Returning home from the Steel Creek GNCC, we were already preparing ourselves for the Big Buck because Kevin Johnston (the team manager) and Ryan Reed (the team mechanic) were leaving for Canada for an ATV show. They would be gone until Tuesday evening, so that left my sister Jodi and I to get everything ready. Tuesday rolled around and Kevin and Ryan were not happy. When they were in Canada the weather was beautiful, and they came home to rain, rain and more rain. In 2 short days we had everything ready. Friday around noon we left Kevin's shop and headed to the track.
As Saturday morning would roll around too quick, I would find myself battling allergies, including watery eyes and a runny nose. On the starting line, Kristen Atwell was to my right and Angel Atwell to my left. The U2 Class started on the front row. We would find the gap between the Women's class and the U2 class to be a little larger than normal. Jerime Dudding on a Can-Am would hit a kicker before the 2nd turn and lose control. Behind him, 2 other riders would wreck. Nobody was badly injured, but it left the crowd in awe. Angel Atwell and I looked at each other and were wondering what was going on. I didn't realize that the kicker was that bad, that was until I hit it. All I could think was please don't let me wreck again. I had a fourth place start and Angel took another holeshot. Yamaha's Traci Cecco would take the lead around Angel, with Kristen and I close behind them.
As the race unfolded, riders were making mistakes and wrecking everywhere. Jennifer Albright crashed on the 2nd lap, I made a wrong turn going onto the dirt bike track while Jennifer and Kristen both broke. Kristen broke a spindle and what Jennifer broke is unknown. On the last lap 4 miles from the finish, I broke my axle completely off. One mile from the finish Traci Cecco clipped a tree, causing her to bend her axel, and making an opening for Lexie Coulter to get by. Angel Atwell would take her 4th consecutive victory, followed by Lexie Coulter and Traci Cecco. When I asked Angel what she thought about the race and how she thought the season would pan out for her she said, "It was a good race, and a really fast track. The last lap was very interesting. As for the rest of the season, only time can tell, anything can happen in this series, just look at last year. So we will see what will happen."
The afternoon riders were on their way to the start, and the sun was blazing high in the sky as the race would get underway. With the holeshot, it would be the 9-time champion of Bill Ballance, we can all see he is ready to win and wants to show the other riders he never left. As the riders came around for the 1st lap it would be Ballance with the lead with Taylor Kiser knocking on his door. They were followed by Chris Borich, Adam McGill, and Brian Cook not far behind. Taylor Kiser came around on fire the very next lap, he was having a heated battle with Bill Ballance, you could see Bill wasn't letting Kiser having the lead that easy. On lap 3 it would be Adam McGill to take over the lead, and the heated battle was now with him and Chris Borich. Bill Ballance and Brian Cook were behind them, but what the crowd wanted to know was what happened to Taylor Kiser, and the question was raised more when he came around in a number 5 position with his right hand guard broken.
As the pro race came to an end, with a 4 lap race, it would be Chris Borich with his 2nd win of the season by only .906 of a second on McGill. As soon as the two stopped, McGill jumped off his quad and onto Chris Borich to give him a big hug. "It was a great battle," they both stated. As Chris and Adam talked, they both agreed it was a great track. In the number 3 spot it was Bill Ballance. He was met after the race by his youngest daughter holding a pit board that said, "You did great daddy!" Bill would then ride his daughters to the podium with him. Bryan Cook, Taylor Kiser, Brandon Sommers, Jarrod McClure, Duane Johnson, Donnie Ockerman, and Johnny Gallagher would round off the top 10.
In XC2, Brian Wolfe would take his second win of the season. The KTM team was confused when the announcer kept announcing Josh Kirkland in the pro class. There was a mistake and they had Josh marked in the wrong class. Kirkland was then put in the race and had a 2nd place finish. Wolfe and Kirkland were followed by Eric Hoyland, Gabe Phillips and Kevin Yoho. In the College A class, we would see new names on top for the top 2 riders. Aarol Bright on a KTM and Jordon Poplaski on a Suzuki would take the top two. They were followed by Walker Fowler who was experiencing problems the whole race. "The quad was cutting out and not running right," Fowler stated after the race. Jamie Bithell was battling with Fowler and Bright when he blew a fuse. Bright said, "I had a great battle with Jamie and Walker most of the race." A lot of the riders came off the track saying it was very rough, but that's part of GNCC racing.
Usually after a long 2-hour race, Pro riders want to clean up, pack up and get home, but not Santo DeRisi and William Yokley. These two and several other racers wanted to go out and rip it up in their UTVs. Some riders even came out just to race UTVs. When they lined up for the start, there would be a total of 60 racers ready to go out and battle. Among these riders would be Kevin Johnston and my dad, and Ed Atwell and Kristen Atwells' boyfriend. As the race would start, it would be no other than William Yokley in the National Guard machine with an early lead. During the race, so many UTVs were destroyed; they had to get them out with the bobcat. In the end it would be William Yokley on top with a 40 second lead on the rest of the pack.
I hope that everybody had a great Easter, and I will see you at Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.