Less than thirty minutes away from the Daytona Bike Week festivities, the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis and sanctioned by AMA, kicked off its 13-round series with the inaugural running of the Moose Racing Mud Mucker GNCC
. The event held true to its name as Saturday's ATV competition saw some of the wettest terrain of the entire circuit, but that didn't stop five-time GNCC National Champion Chris Borich from taking the first win of 2014 in Bunnell, Fla.
Borich got off to an early start aboard his Maxxis-backed machine after grabbing the $250 Twin Air/DeRisi Racing XC1 Holeshot ahead of nearly twenty other XC1 Pro competitors. Precision/Maxxis Tires/Suzuki's Chris Bithell, who took over the lead on the opening lap, quickly challenged Borich. GT Thunder-backed Brian Wolf inserted himself into the lead battle early on, breaking up the Suzuki duo of Bithell and Borich. However, Wolf ran into mechanical issues that caused him to fall outside the top ten by the second lap.
Meanwhile, N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha's Walker Fowler worked his way through the pack from a start outside the top five. Fowler jumped in behind Borich and Bithell to begin an exciting three-way battle for the lead.
RacingPowersports.com/CST Tires/PirateMX.com's Adam McGill put himself within striking distance of Fowler and the leaders in the early portion of the two-hour competition but as the race wore on, McGill's machine wasn't able to withstand the muddy conditions. McGill pulled off after the third lap and never returned to the course.
It was also a tough day for BNR Motorsports/Loctite's Kevin Yoho as the Ohio native experienced mechanical issues early in the race. Yoho was running inside the top five before his machine broke down on the course.
The three-way battle for the lead position became more exciting as the race wore on as less than ten seconds separated the top three runners throughout the second half of the race. As the two-lap card fell, Bithell and Borich were wheel-to-wheel, even swapping the lead a few times on the final lap.
Borich said, “There were so many lines out there and I think he [Bithell] bobbled a little and I was able to get by him. On the last lap a stick poked out and grabbed my tether and killed the bike, so he was able to get by me again.”
However, it was the reigning champ who prevailed in the end after putting his patented last-lap pass on Bithell to take over the lead as the duo came into the final turns within seconds of one another. Borich went on to capture his sixty-eighth career victory to put him in the lead for all-time ATV wins. With Saturday's win, the current points leader is now tied with Barry Hawk for all-time GNCC victories with sixty-eight.
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