,” says Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “In GNCC action, our morning Can-Am 4×4 racers keep impressing us with their convincing wins. To have Bryan Buckhannon, Cliff Beasley, Kevin Trantham and Forrest Whorton post victories, and to do it on the brand new Mammoth course, shows a lot of dedication, drive and focus. Unfortunately a badly bent sprocket literally derailed Chris Bithell’s chance to shine in Kentucky, but he’ll be back at round six ready to challenge for the XC1 Pro class overall.”
National Guard / Coastal / Bowers Motorcycle Supplies / Yokley Racing Team rider Jarrod McClure finished fourth overall and fourth in the XC1 Pro Class. There were 189 total entries including 14 XC1 Pro racers.
Yokley Racing Summary
The Mammoth is a new location on the GNCC schedule this year, and everyone was excited to experience a track that had never been ridden on. The facility is a beautiful property located right next to Park Mammoth Resort Golf Course, and is a combination of fast, rolling field sections as well as lots of tight, freshly cut, and technical woods trails. It was a hot day in the 80’s and the woods sections featured an abundance of rocks.
At the drop of the flag, McClure got a good start and was battling for position in turn 1 when he ran over another machine’s wheel. The impact launched his ATV in the air with the rear end about four feet higher in the air than the front. McClure managed to hang on and actually ran with the leaders in third place going into lap 2. Lapped riders were difficult to get around in the tight sections since there was usually only one racing line.
Photos by Amy McConnell, XCountry Photos
It’s always an interesting adventure to compete at a brand new venue. When the 2012 Grand National Cross Country Series arrived at Park Mammoth Resort in the rolling hills of south-central Kentucky for the fifth round of the series, everyone was faced with trying to learn new trails and figure out an ideal machine setup. Racers and mechanics took their closest guess — because no pre-riding is allowed in GNCC racing — and then hoped for the best when the green flag flew.
Luckily the Team ITP riders had a number of options to choose from when it came to tires – from the Holeshot to the QuadCross XC.
Dave Simmons ( Yamaha) captured yet another overall amateur morning race victory. On what turned out to be a mostly tight and technical course, Simmons led the way ahead of nearly 240 other athletes in a wide variety of classes. This performance marked the fifth time in a row he’s won the Super Senior 45+ class in 2012, and was his third morning overall of the season.
National Guard / Polaris / Coastal / Yoshimura / DragonFire / Yokley Racing Team driver William Yokley finished first overall and first in the Side by Side XC1 Modified Class at the Big Buck GNCC in Union, SC, while teammate Scott Kiger finished fourth overall and fourth in the same class. Meanwhile, National Guard / Coastal / Bowers Motorcycle Supplies / Yokley Racing Team rider Jarrod McClure finished fourth overall and fourth in the XC1 Pro ATV Class.
Summary – Side by Side
The GNCC Series moved on to the Big Buck in South Carolina for Round 2 of the Side by Side machines. Since the area has had very little rain leading up to the race, the track was very dusty. The course was rough with lots of ruts, and a good start would be very important. Other than the dry conditions, the weather was great with temps in the low 80’s.
The start flag dropped and after the first few turns, Yokley was in second place with Kiger in fifth. Yokley made a pass for the lead in the first open field section where he could really open up the Yoshimura-tuned Polaris. He then proceeded to open up a sizable gap heading into the second lap of the four-mile course. Meanwhile, Scott Kiger was mired behind a nose-to-tail group of machines which were churning up clouds of vision-blocking dust. At times, he had to come to a complete stop in order to see the course. Once he worked his way past those machines into some cleaner air, he was a considerable distance behind teammate Yokley.
Now that we’re a few races into the 2012 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, the standings and championship races are starting to take shape. Yamaha is fielding a particularly strong team this year and its Pro GNCC racers Taylor Kiser, Walker Fowler and Traci Cecco, along with Ballance Racing boss Bill Ballance, offered up some thoughts on the season so far.
Bill Ballance Question: You’re widely known as the best off-road ATV racer of all time, and while you haven’t announced any plans to officially retire from racing, you’re transitioning more into a team management role – tell us about Ballance Racing and how you approach your new job.
The first priority is the race team. Our team provides full race support to Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler in the GNCC race circuit. We also provide some support to Thomas Brown on the MX side.
The second side to Ballance Racing is aftermarket sales and support. We sell all of the race products from companies that sponsor our race program. Also, we build complete race quads.
Ballance Racing started as me competing and winning championships and has transitioned into a program that supports both riders and sponsors on and off the track.
My role as team manager includes many responsibilities and those change from day to day. I spend numerous days testing on the track, which requires me to do lots of riding – this being my favorite part! Other days my time is filled by taking orders from customers, building shocks, setting up race quads, talking to sponsors, and keeping up with what the guys are doing and needing. A big part of my job is developing and testing for companies like Lone Star, Ohlins, Maxxis, and Moto-Xperts. I even build and fine tune maps for ECUs.
The transition has been difficult in some ways. When we are at the races and the guys line up on the starting line, it is hard for me not to be a part of that. However, in some ways it has been pretty easy because of the attention to detail that I give to every working part of the race bike is natural to me. I do this just the same way I did with my own race quad. I try to give the guys the equipment they need and the knowledge I have gained over the years. I want to see them win, and I strive for nothing less.
With three rounds of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in the books, the Parts Unlimited GNCC Dealer Challenge is well underway. Forty seven teams signed up for the program this year, which is designed to enhance the involvement of dealership support to racers in the series.
North Lima, Ohio’s BNR A Team currently leads the way with a full slate of ATV racers on board. Thomas Koontz (Junior A 22+) heads BNR with teammates Robert Smith (U2), Baby Mac (College A) and Kevin McKeown (College B) helping to put BNR on top of the leader board.
Caser, NC’s DeRisi Racing Woodhead team only trails BNR by 11 points in the overall standings with stellar performances so far by ATV riders Braden Henthorn, who secured his first win in the XC2 Pro Am class at round three, and teammates David Reeves (Junior A 22+), Brycen Neal (College A) and Kylie Ahart (Women).
In a series they regularly dominate, Can-Am X-Team racers picked up five more 4×4 class wins at this past weekend’s Steele Creek GNCC. As well, Can-Am riders earned three victories in the Texhoma Quad Racing Association (TQRA) series.
In the GNCC series, Kevin Trantham led the way, winning the 4×4 Lites class and finishing third overall on the morning podium aboard his 2012 Can-Am Outlander 500. Cody and Hunter Miller each piloted a Can-Am vehicle to victories at round two of the TQRA motocross series held in Geary, Okla.
“The Steele Creek GNCC was a brutal, challenging course, but our 4×4 class racers truly performed well aboard their Can-Am ATVs,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “Michael Swift and Bryan Buckhannon are so evenly matched aboard their 2012 Outlander 800s, they really put on a show racing wheel-to-wheel with each other the entire two-hour race. I was glad to see Swift finally get his first win of 2012, but I’m sure the two riders will have another battle at the next race in South Carolina. Kevin Trantham put in one of his most impressive performances ever aboard his Outlander 500, by winning his class and earning a spot on the morning overall podium. In TQRA, I was pleased to see both Cody and Hunter Miller post some hard-fought victories over the weekend with both their Can-Am ATVs and side-by-side machines.”
Defending GNCC Pro ATV champion Chris Borich ( Suzuki) is looking for this third straight victory to start the season at this weekend’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, NC.
The Maxxis/Yoshimura rider leads the pack and the point standings heading into round three of the 13-race Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. The Steele Creek Campground hosts a variety of rough and tumble obstacles and often times the track conditions affect the outcome of the intense two-hour races. The 10-12 mile course will feature mud bogs and creek crossings, mixed with rocky hills and the fan-famous Steele Creek bridge, where thousands of spectators gather to see racers battle their way through muddy waters.
Ballance Racing Yamaha‘s Walker Fowler, the rookie XC1 pro who many expect to challenge Borich for this year’s championship, understands just how rough racing conditions can be after one of the most intense finishes in GNCC history at round two in Georgia. Fowler experienced mechanical issues just a few turns before the finish and had to push his ATV to the checkers to hold onto a podium spot. He was exhausted, but the effort keeps him close to Borich in the series’ standings. The rookie still isn’t satisfied and will be back to avenge this weekend in North Carolina.
Yamaha has revealed its 2012 ATV race team, with racers competing in the top motocross and cross-country series in the country. Also, Yamaha is also expanding its national trackside assistance program with support at all AMA ATV MX National Championship series events.
“No one can match Yamaha’s support of the sport combining a top racing program, event and track-side support programs and the most comprehensive line of sport ATVs,” says Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/SxS group marketing manager. “This is an exciting time for Yamaha racing as we look forward to the 2012 season with a stellar team and the most high-performance and consistent race quad in the YFZ450R.”
Yamaha’s Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) team will again be led by ATV racing legend Bill Ballance as team owner and manager of Ballance Racing. Taylor Kiser, who took third overall in the 2011 XC-1 Pro class, is back on blue again for 2012 and looking to build momentum. Walker Fowler, the 2011 AMA ATV Racer of the Year and XC-2 Pro Am champ, will move up to join Kiser in the XC-1 Pro class for 2012.
For the 2012 ATV and side-by-side racing season, BRP has added certain Can-Am Outlander and Renegade ATV models and Can-Am Commander side-by-side vehicles to its amateur racer support program that has included the Can-Am DS 450 ATV for the past three racing seasons. To complement the additional models added, BRP will also support new 4×4 ATV and side-by-side classes and series adding to its industry-leading Can-Am X-Team Racing contingency program.
“BRP understands the value of an ATV racing contingency program and has already established itself as an industry leader with the DS 450 Amateur Racer Support Program,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “We added 4×4 ATV models and side-by-side vehicles as way to support those amateur racers who choose to race 4×4 ATVs and side-by-sides. BRP wants to fuel their desire to compete and make it more feasible to chase their dreams, whether it be on a local or national level.”
William Yokley of the National Guard/ Polaris/Coastal/Yokley Off-Road Racing Team has won national titles in both the Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC) and the World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS).
Yokley Racing competed in a total of sixteen races in 2011 and covered some of the most demanding terrain and weather conditions in the country. Leading companies within the industry and title sponsors National Guard, Polaris, and Coastal Racing sponsor the team.
Yokley Racing, LLC was founded in 2007 and is a professional off-road race team consisting of competitors William Yokley, Jarrod McClure and Scott Kiger. The team competes in professional ATV and Side-by-Side Off-Road events in the United States and provides valuable product research and development insight to the industry. National Guard, Polaris, Coastal Racing, DragonFire, Kenda, Exit Suspension, TireBalls, Mona-Vie, Tusk, MotoPro Training, Scott and HyghOctane sponsor the team.
Can-Am X-Team Outlander 800R X xc racer Bryan Buckhannon won the 4×4 Open class at the Can-Am GNCC finale in Tennessee, to earn back-to-back class championships. Warnert Racing / Can-Am DS 450 XC1 pro class racer Adam McGill finished second at Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch to earn second overall for the season. Warnert Racing / Can-Am teammate Chris Bithell earned fourth at Loretta’s and fourth overall in the XC1 ranks aboard his DS 450.
“I was thrilled to see Buckhannon win his class here at Loretta’s and repeat as 4×4 Open class champion,” says Jimmie O’Dell, race manager, Can-Am. “McGill and Bithell rode extremely hard in Tennessee, like they have all season. They each led a portion of the race, but unfortunately couldn’t finish it out. Adam truly earned his second-place podium finish today and it was a good way for him to end the year.”
Typically the season finale, this year’s Ironman landed two weeks before the final round of 2011 coming up at Loretta Lynn’s in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, which was rescheduled to Nov. 5. Traci Cecco took her eighth win of the year in the Women’s class adding to her record eighth series championship which she secured even before the Ironman. Ballance Racing’s Walker Fowler, who has also already locked in his series championship, took his twelfth straight XC2 Pro Am win – a series record. In XC1 Pro competition, Ballance Racing’s Taylor Kiser finished second – his fifth podium of the season – which moved him to third in overall series points.
Cook launched off the start and was sitting at the front of the pack when he collided with Taylor Kiser. Both riders were thrown off their ATVs and had to untangle their quads before they could get back to the race. The two remounted in last place. One lap later, Cook had to make an unscheduled pit stop for repairs from the damage sustained in his first turn crash. This stop put him 10 minutes behind the lead group.
Cook rode decently once he returned to the course but was unable to make up the time lost and finished in a disappointing 11th place. With one more round left, Cook is looking forward to keeping it on all four wheels and running inside the top five to end the season.
Warnert Racing / Can-Am DS 450 ATV Pro racers Adam McGill and Chris Bithell finished second and third in the Pro class this past weekend at the Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, Pa. In the Can-Am GNCC morning session, UXC Racing / Can-Am X-Team racer Michael Swift won the morning overall and the highly competitive 4×4 Open class aboard his Can-Am Outlander 800R X xc.
“McGill was close to earning his third win of the year, but he had a minor miscue on the final lap and had to settle for second in the Pro class. He gained some valuable ground on the Pro class points leader and that’s always good. To have both McGill and Bithell on the podium together, again, was great for team Warnert Racing / Can-Am,” says Jimmie O’Dell, Race Manager, Can-Am. “We continue to excel in the morning session, winning four classes and earning 10 of the top 20 morning finishing positions, highlighted by Michael Swift, who won both the a.m. overall and the 4×4 Open class.”
McGill, who led for much of the race, regained the lead on final lap as he passed another two miles before the finish line. However, in a slippery rock section, McGill said his handguard caught on a tree and swung him sideways. By the time he recovered, he had lost the lead. He finished less than two seconds behind the winner. McGill, with his second-place overall finish, now trails the Pro class points leader by 27 points with three rounds remaining in 2011. Bithell, who earned his second straight afternoon podium, ran inside the top five all day, but worked his way into third place on the final lap. He is currently in third place in the Pro class points race, 14 points behind McGill.
“In the first lap, there were about five of us that were really close and seemed like they were just kind of playing around so I went out there and took control and set the pace,” says McGill. “I was able to make up some valuable points, but I really want to win so I am going to go out there and give it everything I’ve got for the last three rounds.”