Borich Takes Third in a Row with GNCC Win at Loretta Lynn's
Ballance, Smiley join him on the podium
Hurricane Mills, TN - East Coast ATV's Chris Borich has showed the skills of a champion during the last few seasons of Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series racing. Each season his championship bid ends at the hands of Bill Ballance, but Borich has learned his lessons well, and me be peaking this season. By capturing the Acerbis Loretta Lynn's GNCC over the weekend, the 24-year-old now has three-straight GNCC wins and the series points lead.
Borich has always been fast, but now he's learned how to go fast without trying too hard. At Loretta's he calmly took the early lead and controlled the race from the front, never riding over his head and never letting the competition get close enough to challenge him.
"Over the years I've learned that if I pound on the quad too hard I usually wind up breaking something," said Borich, who topped a slow-starting Ballance and veteran favorite Matt Smiley for the win. "So I'm just learning to baby it a bit. For the last three races I've had a new Curtis Sparks motor, and it's awesome, I can just run it a gear high. With my stock motor, I used to have to just rev the crap out of it. I got the lead by the time we got to the woods and just tried to cruise all day."
Ballance got a terrible start on his factory Yamaha and would have to work his way through the pack. Borich, meanwhile got around ITP Holeshot Winner Taylor Kiser and West Virginia's Brent Sturdivant to take the early lead. He rode in control of that duo for the first half of the race, and built up just enough of a lead so that Ballance was unable to threaten him once he got to the front of the pack.
While Ballance did lose the series' lead with his runner up finish, his string of two wins and three seconds on the season leaves him well in the hunt for a record-braking eighth-straight GNCC championship. Smiley, who rides with Borich on the East Coast ATV squad, collected his first GNCC podium since 2005, silencing critics who believed Mighty Matt was done. With Ballance and Smiley coming through the pack, there was a hint of old-school with the two veterans working their way to front.
Sturdivant and Kiser held tough against the veterans to notch fourth and sixth overall, respectively, while LTERacing.com's Chris Bithell earned fourth. Houser/GT Thunder Honda's Chris Jenks made a run at Borich mid-way through the race when he passed Sturdivant in the pits and made a run at Borich, but ultimately crashed back into the pack and finished 12th, continuing his season-long run of bad luck.
Borich, meanwhile, may have finally figured out how to avoid such fate. "I looked back on the first lap and saw Sturdivant behind me, and we've done some training together at my house, so I just put it on cruise and rode with him," said Borich. "I was just having a good time out there. Then after the pit, I saw Ballance and Smiley coming on the motocross track. I just hammered down a bit, but I knew as long as I kept at least five seconds on them I would be fine. Two hours is a lot of time on a quad, so I just wanted to make sure we made it to the finish."
GT Thunder/Yamaha's Brandon Sommers continued his dominance of the XC2 Pro Am class with his fifth-straight win. Don Ockerman took the ATVRiders.com Holeshot award but ultimately ran into mechanical troubles. After fighting through the rough, whooped out Loretta Lynn's track for two hours, Kyle Martin and Ryan Lane crossed the line in second and third in the class.
The morning race has witnessed similar dominance from Yamaha's Traci Cecco, who won her fifth morning overall in five races. It was close again, though, as several riders from different classes came within seconds of bumping Cecco out of the top overall spot. Angel Atwell came up just two seconds short for second overall and second in the Women's class, while U2 class rider Mike Benson was just another second back on his Four Stroke Tech Kawasaki KFX700. And then only two more seconds separated the fourth place rider, Yamaha Blaster mounted Joey "Bam" Margaria, who won the Sport class.
Rick Cecco finally broke through to win the Open 4x4 class on his Can-Am Outlander 800, Cliff Beasley took his Can-Am Outlander 500 to the 4x4 Lites win, and Michael Swift won the 4x4 Limited class, giving Can-Am a clean sweep of the 4x4 classes.
Walker Fowler captured the Youth Production (13-15) 0-300cc class, giving him wins in all four rounds he has competed in this year.
Canton, Ohio's Dylan Bradford won the Youth ATV overall on a Cobra.
The 2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Athens, OH on May 12 and 13.
Photos by David Scearce: firstname.lastname@example.org
About GNCC Racing:
The AMA/ATVA-sanctioned Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. GNCC Racing airs weekly television shows on Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) every Saturday at 3 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m. beginning on April 14. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include BRP Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Acerbis, Elka, Geico, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Weekend Warrior, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Alpinestars, Cometic, EK Chain, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, Race Tools, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, and MotoTee's. Media Sponsors include Racer X Illustrated, ATV Rider, ATV Sport, ATVRiders.com, Quadzone.com, Dirt Rider and ATV Insider. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.
Results: Acerbis Loretta Lynn's GNCC
Hurricane Mills, TNApril 28, 2007
Top Ten Overall
Chris Borich (Hon)
Bill Ballance (Yam)
Matt Smiley (Hon)
Brent Sturdivant (Hon)
Chris Bithell (Hon)
Taylor Kiser (Hon)
Adam McGill (Hon)
Craig Reed (Hon)
Brandon Ballance (Yam)
Bryan Cook (Hon)
2007 Can-Am GNCC Overall Series Standings (After 5 of 13 rounds)
1. Chris Borich (140/3 wins)
2. Bill Ballance (135/2 wins)
3. Chris Bithell (89)
4. Taylor Kiser (84)
5. Bryan Cook (69)
6. Tie: Matt Smiley/Brandon Sommers (65)
8. William Yokley (62)
9. Adam McGill (52)
10. Chris Jenks (43)