Upon arrival at the top of Snowshoe Mountain in Snowshoe, WV, fans are greeted by picturesque views, a village that offers plush lodging, fine dining and activities for the whole family.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is just another ski resort, however. The terrain that lurks in the woods and slopes below the village is some of the most rugged on earth, and once a year the town hosts the GNCC series for what is billed as “America’s Toughest Race.”
The unique starting grid for this event lines riders up in rows of five as they were flagged off in five-second increments. The morning race would utilize only one side of the mountain, making the course 14 miles in length.
Kevin McKeown was the top finishing GBC rider by winning the 16-19 C class for the 4th time in 2011. He placed 11th overall. Forest Wharton once again bested the +45 4×4 class. Garon Davis used his 2nd place finish in the Sport 15+ class to further extend his series points lead.
Kristen Atwell used her considerable rough-terrain experience and the grip of her X-Rex tires to claim 3rd in the Pro Women’s class for the day. Kara Merritt followed in 4th and is just one point out of the top three in the standings.
The afternoon pro race featured a “double loop,” bringing the course length up to 23 miles. Upon completion of lap number one, GBC riders Bryan Cook and Johnny Gallagher had worked their way up to 3rd and 4th respectively, mere seconds from the race leader.
Halfway through the 2-hour race Cook and Gallagher both checked in inside the top 5. Unfortunately Gallagher suffered a mechanical failure in the third lap that ended his day early.
Cook continued to shred the Snowshoe trails and after 2 hours and 10 minutes of racing crossed the finish line in 3rd place, making his first podium appearance of the 2011 season. “I made the switch to the X-Rex rear tires for the rough conditions of this race and I couldn’t be happier with the result,” said Cook.
Kevin Yoho and Jeff Pickens would also place their GBC-equipped machines inside the top 10 for the day. In the XC2 Pro Am class teammates Aarol Bright and Richie Brown finished 4th and 5th respectively, capping off an impressive day for GBC Motorsports.