KANATI TIRES BUCKWHEAT 100: GNCC ATV RACE REPOORT

Fowler Back on Top; Neal Earns 2023 National Championship

By Kayla Bolton, Photos by Ken Hill

NEWBURG, W.Va. (October 8, 2023) – The penultimate round of racing for The 2023 Progressive Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) kicked off in West Virginia with the Kanati Tires Buckwheat 100 on Friday and Saturday for eMTB and ATV racing. With only one round of racing left after this weekend, the battles are becoming even more heated as National Championships are on the line.

When the green flag waved in the first turn it would be Action Off-Road/GBC Tires/Rath Racing/SSi Decal’s Joshua Merritt getting the jump off the line first to earn himself the $100 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. However, he would have a handful of riders hot on his heels ready to take over the lead as they headed into the woods.

Walker Fowler (WFR/GBC/Fly Racing/Yamaha) would return to the center of the podium this weekend as he earned his first win since returning from his injury.
Walker Fowler (WFR/GBC/Fly Racing/Yamaha) would return to the center of the podium this weekend as he earned his first win since returning from his injury. – Ken Hill

Hunter Hart Racing/Ithaca Recreation Sports/Fly Racing’s Hunter Hart would make his way into the lead early on lap one, but he would be unable to hold off Phoenix Racing Yamaha’s Brycen Neal as he made the pass stick on the second lap. Neal would continue to push for the next couple of laps before disaster almost struck him as he had a mechanical issue on the last lap that left him and his team scrambling to fix on the side of the track.

As Neal and his team worked hard to fix the issue, WFR/GBC/Fly Racing/Yamaha’s Walker Fowler was continuing to push towards the front of the pack steadily making his way up to the front from a fifth place start to the day. By the last lap Fowler had moved into second and was gaining. He would make the pass for the lead and continue on until he saw that checkered flag waving to greet him on his first win back since his injury.

Hart would come through to earn second overall on the day after battling back and forth at the front for the duration of the race. Richardson Racing/Action Off-Road/Kenda’s Cole Richardson would cross the line third overall on the day as he continued to battle between second and third place positions throughout the entire race.

Hunter Hart #3 and Cole Richardson #4 would battle back-and-forth for majority of the race in West Virginia.
Hunter Hart #3 and Cole Richardson #4 would battle back-and-forth for majority of the race in West Virginia. – Ken Hill

After grabbing the holeshot Merritt continued to push and would cross the line fourth overall on the day and in the XC1 Pro class. Stewart Boys Racing/GBC/Pierce Performance/Focus X’s Wyatt Wilkin made his way into a top five overall finishing position after starting back in sixth on the opening lap.

Abney Racing/Action Off-Road/Maxxis/Lonestar Racing’s Austin Abney would earn his best finish thus far in the season as he crossed the line sixth overall on the day. Action Off-Road/AMSOIL/Fly Racing’s Chris Borich would continue to push as he came through eighth overall and seventh in the XC1 class. Bullet Proof Doorz/BNR Motorsports/Senge Graphic’s Ronnie Rusch would finish eleventh overall, and eighth in his class.

Brycen Neal (Phoenix Racing Yamaha) clinched his second-straight Overall GNCC ATV National Championship.
Brycen Neal (Phoenix Racing Yamaha) clinched his second-straight Overall GNCC ATV National Championship. – Ken Hill

Neal and his team would get his machine up and running again, and the race was on as Neal needed to finish with enough points ahead of Hart to earn the 2023 Overall GNCC ATV National Championship. As he made his way through the woods and into the field leading up to the finish line, he was running 12th overall and ninth in the XC1 class which would be enough to secure his second-straight championship.

Sturdivant Racing’s Brent Sturdivant would round out the top 10 finishers in the XC1 class.

In the XC2 Pro-Am class it would be Phoenix Racing Yamaha’s Grayson Eller making the move into the lead early on in the race, and he would continue to hold that position until the checkered flag flew. Eller would earn his first win of the season and continue to hold his second place position in the points standings. Walker Racing/Nine2 Technologies/Kenda Tire’s Tanner Walker would run in third for the start of the race, but he would make the pass for second as they came through on the fourth lap of the race. Walker would hold that position until he saw the checkered flag. BNR Motorsports/GBC Tires/SSi Decals/Fly Racing’s Kenny Shick would round out the top three finishers in the XC2 class in West Virginia.

Grayson Eller (Phoenix Racing Yamaha) earned his first XC2 Pro-Am class win of the season.
Grayson Eller (Phoenix Racing Yamaha) earned his first XC2 Pro-Am class win of the season. – Ken Hill

Earning the Top Amateur honors at the Kanati Tires Buckwheat 100 was Alex Thieman who came through seventh overall and first in the College A (16-19) class. Tavin Cook was second on the Top Amateur podium as he finished second in the College A (16-19) class and tenth overall on the day. Daulton Keyes rounded out the Top Amateur podium in third with a 16th overall finish, and a first in the Junior A (20+) class.

Coming through first in the 4×4 Pro class was LW Racing/OBOR Tires/Action Off-Road’s Landon Wolfe after he made a last lap pass for the number one position. Wolfe would start the day behind Ryco Racing/Kenda Tires/KMK Off-Road/Elite Graphic’s Cody Collier, but Wolfe would continue to push and challenge his competitors as the race went on. Collier would hold onto the second place position in his class, while Edgewood/TMS/DeRisi Racing’s Brandon Frazier would round out the top three finishers in the 4×4 Pro class. Collier and Frazier will battle for the National Championship at Ironman in two weeks. BNR Motorsports/Can-Am/GBC Tires/HMF/Tennessee Towing’s Robbie Pecorari would earn himself the $100 BNR Motorsports 4×4 Pro Holeshot Award to start the day.

Brody Lee would come through to earn the overall win in the morning race, as he came from the Schoolboy Sr. row to physically finish third and take the win on adjusted time.

Landon Wolfe (LW Racing/OBOR/Action Off-Road) earned the 4x4 Pro class win.
Landon Wolfe (LW Racing/OBOR/Action Off-Road) earned the 4×4 Pro class win. – Ken Hill

The WXC battle was on from the beginning as Team Pickens/GBC/Yamaha Racing’s Traci Pickens earned the $100 BNR Motorsports WXC Holeshot Award, the women would then continue to swap positions throughout the two-hour race. Pro Graphx/Penske Racing Shocks/Lonestar Racing’s Chloe Harper would make her way into the lead on the last lap of the race as she worked her way up from a fourth place start to the day. Hurricane Hannah/Fly Racing/OBOR Tires/HMF’s Hannah Hunter would continue to battle as she started the day in fifth, but she would soon move up to battle at the front of the pack.

Hunter would move into the second place position after battling with Elioff Racing/BNR Motorsports/GBC Tires/Fly Racing’s Jessica Elioff. Elioff would run second for majority of the race, but after a hard-charging Hunter came through she would finish 1.4 seconds behind her in third to round out the top three WXC finishers. The WXC National Championship will go down to the last round at Ironman as Elioff holds the lead over Hunter.

Chloe Harper (center), Hannah Hunter (right) and Jessica Elioff (left) rounded out the top three WXC finishers on Saturday.
Chloe Harper (center), Hannah Hunter (right) and Jessica Elioff (left) rounded out the top three WXC finishers on Saturday. – Ken Hill

As the Youth ATV race got underway, Andrew Smallwood would grab the early lead and continue to try and place a gap over the rest of the field. Smallwood would continue to lead for the duration of the race and take home the overall and YXC1 Super Mini Sr. (13-15) class win. Grant Hunter would make his way up to second by the time the checkered flag flew, and Ryan Wilhelm would cross the line in third overall and in the YXC1 class.

Bodie Buckhannon would earn his first YXC2 Super Mini Jr. (12-13) class win, while Jacob Smallwood and Avery Collins rounded out the YXC2 podium. Garrett Cox would take home the 250 (13-15) class win. Isaac Smith would take the 250 (13-15) Limited class win. Michael Stringfellow came through first to earn the 125 (8-12) class win, while Kane Cecco earned the 125 (8-12) Limited class win. Chase Rayburn would take home the 90 (8-12) class win. Paisley Stout would come through to earn the Schoolgirl Sr. (13-15) class win, while Tatum Coriell took home the Schoolgirl Jr. (12-15) class win. Gracie Wolfe would earn the Girls Sr. (12-15) class win, and Jenna Berg would come through first in the Girls Jr. (8-11) class. In the 70 CVT (6-11) class it was Jase Strouse earning the class win.

Andrew Smallwood would come away with the Youth overall win.
Andrew Smallwood would come away with the Youth overall win. – Ken Hill

In the Micro ATV race it would be Torque Tong coming through to take the overall win and the MXC1 (8-9) class win. Bryson Dickerson and JP Pickens Jr. would battle back and forth for majority of the race, but both would round out the top three finishers of the MXC1 (8-9) class.

Ryder Tenney came through to take the MXC2 (6-8) class win at the eleventh round of the season. Colt Delabar and Casen Jennings would round out second and third in the MXC2 (6-8) class in West Virginia.

Kolston Wilson would come through on his fifth lap to earn the 50 Sr. (6-7) class win, while Justin Collins Jr. battled back to earn the 50 Jr. (4-5) class win. Brantley Slack earned the 90 Stock (8-9) class at round eleven, while Tori Barrett took home the 110 CVT Stock (8-9) class win.

As the Micro Bike race came to an end it would be Gage Lane coming through to earn the overall win and the MXC1 (8-9) class win. Lane sits second in the points standings with just one more race remaining in the season. Tripp Lewis would come through to earn second overall on the day but take home the MXC2 (6-8) class win. Maverick Boyer would earn second in the MXC1 (8-9) class and third overall at round eleven.

Shawn Remington Jr. would round out the top three finishers in the MXC1 (8-9) class at the Buckwheat 100. Ben McDougald and Todd Toland would battle back to finish second and third in the  MXC2 (6-8) class.

Kane Morrison came through to earn the 50 Sr. 1 (7) class, while Ryder Baricska won the 50 Sr. 2 (6) class. In the Micro-E (4-7) class it would be Colsen O’Bryant earning the class win at round eleven. Ryder Bower battled back to earn the 50 Jr. 1 (6-7) class as Carson Zink won the 50 Jr. 2 (4-5) class. Hudson Lutz took home the Micro Shaft Drive (4-6) class and Cad Propst would earn the Trail Rider (7-9) class win in West Virginia.

Torque Tong earned the Micro ATV overall win on Saturday morning.
Torque Tong earned the Micro ATV overall win on Saturday morning. – Ken Hill

On Friday afternoon The Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship would host its penultimate round of racing, which would see Gear Bicycle Sales/Specialized’s Charlie Mullins come through to earn the overall win over Ride Kanuga/Specialized Bicycle’s/Rouleur Coaching’s Cypress Gorry. Cody Pivirotto would battle back to earn third overall and in the XC1 Pro class. Cooper Kuneff would take the XC2 class win, while Gunnar Shogren earned his third win in the XC3 (40+) class. Ashley Hendershot took home the WXC win, and Madisyn Marsh earned the Women’s class win. Phillip Sollon would come through to take the Amateur class win, while Barry Hawk earned the Senior 40+ class win. Don Bohn took home the Masters (55+) class win with Mary Aloisio earning the Big Bore (200lb+) class win. In the Youth class it was Levi Ringer earning the win at Kanati Tires the Buckwheat 100.

The AMSOIL Moto Hero went to Cody Wolford from Dryfork, West Virginia. Cody served in the Army 101st Airborne 1st 320th Field Artillery Division. He was a sergeant with the 13F MOS, also known as a fire support specialist. This is a critical role in the U.S. Army as he was responsible for providing artillery, mortar and naval gunfire support to ground units during combat. Cody served 3 1/2 years from 2017 – 2020. He was deployed to Africa for Justified Acord of 2020 to help train side by side for peacekeeping missions and crisis response. Cody received a set of Kanati truck tires courtesy of Kanati and GBC, a set of 100% camo goggles and a commemorative American flag and gift card courtesy of Columbia Sign and Co.

The GNCC Season Finale will take place on October 20-22, in Crawfordsville, Indiana with the Yamaha Racing Ironman GNCC. This event will be the series Breast Cancer Awareness event, so wear your pink! There will also be live entertainment Friday and Saturday, along with trick-or-treating, a Halloween costume contest, ePeeWee Racing and so many more special activities and events taking place. More information on the event can be found online at www.gnccracing.com/event/ironman.

Catch GNCC Pro ATV and Motorcycle Racing free via RacerTV.com all season long. Pro ATV Racing starts Saturday’s at 2pm ET, with the exception of Big Buck, Snowshoe and Ironman events where they will start at 1pm ET. GNCC Pro Motorcycle Racing will begin at 1pm ET on Sunday’s. Later in the year GNCC Racing will premiere on MAVTV with event highlight episodes.

For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

Walker Fowler (center), Hunter Hart (right) and Cole Richardson (left) rounded out the top three Kanati Tires Buckwheat 100 overall finishers.
Walker Fowler (center), Hunter Hart (right) and Cole Richardson (left) rounded out the top three Kanati Tires Buckwheat 100 overall finishers. – Ken Hill

Kanati Tires Buckwheat 100 Results and Points Standings

Newburg, West Virginia
Round 11 of 12
Saturday, October 7, 2023

XC1 Pro Event Results:

  1. Walker Fowler (YAM)
  2. Hunter Hart (YAM)
  3. Cole Richardson (YAM)
  4. Joshua Merritt (YAM)
  5. Wyatt Wilkin (YAM)
  6. Austin Abney (YAM)
  7. Chris Borich (YAM)
  8. Ronnie Rusch (YAM)
  9. Brycen Neal (YAM)
  10. Brent Sturdivant (YAM)

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Brycen Neal (266)
  2. Hunter Hart (230)
  3. Cole Richardson (218)
  4. Adam McGill (167)
  5. John Glauda Jr. (156)
  6. Joshua Merritt (155)
  7. Wyatt Wilkin (135)
  8. Jarrod McClure (122)
  9. Jay Shadron (118)
  10. Steve Harrell (113)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2023 National Champion.

XC2 Pro-Am Event Results:

  1. Grayson Eller (YAM)
  2. Tanner Walker (YAM)
  3. Kenny Shick (YAM)
  4. Chase Allison (YAM)
  5. James Glauda (YAM)
  6. Dylan Walraven (YAM)
  7. Branden Owens (YAM)
  8. Charles Dunn III (HON)

XC2 Pro-Am Series Standings:

  1. Steve Harrell (295)
  2. Grayson Eller (239)
  3. Branden Owens (199)
  4. Tanner Walker (187)
  5. James Glauda (179)
  6. Dylan Walraven (167)
  7. Layne McCormick (151)
  8. Kenny Shick (147)
  9. Chase Allison (118)
  10. Charles Dunn III (106)

To get the latest GNCC Racing clothing and merchandise visit https://www.mototees.com.

How to Watch

Racer TV and MAVTV are the official homes for coverage of the Progressive Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. All 12 rounds, from the season opener in South Carolina to the finale, will air in taped-delayed telecasts on MAVTV, while Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 2 p.m. ATV and 1 p.m. motorcycle races from each event. Catch all the action at http://www.mavtv.com/ and http://www.racertv.com/.  

About GNCC Racing

The Progressive Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized is the world premier cross country racing series. Founded in 1975, the 12-round motorcycle and ATV championship and 9-round eMTB championship, is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling two and three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 2,700 riders through racetracks 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. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Central America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised live on RacerTV.com. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders’ interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.

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