Round six of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series, an AMA National Championship took place on Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd. This marked the second running of the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC in Peru, Indiana. The X-Factor hunting preserve sits on over 1,200 acres of forest and fields. The ranch, and the GNCC round are named after the record-breaking deer that sent shockwaves through the world of whitetails, X Factor. The course is a faster one, with sweeping grass tracks and fast, flowing woods sections. Though Indiana is not well-known for massive hills there are some short but steep ones, along with several creek crossings and occasional exposed roots that add a little bit of technicality to the course.
Though many remember the mud fest of 2017, Mother Nature was much kinder to the racers as they returned for this year’s event. For Saturday’s morning ATV race it was mostly overcast skies with some intermittent light rain, which actually improved the somewhat dry track conditions. For Sunday’s morning bike race, the fields were hard-packed and somewhat dusty, while conditions were nearly perfect in the wooded trails. Around 60 female racers competed at the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC; where Traci Pickens was back on top in the ATV WXC class, and Tayla Jones took home win number five in the bike WXC class.
Like in the last two ATV races, Sadiee Gorrell grabbed got the holeshot. Despite briefly getting caught up in the mud, she maintained the lead throughout the first lap, coming in with Traci Pickens not far behind. Katelyn Osburn got stuck in a creek section and lost some time, but she managed to come through the barrels in third with a two second lead over Sadie Welch. Likewise, Megan Shepherd, who started the race in second, got stuck in a mud hole and dropped back to sixth. After a mid pack start, problems on a hill climb pushed Jaida Phillips back into seventh place.
Pickens came through in the lead on the second lap, and Osburn made a pass on Gorrell in the field section just before the scoring zone. The two of them came through relatively close together, and both were not far off Pickens. Unfortunately, Gorrell suffered a mechanical problem on the third lap and was unable to finish. This moved Welch up into third place, and Shepherd, who was still recovering from her first lap mistake, had been steadily gaining ground on the lead pack. It was a bad day for mechanical problems, as she too would be unable to finish the race. Her misfortune allowed Kara Short to take fourth and moved Phillips into fifth.
Meanwhile Osburn, who took the win at Camp Coker Bullet, had passed Pickens on a hill climb and the two were engaged in a heated battle for the win. Osburn went into the last lap with Pickens right on her tail – only two-tenths of a second separated the riders. They continued to exchange the lead throughout the last lap. Pickens would come out on top after Osburn tagged a tree, though the two still finished within sight of each other. Pickens told us “Today was a perfect day for racing… Kate [Osburn] battled all day wheel-to-wheel, exchanging the lead several times.” Osburn agreed “Yeah, it was a fun battle, especially going back and forth the whole last lap!” Traci also mentioned that she was very proud of Welch for taking home her first-ever WXC podium. Welch finished third, and was very excited, saying “Traci was the first person to hug me after the race. She has been my role model since I was six years old, and it was amazing being on the box next to her!”
Morgan Johnson was back to her winning ways this weekend, taking her fifth win out of six races in the Girls ATV youth class. Alexis Keys and Andrea Rodgers rounded out the podium. Meanwhile, Hannah Hunter came out on top this weekend in the Women’s ATV class. Hannah Hunter also took her fifth win out of six races, while Stephanie Wray Parks finished second and Sydney Sams finished third.
In the micro ATV race, the lone girl Raelynn Dickerson took took 7th in class and 16thoverall. Three girls competed in the micro bike race: Isabel Boorom, Breanna Kerr and Hailey Grounds.
ATV WXC Pro Event Results:
- Traci Pickens (YAM) GBC / Yamaha / Fly Racing
- Katelyn Osburn (HON) Spider Graphix
- Sadie Welch (HON)
- Kara Short (HON) Veterans Family Racing
- Jaida Phillips (YAM) GBC/Rekluse
- Megan Shepherd (HON) Stewart Boys Racing
- Sadiee Gorrell (YAM) Maxxis / Fivesixo Graphics / Custom Axis / Pierce Performance
- Andrea Berger (YAM)
ATV WXC National Championship Standings:
- Traci Pickens (170)
- Katelyn Osburn (135)
- Sadiee Gorrell (104)
- Megan Shepherd (96)
- Jaida Phillips (92)
- Kara Short (82)
- Alicia McCormick (82)
- Angel Knox (46)
- Sadie Welch (37)
- Morgan Solesbee (14)