EVENT: 2020 VP RACING FUELS BIG BUCK GNCC

Walker Fowler, start to finish By the staff of Dirt Wheels Photos by Ken Hill

The 2020 Grand National Cross-Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized kicked off in South Carolina with the 23rd Annual VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC. It would have been the 24th running, but flooding in 2019 forced the complete cancellation of the event.

WFR/GBC/Fly Racing/Yamaha’s Walker Fowler looks set to extend his run of championships into 2020. He began the season grabbing the $100 All Balls Racing XC1 holeshot. He was the only rider happy about that start. He immediately went to work building a gap between his Yamaha and the rest of class. Two hours later, Fowler collected the checkered flag one minute ahead of the pack.

Yamaha’s perennial GNCC Pro ATV champion Walker Fowler started the season leading from the start to the flag.

HHR/Maxxis/Fly Racing/Ithaca Recreation Sports’ Hunter Hart ran second for most of the day. However, Action Off-Road/Tely Energy Racing/Kenda’s Cole Richardson started in eighth, but he battled forward. Richardson was on a mission to start the season out strong. He came through timing and scoring third on the second lap, and as the pack emerged from the woods on lap three, it was Richardson holding onto second. After a disappointing start to the season last year, JMR/GBC/Elka/Moose Racing’s Jarrod McClure battled inside the top five for the duration of the race, making his way to third as he rounded the corner and headed to the finish line on the fourth and final lap. After many years and championships on a Suzuki with one year on a Yamaha thrown in, Chris Borich was aboard a Phoenix Racing Honda. Borich swapped back and forth between fourth and fifth. As the white flag waved, Borich made a last-lap push to regain fourth place. Hart would remain inside the top five.

Most GNCC courses include some moto-style grass-track sections. New Phoenix Honda rider Chris Borich is leading Yamaha pilot Brycen Neal.
GNCC champ Walker Fowler with ATV-MX national champ Joel Hetrick. Hetrick wasn’t racing, but his Phoenix Racing is sponsoring some racers, including Chris Borich.

XC2 PRO-AM

Last year’s XC2 Pro-Am-class runner-up Drew Landers (LanMills XC/WFR/Magna1 Lubricants) took the first win of the season. Action Offroad/Maxxis/Blud Lubricants’ Austin Abney made his way back to GNCC racing this season. He led the opening lap of racing in the XC2 class, but fell back to second and stayed there. Jordan Poplaskie fought his way back from a fifth-place start to a podium finish.

Yamaha’s Drew Landers was second in the 2019 XC2 Pro-Am series, but he started the 2020 series with a class win and 11th overall.
The Big Buck GNCC is famed for hills so steep that quads tumble down if they don’t make the climb. Westley Wolfe was the only rider in the Pro class on a Suzuki LT-R450. He finished 7th.

4X4 PRO

As the morning race kicked off, it was no surprise that a Can-Am was out front of the 4×4 Pro race. The brand filled the first five places at the finish! Can-Am/Kenda/Lucas Oil/BNR’s Jordan Phillips grabbed the $100 BNR Motorsports 4×4 Pro holeshot award. However, current champ OBOR/Can-Am/DeRisi Racing/Action Sports’ Landon Wolfe was right behind him, and he grabbed the lead on the first lap. Wolfe had Pierce Performance/Moose Racing/Spider Graphix’s Cody Collier hot on his heels. Wolfe put a 5-second gap on the field for his first win of the 2020 season. Collier would nab second overall and in 4×4 Pro.

The WXC women racers put on an exciting race, as Ryland Johnson Racing/Precision Racing/Tireballs’ Hannah Hunter took the opening round victory. Hunter jumped off to a great start. She battled multi-time champ Traci Pickens, but regained the lead before the checkered flag flew. Fly Racing/GBC Motorsports/Yamaha Racing’s Pickens finished second. After a fifth-place start, Pierce Performance/560 Graphics/Maxxis’ Sadiee Gorrell made her way back to the front of the pack, rounding out the WXC top three riders.

Especially early in the event, GNCC ATV racing can be very close and competitive. This four-rider freight train is part of the 30+ A class.
With somewhat typical wet conditions this year, much of the ATV course ruts up. Kenny Shick was 7th in the XC2 Pro-Am class and 17th overall.

XC1 Pro ATV

1. Walker Fowler (Yam)

2. Cole Richardson (Yam)

3. Jarrod M. McClure (Hon)

4. Chris M. Borich (Hon)

5. Hunter Hart (Yam)

4×4 Pro

1. Landon C Wolfe (Can)

2. Cody Collier (Can)

3. Dwight Pollard (Can)

4. Robbie D. Pecorari Can)

5. Jordan Phillips (Can)

XC2 Pro-Am ATV

1. Drew Landers (Yam)

2. Austin Abney (Hon)

3. Jordan Poplaskie (Yam)

4. Branden Owens (Yam)

5. Dylan R. Walraven (Hon)

WXC

1. Hannah Hunter (Hon)

2. Traci Pickens (Yam)

3. Sadiee Gorrell (Yam)

4. Angel Magee (Hon)

5. Morgan Solesbee (Yam)

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