McHenry, MD - After a few weeks of strong results from the hungry young contenders in the ATVA Grand National Cross Country series, the big names of the series moved back to the head of the class at the Parts Unlimited Wisp GNCC. Four-time GNCC Champion Bill Ballance logged yet another dominant performance, and his usual rivals, Matt Smiley, Chris Borich, William Yokley and Chad DuVall, all gave chase.
"I was up and down for the first lap or two," said Ballance. "I tried to get around William, but I caught his back tire and wound up endoing over the bars and off the bike. After that, I got a little bit ticked off, really. I just held the throttle wide open."
Ballance rode an extra lap before pitting, which allowed him to grab the lead and extend it and from there the competition would not be able to put a dent in his gap.
Team Safari's Smiley was second for the third time this year, and once again he led the race early. "I was out front, but I knew Billy, Chris and William would be coming. Billy got away from me, but I caught back up to him. I was pushing really hard and ended up going over the bars. Then I had another war to wage with Chris and William. I was just trying to hold on."
Smiley was up front all day, but Yokley started chasing him down with just a few miles to go. Then Yokley got hung up with a lapped rider, opening the door for Borich to take third.
"There were just five of us battling the whole time," said East Coast ATV's Borich. "I was just trying to get around William. I saw he got hung up with a lapper and I held it wide open. It's just awesome racing with all these guys."
Yokley held onto fourth while DuVall put in an awesome ride in his first race back from a broken collarbone to finish in the top five. In sixth came the first of the new crop of GNCC talent, Pro Am rider Jeremy Rice.
Bryan Cook, the surprise winner of the previous race in Virginia, was seventh. "I don't know why but I got nervous out there and my arms pumped up," said Cook. "I finally got going, but I was just a little too far back from those guys to catch them."
James Wahl was eighth, local favorite Todd Knippenberg ninth and Pro Am rider Chris Jenks tenth.
Ballance leads the series by a wide margin and is looking to wrap up GNCC title number five early. Yokley, Smiley, Cook and Borich round out the top five.
The ATVA Grand National Cross Country Series continues with The John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio, on June 10th.
The ATVA Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. The 14-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. One of the most physically demanding sports in the world, the nearly three-hour long cross-country races lead as many as 1300 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC races are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Yamaha, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF, Dunlop and ITP, and riders compete for over $1.3 million in series prizes and contingency money. The 2003 series aired weekly on Speed Channel. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Alpinestars, Cometic, Outerwears, Pro Armor, Race Tools, Twin Air, SFB Racing, Thor, Racer X Illustrated, EFM, Motion Pro, Tire Balls, Ohlins, GPR Stabilizer, Moto-Tees, Warrior and Laeger's.
Results: Parts Unlimited Wisp GNCC
Deep Creek, MD
1. Bill Ballance (Yam)
2. Matt Smiley (Yam)
3. Chris Borich (Yam)
4. William Yokley (Suz)
5. Chad DuVall (Yam)
6. Jeremy Rice (Hon)
7. Bryan Cook (Yam)
8. James Wahl (Leg)
9. Todd Knippenberg (Hon)
10. Chris Jenks (Yam)
AMA Grand National Cross Country Series Point Standings
(After 10 of 14 rounds)
1. Bill Ballance (270)
2. William Yokley (169)
3. Matt Smiley (160)
4. Bryan Cook (147)
5. Chris Borich (141)
6. Chad DuVall (134)
8. Jeremy Rice (103)
9. Greg Trew (99)
9. Chris Jenks (99)
10. Brandon Ballance (97)