Brian Wolf took advantage of a late race mistake by Adam McGill to take a thrilling win at the VP Racing Fuels Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, Pennsylvania – round 11 of the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series.
For most of the two-hour race, no less than five riders were in contention for the overall victory. However, it was McGill who led the most laps, taking the early lead after making first-lap passes on Wolf and $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award winner Taylor Kiser.
McGill’s Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing Can-Am teammate Chris Bithell was among the front-runners, along with Kiser on the Ballance Racing Yamaha, Wolf on a GT Thunder-backed Honda and series points leader Chris Borich on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki, as McGill led the pack through one of the toughest courses of the year.
The battle for the lead heated up when Wolf passed McGill halfway into the final lap. However, the XC1 rookie got stuck behind a lapper with two miles to go, allowing McGill retake the lead. At that point, McGill looked to have his third win of the year all wrapped up; however, a half-mile later the West Virginia rider clipped a tree and watched helplessly as Wolf took the lead and eventually the win.
“That last lap was pretty crazy,” said Wolf. “I let McGill go by at the start of the race and he took off like a bat. That last lap, there were so many lines in the rocks that you just had to banzai it and hope you didn’t break. McGill was ahead of me at the end, but then he snagged a tree. It was anybody’s race but in the end I came out on top.”
McGill was disappointed at finishing second, but he still managed to gain a few points on Borich in the race for the 2011 title.
“About a mile before the finish I was on some slippery rocks and I caught a hand guard on a dead tree and it turned me sideways,” said McGill. “I was so furious I couldn’t even scream. But racing is racing and it was a good hard-fought battle.”
Bithell rounded out the podium and was within striking distance of the leaders when he crossed the finish.
Fourth went to Kiser, who was having a good day after struggling two weeks before at Unadilla. Meanwhile, Borich suffered a flat tire on the final lap, but managed to salvage 16 valuable points with a fifth place finish.
FRE KTM’s Bryan Cook finished sixth, with JET Suspension’s Donnie Ockerman seventh, and Yamaha-mounted Kevin Yoho in eighth.
Jarrod McClure and Johnny Gallagher (Yam) rounded out the top 10.
In the XC2 class, Walker Fowler remained perfect on the year, taking his 10th win in 10 races and by doing so wrapped up the XC2 class title with three races remaining on the books. The Ballance Racing Yamaha rider was impressive in the slippery rocks and finished the race nearly four minutes ahead of Greg’s ATV & Cycle Yamaha’s Gabe Phillips.
Honda rider Eric Hoyland rounded out the podium after winning the $100 Motosport.com Holeshot Award to start the race.
New York Honda rider Nathan Thomas finished fourth, while Aarol Bright (KTM), Matt Hanna (Yam), and Michael Lancaster (Hon) were fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were Joshua Merritt (Yam), Ryan Ratliff (Hon) and Blake Kramer (Suz).
Once again Braden Henthorn was the top finishing “non-Pro” rider, winning the College A (16-21) class with a 17th overall finish on a Honda.
In the A.M. race, Michael Swift beat out fellow Can-Am riders (CAN) Bryan Buckhannon and Zach Zakowski to win the $100 GT Thunder Amateur Overall award. Swift, Buckhannon and Zakowsi were also the top three finishing riders in the 4×4 Open class as well.
Can-Am riders also swept the podium in the U2 division, with Clifton Beasley, Robert Smith and Scott Day finishing first, second and third.
Tracy Cecco won the Women’s division on a Yamaha, with Honda-mounted Angel Atwell finishing second and Can-Am rider Lexi Coulter finishing third.
Hunter Hart (COB) won the overall in the Youth race for the seventh time this year, and claimed the 90 Open (8-11) win as well. Meanwhile, Charlie Welch (DRR) was second overall and first in the 90 Mod (12-15) class. Meanwhile, Cody Collier (PIT) was third overall and first in the 90 Open (12-15) division.
The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to St. Clairsville, Ohio for the ITP Powerline Park GNCC on October 8 & 9. ATV racing will take place on Saturday, followed by bike racing on Sunday.
For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.