Honda's Chris Borich dominated...
Honda's Chris Borich dominated the opening ATV round of the 2006 Suzuki GNCC Series.
East Coast ATV/Honda's Chris Borich proved that he is serious about winning the 2006 Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Title, as the young Pennsylvanian dominated the season-opening Suzuki Orange Crush GNCC in Florida. Borich dove underneath defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance in turn one to steal the ITP Holeshot, and then pulled away from the field at an amazing rate to win the race by over three minutes. It was one of the most dominant wins in GNCC history.
"I knew everyone else would be strong, so I've been training really hard and working at this," said Borich, who nearly won the GNCC title last year. "I felt good. I just kept pushing and never felt tired. It was only a couple miles in, and I looked back and couldn't see anybody. I was thinking, "Cool."'
Borich stayed cool while many top contenders had problems on the ultra-rough and whooped out track. But Yoshimura Suzuki's ever-popular William Yokley had a good day, marking the GNCC debut of the Suzuki LT-R450 QuadRacer with a runner-up finish. Yokley simply took a stock LT-R, bolted on Elka shocks, a Yosh exhaust and ITP tires and finished second.
"I just had my pace, and that was all I was comfortable doing," said Yokley. "This thing does pretty good with just a couple of add-on parts. I got on one with stock shocks, and it was awesome. I knew that was the machine I needed to be on." Yokley, of course, was smiling on the podium as he said this.
The closest battle of the day was for third, as Brandon Ballance and Chris Jenks dueled for the final podium spot. A tired, but determined, Brandon took the position.
"There were a couple of sections where you could get on the top of the whoops, but most of it you were going down in them," said Ballance. "It was rough. On the third lap, I went over the bars and accidentally unplugged my kill switch. Chris came up on me, he was really pushing me hard."
And what of Bill Ballance, the six-time and defending GNCC Champion? Once again Florida did not go his way. The champion was locked in a big battle early with Jenks and ATVA National Motocross Champion John Natalie, who was giving GNCC Racing a shot. But Ballance bent a tie-rod on his factory Yamaha YFZ450 and lost major time for repairs. It appeared the champ would fail to score any points, but he charged hard through the final two laps and pulled off eighth, saving a ton of points in the process.
Natalie claimed a respectable fifth. His clutch perch rattled loose halfway through the race, but he battled back without a clutch and looked very fast.
In the ATV morning race, Yamaha's Traci Cecco topped an all-female podium, with Polaris rider Stephanie Parton in second and Angel Atwell in third.
The 2006 Suzuki GNCC Series continues next weekend with the Maxxis General GNCC in Washington, Georgia. For more information on the Suzuki Orange Crush GNCC, log on to GNCCRacing.com.
The AMA-sanctioned Suzuki 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 1800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. 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 Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Tire Balls, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Acerbis, Alpinestars, Cometic, Outerwears, Twin Air, Polisport Plastics, Thor, Motion Pro, Hyper Wheels, Elka Suspension, MotoTee's, Weekend Warrior, Owens Motorsports, Tom's Marina Polaris, EK Chain and Laeger's. Media Sponsors include Dirt Rider Magazine, ATV Sport Magazine, www.ATVRiders.com and Racer X Illustrated. For more information log on to www.GNCCRacing.com.