Yadkinville, NC - For the first time in eight years, Yamaha's Bill Ballance is on the ropes in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. Another solid rider this weekend by East Coast ATV's Chris Borich could shut the door on Ballance's record-breaking title run, which makes the Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC pivotal for the season.
Borich, with six wins on the season including two in a row coming into this race, holds an eight point lead over Ballance. If he wins again and Ballance finishes second, he'll hold a 13-point lead heading into the final two rounds, meaning he would only need two runner-up finishes to wrap up the title.
"You have to get worried when it's this close, getting down to championship crunch time," says Ballance. "I've been in some really pressure points before where I had to make things happen, so you just go back and go through the bike one more time, train hard for two weeks and come back and try to win these last races. Hopefully we'll get the championship, but it's going to be tough. Chris is riding good and we're going to battle all the way to the end."
Borich knows full and well that wins and runner-up finishes are not guaranteed in the rough and tumble world of cross-country racing, so he surely won't count points until the finish. In addition, a determined pack of spoilers could mix the results of the "Killer B's." Each week, LTERacing.com's Chris Bithell, Baldwin Motorsports' Adam McGill and GT Thunder's Duane Johnson are right in the hunt for the win, and this weekend should prove no exception.
"I want to win one of these so bad, it's hard to even put it into words," said McGill before the previous round at Unadilla, which he led into the final lap. "It's like there's a big birthday cake sitting right in front of me, but I can't eat it yet. It's so close I can taste it, but I can't eat it."
The Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC begins with ATV racing on Saturday. Youth riders race at 8 a.m., followed by the showdown with the Utility and 4x4 Classes as well as the Women's class at 10 a.m. Yamaha's Traci Cecco is looking to lock up yet another Women's title this weekend. The XC1 and XC2 pro classes race at 1 p.m., with East Coast ATV's Chris Borich holding back Yamaha's Bill Ballance in the chase for the GNCC #1 plate.
Bikes race on Sunday, with Youth racing at 8 a.m., a 10 a.m. morning race, and a three-hour race at 1 p.m. for XC1, XC2, A and B classes. Red Bull KTM's David Knight holds the series lead, but the rider from the UK is racing an indoor race Saturday night in Denver, Colorado, and then flying in a private plane to North Carolina to race Sunday. That should take a lot out of the Knighter, and open the door for competitors like Barry Hawk, Charlie Mullins and Jimmy Jarrett.