Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series
Borich Wins Again at Pirelli Big Buck GNCC
Ballance and Bithell second and third
Union, SC - The battle for the 2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series ATV Title is heating up, as East Coast ATV Honda's Chris Borich grabbed his second-straight with a strong run at the Big Buck GNCC. Borich is now tied for the series points lead with seven-time and defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance. Factory Yamaha's Ballance was strong again, but he didn't have an answer for Borich this time, settling for second ahead of LTERacing.com's Chris Bithell.
"Yeah I think I'm going pretty good," said Borich, flashing a smile and showing some confidence. "It was pretty dusty out there. I had a good line and got around Bill, and I knew as long as I kept some lappers between me and him, he wouldn't be able to go and catch me. I feel like we can win this championship, we'll just keep looking things over and training hard."
Ballance got hung up on the start when he tried to make a pass on ITP Holeshot Award Winner Chris Jenks. Borich snuck past them, but then pulled over and let Ballance by when he elected not to jump the Big Buck creek jump. "I didn't want to jump it on the first lap, so I let Bill go around so I could follow him over," said Borich. "It was nothing."
A lap later he found a good line to pass Ballance and get the lead back, and then used the dust--and a blistering fast pace--to pull away.
Ballance may be the smartest rider on the tour, but he couldn't figure out a way to get Borich back at the Big Buck. "There was a line I had seen when we checked the track out, but I missed it and Chris took it, and he went right around me," said Ballance. "There was a cut away section of woods, more of an open field with some stumps, and it was really dusty in there. I knew if he was ahead of me by the time we got there, I would be in some trouble because it was so dusty in that section. I lost a lot of time there. On the last lap we put in a charge, but I knew if I didn't get close or pass him by the time we got to that cut away section, I wouldn't be able to get him. Chris rode awesome today."
Third-placed Bithell rode awesome, too. He once again showed the speed needed to compete with Borich and Ballance, and he's working on the endurance. "It's always nice to be up here on the podium, but I really want to get up there with these guys and get in the middle of it," said Bithell. "I trained really hard between the North Carolina race and this one. I felt a lot better, I even got a glimpse of Ballance at one point, but he got away from me. I didn't get a good start, and I think that might have worn me down a bit, having to push so hard early."
Bithell used a smart pit strategy to make moves. He was in fourth behind fellow sophomore pro Adam McGill, but when McGill and the majority of the pack pitted on lap two, Bithell kept on riding and moved into third. "I couldn't get around McGill on the course, but I knew if I could get around him in the pits I could pull away," said Bithell. "My pit crew does a great job." Bithell, 18, has a pit crew led by his mother.