|Summersville, WV - It took 12 races and almost seven months, but East Coast ATV's Chris Borich finally figured out the four-strokes and railed to an ATVA Grand National Cross Country win over Yamaha's Bill Ballance. But as sweet as taking a victory at the first-ever Mountaineer GNCC in West Virginia was, it was too little and too late, because Ballance locked up his fifth-straight GNCC ATV Championship. |
"Finally!" said Borich, the GNCC young gun from Pennsylvania. "I did a lot of riding over the summer, and we rode some motocross a lot. Then we built a new Honda 450 and I raced it in Kentucky and liked it. Today, me and Bill got away and on the last lap, I passed him. He went one way and I went another and I snuck by. It feels real good. Bill was riding on the top of his game there."
"That was the hardest battle I've had all year long," said Ballance. "Chris snuck by me in the lappers. I may have won the title, but this digs into my guts, and I'm ready to get after it and win next week."
Yoshimura/Suzuki's William Yokley battled past Team Safari's Matt Smiley to take third. "Matt's a good rider," said the popular Kentucky rider. "We were coming down this logging road, and I got behind him and ducked in between two trees going down a hill. I got inside of him and he had no choice but to shut down, because I would have stuffed him. It was all fair game, I try to keep it clean, but sometimes you have to do it. Today I just wasn't comfortable running the pace that Bill and Chris were."
Team Am Pro Yamaha's Chad DuVall hung on for fifth despite blowing a rear shock.
As just the second rider to collect as many as five GNCC titles, Ballance has already earned himself a spot in the all-time ATV racing hall of fame. But this championship was especially significant, since he did it on a production machine, the Yamaha YFZ450. "I really didn't expect it to be this easy," said Ballance. "Every year the competition gets tougher and tougher, and I really thought after two or three years of this I would maybe lose some motivation. But I'm lucky because I'm just as fired up now as ever. I just signed a two-year deal to race with Yamaha as a full factory effort, so this is what we all dreamed about, being able to make a living racing. I can't believe how far it has all come."
The next round of the ATVA Grand National Cross Country Series takes place in two weeks with the Power Line Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
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, GPR Stabilizer. Moto-Tee's, Warrior and Laeger's.
GNCC ATV Overall Top Ten
Mountaineer GNCC, Summersville, WV
1. Chris Borich, Sunbury, PA (Hon)
2. Bill Ballance, Oakland, KY (Yam)
3. William Yokley, Tompkinsville, KY (Suz)
4. Matt Smiley, Kunkletown, PA (Yam)
5. Chad DuVall, Williamstown, WV (Yam)
6. Jeremy Rice, Fombell, PA (Hon)
7. Chris Jenks, Washington, WV (Yam)
8. Michael Houston, Hickory, NC (Hon)
9. Brandon Ballance, Oakland, KY (Yam)
10. Rob Hertz, Brookhaven, PA (Hon)
GNCC ATV Points Standings (After 12 of 14 rounds)
1. Bill Ballance (313/7 wins)
2. William Yokley (220/2 wins)
3. Matt Smiley (203)
4. Chris Borich (184/1 win)
5. Chad DuVall (171)
6. Bryan Cook (147/1 win)
7. Jeremy Rice (121)
8. Chris Jenks (119)
9. Brandon Ballance (109)
10. Greg Trew (99)