Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series

Sparta, KY – Yamaha’s Bill Ballance is back on top in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, but it took an amazing last-turn pass to steal the lead from sophomore pro Adam McGill to take the Weekend Warrior Spartan GNCC. In an amazing battle, Ballance rallied late in the race to grab a big win, and he was aided further when brake troubles slowed his championship rival Chris Borich, who ended up sixth after winning four-straight races.

           “I can’t say enough about the way Adam was riding today,” said Ballance. “He got out front there on the first lap and just started pulling. I think a lot of us were trying to be a little bit more cautious—maybe we shouldn’t have been—in the virgin stuff out there. I was taking it easy, and Adam was just checking out through there and pulled a pretty good lead on the first lap.  After that, the trail cleared up and you could pretty much see everything, so I put my head down and started charging hard.”

           McGill, one of the funniest characters in the sport, captured his first podium of the year and almost won the race. “I got around a few people, and it was me and Brandon [Ballance], and about four or five miles into it, we got into all of that new virgin stuff, and we were making some pretty good time. The next thing I knew, Brandon just goes “Bam” and goes flying over the bars. He got stuck between two trees. I got around him and I just started riding smooth, just thinking about stuff to make me smile so I wouldn’t tense up. I came around the first lap and I was leading, and I was like ‘Man, let’s do this.'”

           Ballance finally closed in and set up a big battle on the last lap. “I slowly started picking up some time and caught him there on the end of the lap,” said Ballance. “He was riding great, but I was just trying inside and outside lines, just anything I could to get around him. He got kicked a little bit there that one time and I was able to pull up beside him and just started grabbing gears and pulled up the hill in front of him. It was an awful tight race.”

           “It was nobody’s fault but mine,” said McGill. “We came down through this off-camber here, right in this field, and I came a little bit wide, and when I did it threw me up over the bars. When I did that, he set back on the seat and got around me. I gave it everything I had, but I just didn’t have enough traction to get up by him. I tried here at the finish line, but what do you do? You have the seven-time champion versus the rookie, so…”

           Bithell came from way back to take third. ‘You know, it just happens,” said Bithell. “I pulled a decent holeshot and just came into the bend and got bumped around. Next thing I know I was thrown off the bike and I was in last. It seems like whenever I wreck in the beginning, I just get mad and really have to hammer down to get around these guys.”

           Bithell put in a big charge to get to third, ahead of Houser/GT Thunder/HMF’s Chris Jenks and East Coast ATV’s Matt Smiley. Borich, with brake troubles, had to stop in the pits, and then put on a charge to climb back to sixth. He is now one point behind Ballance in the series’ standings.

           In the XC2 Pro Am class, Ryan Lane dug down deep to notch his first win of the season, snapping the six-race win streak of GT Thunder Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers. Sommers gave it a run, though, battling like Ballance and Bithell down to the last corner. “Yeah, that’s about as close as it can get,” said Lane. “I heard him coming, and I new my only chance was to cut him off in the last corner, and we kind of tangled, but I guess that’s how it goes.”

           “I knew it was coming, so we had a good race today and I’m happy with what I got,” said Sommers, who came from way back in the pack after a few early crashes. “Two corners before the finish, I had got a nice line and a run on him, and I pulled up on the inside of him, and going into the last corner it was mine unless he came over, and he knew he had to come over, and I didn’t have time to stop and we got into each other and had to pull ourselves apart.”

           “We’ve been real close a bunch of times, but he just wears us out,” said Lane. “And finally he had a little bad luck, and I rode a pretty good pace. I didn’t get too wore out today. Usually on the last lap I’m about ready to throw up.”

           Third went to Kevin Yoho. “I got a decent start and just kept getting caught behind people and just couldn’t get going for awhile,” said Yoho. “I finally got moving the last couple laps and passed a lot of people there and got up to third.”

           While Sommers win streak was over, Yamaha’s Traci Cecco kept her incredible season going with her seventh-straight overall win in the ATV morning race (also her seventh straight win in the women’s class).’s Angel Atwell was second, and Joey “Bam” Margeria was third, an amazing ride on his Yamaha Blaster 200..

           Josh Ribley took the U2 (Utility Unlimited) class on his Kawasaki over Mike Benson, Rick Cecco topped Scott Kilby in the Open 4×4 class, and their Can-Am teammate Cliffton Beasley continued his win streak in the 4×4 Lites class. Michael Swift took the 4×4 Limited class win on a Can-Am.

           The 2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the all-new Moose Racing Snowshoe GNCC in Snowshoe, WV on June 23 and 24.

Photos by David Scearce: [email protected]

Results: Weekend Warrior Spartan GNCC

Sparta, KY

June 9, 2007




1. Bill Ballance YAM XC1

2. Adam McGill HON XC1

3. Chris Bithell HON XC1

4. Chris Jenks HON XC1

5. Matt Smiley HON XC1

6. Chris Borich HON XC1

7. Taylor Kiser YAM XC1

8. Bryan Cook HON XC1

9. Duane Johnson HON XC1

10. William Yokley KAW XC1

11. Michael Houston YAM XC1

12. Craig Reed HON XC1

13. Brent Sturdivant HON XC1

14. Ryan Lane HON XC2

15. Brandon Sommers YAM XC2

16. Jeffrey Pickens HON XC1

17. Jarrod McClure HON XC1

18. Santo Derisi HON XC1

19. Kevin Yoho YAM XC2

20. Michael Burrows HON XC1


2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Standings

(After 7 of 13 rounds)

Top Twenty Overall


1. Bill Ballance 186/3 wins

2. Chris Borich 185/4 wins

3. Chris Bithell 123

4. Taylor Kiser 116

5. Matt Smiley 96

6. Adam McGill 93

7. Chris Jenks 86

8. Brandon Sommers 85

9. Bryan Cook 82

10. William Yokley 73

11. Duane Johnson 57

12. Brandon Ballance 53

13. Ryan Lane 52

14. Craig Reed 47

15. Brent Sturdivant 34

16. Andris Lagzdins 33

17. Michael Houston 33

18. Jarrod McClure 32

19. Donald Ockerman 22

20. Kyle Martin 20

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