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PRIVATEER BRYAN COOK TAKES HARD FOUGHT WIN AT STEELE CREEK GNCC: MCGILL, BALLANCE ON PODIUM

 
(3/23/2009)

Derisi Racing's Bryan Cook battled a determined pack of contenders to win the 2009 FMF Steele Creek GNCC in his home state of North Carolina, in round three of the 2009 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. The race proved that this season could be anyone's year to take the GNCC Championship, as what can best be described as a "freight train of 12 riders" battled neck and neck for a podium win.

KTM's Adam McGill, defending GNCC Champion, Yamaha's Bill Ballance, Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Chris Borich and Yamaha's Taylor Kiser battled wheel-to-wheel until the final lap, when Cook claimed first with McGill fast behind in second and Ballance in third. The leaders traded in and out of first place as the notorious Steele Creek mud hole after the concrete bridge captured more than a few riders.

"It was awesome, but nerve wracking there in the middle," Cook said. "I had a good start but I made a mistake there at the mud hole. I thought I had thrown it away because it was so hard to pass. I was pretty confident {going into the fourth lap} but it really depended on how you caught the lappers. It was just a fun day."

Cook also got another nice surprise, as he found out this morning that he and his wife Bonnie are expecting!

Yamaha's Donald Ockerman scored the $250 MotorcycleUSA.com Holeshot Award and led the pack on the first lap around until McGill caught up to him. McGill led the way for several laps until his lead grew to 20 seconds. Cook caught up to him in the fourth lap after lapped riders started to slow him down.

"Lappers definitely played a big role," McGill said. "Everyone's out there to race. You've just got to deal with it. I'll have my day here soon."

Ballance, who struggled for weeks after having injured ribs surgically removed, was welcomed back to the podium to applause.

"The last three months have been pretty tough," said an emotional Ballance. "I was thrown a little bit of a curveball (at the beginning of the season) and I was wondering if we'd ever be back in this place again."

Yamaha's Taylor Kiser came in fourth, ahead of round two winner, Suzuki'sChris Borich. Can-Am's Chris Bithell came in sixth, Honda's Duane Johnson in seventh and Yamaha's Brandon Sommers in eighth. Rounding out the top 10 was Yamaha's Johnny Gallagher and in tenth, Can-Am's Brent Sturdivant.

In the XC2 Pro-Am class,KTM's Josh Kirkland nabbed first place and the Rekluse $100 holeshot award. Following him in second was Yamaha's Brian Wolf and in third, Honda's Eric Hoyland.

In the GNCC morning race, the ladies ruled the podium. FRE KTM's Angel Atwell claimed her third win in a row, despite skipping a gear on the start. Atwell also collected another $100 from GT Thunder for the Morning Race Overall Win. Can-Am's Lexie Coulter took second place and Yamaha's Traci Cecco came in third.

Can-Am's Bryan Buckhannon took first in 4X4 Open, while Clifton Beasley took the win in 4X4 Lites and Michael Swift took first in 4X4 Limited.

The FMF Steele Creek GNCC continues tomorrow with bike racing. The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series then moves on to the Pirelli Big Buck in Union, South Carolina on April 4-5.

XC1 Class

1. Bryan Cook (Hon)

2. Adam McGill (KTM)

3. Bill Ballance (Yam)

4. Taylor Kiser (Yam)

5. Chris Borich (Suz)

6. Chris Bithell (Can)

7. Duane Johnson (Hon)

8. Brandon Sommers (Yam)

9. Johnny Gallagher (Yam)

10. Brent Sturdivant (Can)

XC2

1. Josh Kirkland (KTM)

2. Brian Wolf (Yam)

3. Eric Hoyland (Hon)

4. Dustin Canipe (Kaw)

5. Gabe Phillips (Hon)

6. Parker Johnson (Hon)

7. Rob Hertz (Hon)

8. Scottie Rich (Kaw)

9. Josh Beavers (KTM)

10. Jeremy Rice (Pol)

2009 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Point Standings (After 3 of 13 rounds)

XC1 Class:

1. Taylor Kiser (73/1 win); 2. Chris Borich (70/1 win); 3. Adam McGill (67); 4. Bryan Cook (50/1 win); 5. Donald Ockerman (39); 6. TIE Chris Bithell (37)/Duane Johnson (37); 8. TIE Johnny Gallagher/Brandon Sommers (36); 10. Jarrod McClure (32).

About GNCC Racing: The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1973, 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 1,800 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. Riders compete for more than $3 million in contingency and prize money, which draws talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised and will air beginning April 4th on the Versus Network. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

About Racer Productions: A West Virginia-based motorcycle and ATV event production company, Racer Productions has been a leader in the off-road racing industry for more than 30 years. It's repertoire of events includes the 13-round Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, held since 1973; The Kawasaki/Monster Energy High Point National in Mount Morris, Pa., held since 1977; The ATV Dirt Days at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., held since 1985; The U.S. World Motocross Gran Prix at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa. in 1987; The Monster Energy/Kawasaki Steel City National, held since 1988; The ATV Stampede National Motocross at High Point Raceway, held since 1994; The AMA Pro ATV Open at Steel City in 2007; as well as numerous other amateur motocross events. In addition, Racer Productions staffs the prestigious Air Nautiques/AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's Ranch, held since 1982. For more information, please visit www.racerproductions.com.


Photo By: Matt Ware
In one day, Cook wins round three and finds out he's going to be a proud papa!


Photo By: Matt Ware
McGill said his day is coming soon.


Photo By: Matt Ware
Welcome back Ballance.


Photo By: Matt Ware
Wolf, Kirkland and Highland having a good time on the XC2 Podium


Photo By: Matt Ware
McGill, Cook and Ballance taking in their success


Photo By: Matt Ware
And the XC1 guys are off!


Topic: Events And Races

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WARNING: Much of the action de­pict­­ed in this magazine is potentially dan­gerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced ex­­perts or professionals. Do not at­tempt to duplicate any stunts that are be­­yond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear.
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