New Berlin, NY – The threat is real now. East Coast ATV's Chris Borich notched another Grand National Cross Country win after a big battle at the Can-Am GNCC at Unadilla, extending his lead to eight in the GNCC point standings with three rounds to go. After a crazed race that saw five riders with a shot at the win on the last lap, Yamaha's Bill Ballance—the seven-time and defending GNCC Champion working on a record breaking eighth title—was second, with Duane Johnson third.
Borich had to work his way back from early trouble. He started the final lap in fourth and even suffered from some clutch problems, but then put on a charge that got him into the lead. "I just had a bad beginning there," said Borich. "A rock got stuck in the wheel and I went pretty far back and just started pushing hard," said Borich who started the last lap in fourth. "I got by Bill and all those guys that got bottled up on the last lap. I tried to set sail and he (Bill) caught back up and passed me right at the end. I got back by him and just tried to hold him off."
Ballance came oh-so-close to grabbing the win. "There were a lot of guys riding good out there today," said Ballance. "It was passing all over the place. Actually going into the last lap, it was McGill and me, Duane Johnson and Borich was behind him. I felt pretty confident that I might be able to make a pass on McGill and maybe get a win and have Chris finish third or fourth, but it didn't work out quite like that. Adam locked wheels with another rider, and I just had nowhere to go. I slid up under him and we were trying to get the bikes apart, and Chris and Duane went around there. I charged up and caught Chris, made a pass with not even a half-lap to go. I went up on the top of the ridge, which was the fastest line through the day, but there was a lapper there, and I think he kind of freaked out when he heard Chris down there revving so hard, so he kind of eased off and Chris jumped right back in front of me."
The duo raced hard all the way through the final turns, with Borich winning by just a few bike lengths after two hours of racing.
"You have to get worried when it's this close, getting down to championship crunch time," said Ballance. "I've been in some real pressure points before where I had to make things happen."
As for Johnson, his podium was a long time coming. "I got the holeshot and I still didn't have the confidence to run that speed the first lap," said Johnson, who collected $100 from ITP for nailing the start. "I finally tried to stay with the top leaders and see what they're doing. We got into lappers and it was just crazy out there. Everybody would get hung up; you'd get in the lead and then you'd drop back to forth or so. I caught McGill and Bill in another jam up with lappers and got back into second. Bill got around me and I just hung on for third."
For most of the race, it looked like Baldwin Motorsports' Adam McGill was the man to beat, as he wrestled the early lead from Johnson, stayed up front most of the day, and then held it as the white flag came out. "I just run into some dumb luck," said McGill. "I was leading going onto the motocross track. Right before we got there, a guy on a Yamaha, I don't know what he did but we were flying up this road and all of a sudden he just come to a stop."
McGill locked wheels with the rider and dropped to fourth. Fifth went to LTERacing.com's Chris Bithell, who overcame yet another bad start to get close to the leaders. Sixth went to East Coast ATV's "Mr. Consistency" Matt Smiley, with seventh to Brent Sturdivant. Taylor Kiser was eighth.
Ninth went to XC2 Pro Am winner Brandon Sommers, his ninth win in ten races. He also grabbed the ATVRiders.com Holeshot Award. Kevin Yoho and Don Ockerman finished behind him in the class, with the top ten overall rounded out by Jarrod McClure.
In the two hour morning race, the ATV Women's Class jumped to the front of the pack, with Angel Atwell taking the overall win on her LTERacing.com Tom Clark Honda. Second went to 30+ C rider Michael Young and third to Atwell's title rival, Yamaha's Traci Cecco. The 4x4 Open class went to Rick Cecco on a Can-Am, with fellow Can-Am rider Cliff Beasley taking the 4x4 Lites class. Kawasaki riders won the other classes, with Michael Benson topping U2 on the Four-Stroke Tech KFX700 machine and Kevin Trantham winning 4x4 Limited.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in Yadkinville, NC on September 29 and 30.
Photos by Jason Hooper: email@example.com
Can-Am Unadilla GNCC
New Berlin, NY
September 15, 2007
1 Chris M Borich Sumnbury, PA HON 02:03:18 XC1
2 Bill V Ballance Smith Grove, KY YAM 02:03:22 XC1
3 Duane Johnson Trenton, MO HON 02:03:45 XC1
4 Adam McGill West Union, WV HON
5 Chris Bithell Irwin, PA
HON 02:04:55 XC1
6 Matt J Smiley Kunkletown, PA HON
7 Brent Sturdivant Montrose, WV HON
8 Taylor Kiser Alva, FL
YAM 02:05:21 XC1
9 Brandon Sommers Millersburg, OH YAM 02:06:00 XC2
10 Jarrod McClure Kaska, PA HON
11 Chris Jenks Washington, WV HON
12 Kevin Yoho Hopedale, OH YAM
13 Donald Ockerman Marshall, IL HON
14 Jeffrey Pickens Union Town, PA HON 02:09:39 XC1
15 Craig Reed Crawford, TN HON
16 Johnny Gallagher Aurora, OH SUZ
17 William Yokley Tompkinsville, KY KAW 02:10:36 XC1
18 Michael Burrows Gilman City, MO HON 02:10:38 XC1
19 David Crane Golden, MS HON
20 Rob Hertz Brookhaven, PA HON
Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Standings
(After 10 of 13 rounds)
1. Chris Borich 270/6 wins
2. Bill Ballance 262/4 wins
3. Chris Bithell 182
4. Matt Smiley 148
5. Taylor Kiser 145
5. Adam McGill 145
7. Brandon Sommers 123
8. Bryan Cook 110
9. Chris Jenks 110
10. William Yokley 94