Morgantown, W. Va. (June 20, 2012) - After a one-month break in the schedule, the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series returns to action this weekend at the picturesque Snowshoe Mountain Resort in eastern West Virginia. With six wins in the first seven rounds, Pennsylvania's Chris Borich tops the XC1 ATV point standings as the series heads into Round 8 - The Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC. But since this race is deemed one of the toughest stops on the 13-round GNCC tour, anything out of the ordinary could take place during the two-hour battle through 20-miles of grueling terrain on Snowshoe Mountain.
Photo By: Ken Hill
The XC1 Pro field is full of talent this season
Ballance Racing Yamaha's duo of Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler still remain in the title chase as they sit second and third place respectively in the series points. Kiser is the only rider to finish ahead of Borich in a race this season and the competition level has tightened up immensely between the two. Kiser's teammate Fowler has a history of doing well in the rough and technical Snowshoe terrain and there's no doubt the rookie has a winning-mentality this season.
The Snowshoe course is known for its deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and near-vertical hill climbs, usually throwing an additional element to the already demanding two-hour race. Maxxis/Yoshimura's Borich experienced the wrath of Snowshoe last year as he battled mechanical issues while contending for the lead, ultimately sitting out the final lap of the race. GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha's Johnny Gallagher also experienced issues last year, only completing two laps of the race.
West Virginia-native Adam McGill took home the 2011 Snowshoe GNCC victory, but the Precision/Moto X Perts/ITP/Lonestar/RG Motorsports rider most likely won't be in contention for this weekend's win.
"I'm in the process of healing up from an injury a couple weeks back and I plan to do whatever I can to make a full lap at Snowshoe this weekend to salvage some points," McGill said.
Motoworks/Can-Am's Chris Bithell led the first half of last year's Snowshoe GNCC, proving that the Pennsylvania rider has what it takes to contend for the win once again this weekend. Bithell currently sits fifth overall in the series points.
Photo By: Ken Hill
Taylor Kiser has been chipping away at Borich's lead
JG Offroad/FRE/American Honda's Brian Wolf also ran into bad luck last year on the opening lap of the twenty-mile loop, leaving him to watch from the sidelines at Snowshoe. Wolf typically excels in the rough and tumble courses, though, and proof lies in his two Snowshoe GNCC overall wins from the XC2 Pro Am class in 2009 and 2010.
Tireballs-backed Patrick McGuire took home his second XC2 Pro Am win this season in Round 7; regaining his points lead in the class. DeRising Racing's Braden Henthorn sits close behind McGuire in second, while teammate Eric Hoyland holds the third spot. Waynesburg Yamaha's Gabe Phillips ended his two-race win-streak last round with an unfortunate DNF in his home state of West Virginia and Greg's ATV & Cycle's Matt Hanna rounds out the top five, only six points back from Phillips.
Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, June 23, and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, June 24. Local riders are invited to race the event, as GNCC offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.
Spectator passes run $20 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateur riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m. Special activities include a Craig Morgan concert Saturday evening at 7 p.m., FREE with the purchase of a weekend gate admission.
To get to the track, take US-219 until you see signs for Snowshoe Mountain Resort, follow signs to the top of the mountain.
For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,500 riders through tracks ranging in length from ten to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed and draw talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised and airs every week on NBC Sports Network. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.