Anticipation was high coming into this weekend’s Inaugural running of the Can-Am Mountaineer Run GNCC, Round 7 of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series as the series headed back to its racing roots in West Virginia.
Despite some of the highest temperatures so far this season, there was no doubt a six-man battle to the finish for the XC1 class win.
Maxxis/Yoshimura’s Chris Borich bested the Ballance Racing Yamaha duo of Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler for his sixth win in seven races, and padded his series points lead just a bit more.
Precision Motorsports/Lonestar Racing/Moto X Perts’ Adam Mcgill grabbed the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award and set sail with the early lead.
The first Llap was a virtual free-for-all with the top ten riders swapping spots every few corners on the rocky, technical “old school” circuit. McGill experienced mechanical issues early in lap two, which would ultimately end his day and leave six riders to fight to get to the front.
Borich pulled the trigger a bit earlier than normal on his now patented last lap pass, making the move on Kiser just prior to receiving the white flag.
Kiser continued to pressure for the lead all the way to the checkers, even attempting a few maneuvers of his own in the final turns, but the Florida native came up just a few inches short.
Walker Fowler had an up and down day with troubles and crashes early on, but was able to mount a last lap charge to secure the final podium position.
Motoworks/Can-Am rider Chris Bithell Finished a solid fourth after running inside the top three throughout much of the two-hour event.
Rounding out the top five was JG Offroad/FRE/American Honda’s Brian Wolf. Many expected Wolf to excel in the rough West Virginia terrain, but he was hampered by a few mistakes in the latter stages of the race. Bowers/Coastal National Guard/Yokley Racing’s Jarrod McClure took home sixth place.
BNR’s Kevin Yoho put in a solid seventh place ride, once again battling Waynesburg Yamaha’s Jeff Pickens who came in eighth. DeRisi Racing’s Bryan Cook was ninth, just ahead of GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher in tenth.
Tireballs backed rider Pat McGuire returned to the top step of the Pro Am podium for the first time since Round 1 in Florida, regaining the points lead in the process. Greg’s ATV & Cycle’s Matt Hanna continued his impressive streak with a second place finish.
Pennsylvania privateer Blake Kramer has been a GNCC regular for nearly a decade and made his first trip to the podium with his third place finish.
Tough luck for Waynesburg Yamaha’s Gabe Phillips, who broke down on the opening lap of the race. DeRisi Racing’s Braden Henthorn also had a rough day, causing him to lose the points lead to McGuire after a sixteenth place finish.
New York’s Roman Brown made the move to the XC2 division this weekend, leaving fellow College A competitor Brycen Neal to garner the coveted Top Amateur Award for the second time in 2012.
GT Thunder’s Dave Simmons earned his fifth AM overall of the season, also keeping his perfect season in the Super Senior (45+) class in tact. 4×4 Lites points leader Kevin Trantham returned to the AM podium with a second overall after a mechanical issue held him back last round.
Yamaha racing’s Traci Cecco grabbed the third overall spot, while also besting her toughest opponent Angel Atwell in the highly contested Women’s class. Cecco now holds four class wins to Atwell’s three in the championship chase.
Can-Am X-Team’s Bryan Buckhannon bested the 4×4 Open class and also finished second on the 4×4 overall podium behind Trantham. UXC Racing’s Clif Beasley landed the third spot on the 4×4 podium and continued his perfect season in the U2 class.
Defending Youth champ Hunter Hart took the Youth Overall win after bouncing back from a leg injury that kept him out of a couple rounds this year.
Hart took his first win since Round 2 in Georgia in the 90 Open (12-15) class, ahead of South Carolina’s Zachary Jones and Kentucky’s Kalab Hagan.
Knowledge of the local terrain paid off for Morgantown’s own Team Barron Eastgate Racing as they topped the UTV race action ahead of fellow locals Team Coastal National Guard, who came through in second.
William Yokley piloted his Polaris National Guard machine to a thirdplace finish, tightening an already heated season points chase.
Round eight of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Snowshoe, W. Va. June 26 and 27 for the Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC. For more information, go to www.gnccracing.com.