FRE KTM’s Adam McGill must endure a difficult transition as he battles for the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Championship. The 20-year-old from West Union, West Virginia used to be known as the funny man of the GNCC tour, but the competition doesn’t find his three-race win streak a laughing matter. As a result, the pro pits are now a lonely place for McGill.
“Nobody talks to me anymore,” says McGill. “Nobody comes up and jokes around with me anymore. But I don’t want to change anything. Winning these races is fun, too.”
Fun for him, yes, but the competition hopes to put an end to his streak this weekend at the Acerbis Loretta Lynn’s GNCC in Hurricane Mills, TN. The longest-running event on the GNCC tour, Loretta’s offers high-speed whooped out terrain that will test the stamina of the world’s best four-wheeled woods pilots.
The GNCC “Killer B’s” of Bill Ballance and Chris Borich hope to rebound at Loretta’s. The duo usually dominates the races, but they currently sit fourth and fifth in the 2008 standings. Borich switched to the Rockstar/Yoshimura Suzuki team this season and won the season opener in Florida, but has yet to finish on the podium (top three) since. Ballance suffered uncharacteristic mechanical troubles at the second race of the season in Georgia and is still winless four rounds into the year.
Another young rider sits second in the standings. Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers, the 2007 GNCC XC2 Pro-Am Champion, has mixed consistent finishes with developing speed to get closer and closer to a victory. Sommers battled McGill hard for a few miles at the last race before logging another podium finish.
Veteran Bryan Cook has been the surprise of the season. The privateer sits third in the standings, and the Team Excell Motorsports rider is thrilled to have so much factory-backed talent behind him.
“It gives you that little extra drive late in the race when you know you’re out front of those guys,” says Cook.
The GNCC field may be deeper than ever, with additional competition coming from Safari Motorsports’ veteran Matt Smiley, the National Guard’s William Yokley, McGill’s KTM teammate Taylor Kiser, Can-Am Warnert Racing’s Chris Bithell and Chris Jenks, and LTERacing.com Can-Am’s Duane Johnson and Brent Sturdivant. The list of riders that could win this weekend’s race easily goes into double digits.
The 10 a.m ATV morning race will feature a battle for the overall between top contenders in the Women’s class and the best Utility and 4×4 riders. Yamaha’s Traci Cecco, Tom Clark Motorsports’ Angel Atwell and Yamaha of Troy’s Stephanie Parton will duke it out in the Women’s ranks. In the 4×4 divisions, Bryan Buckhannon (4×4 Open) and Cliff Beasley (4×4 Lites) are undefeated in the first four rounds of racing. In addition, Michael Swift (4×4 Limited) and Mike Benson (Utility Unlimited) figure to be contenders for the morning race overall win.
Saturday’s action begins with youth racing at 8 a.m. The morning race begins at 10 a.m., and Pro classes race at 1 p.m.
Dirt bike racing will follow the ATV show on Sunday. Red Bull KTM’s David Knight looks for his third-straight win after a victory in South Carolina two weeks ago.
What: The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC), America’s Largest Off Road Racing Series. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to 12 miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed.
When: April 26 and 27, 2008
Where: From Nashville, take I-40 West to Exit 143. Turn right and follow Route 13 North 7 miles to the Ranch on the left.
Who: The Can-Am GNCC Series pits the best of the best in off-road racing against each other. More than 1,400 amateur racers are expected to compete on custom-built dirt bikes and four-wheeled ATVs. Top pro motorcycle riders include David Knight, Barry Hawk, Jr., Charles Mullins, Jimmy Jarrett and Shane Watts. ATV pro riders include Bill Ballance, Chris Borich, Chris Bithell, Matt Smiley and Adam McGill.
GNCC Point Standings
1. Adam McGill (106/3 wins)
2. Bryan Cook (75)
3. Brandon Sommers (73)
4. Chris Borich (63)
5. Bill Ballance (62)
6. Matt Smiley (61)
7. Taylor Kiser (60)
8. William Yokley (58)
9. Ryan Lane (48)
10. Jarrod McClure (44)