Washington, GA – The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country riders left the deep sand of Florida behind, but toll that the race took on them could still be felt at round two of the series at Aonia Pass MX in Georgia. Even GNCC Champion Juha Salminen admitted he felt a little weak, but he barely showed it by leading all day and topping 1700 riders to win the Maxxis General GNCC.
“Today, the first two laps I felt really exhausted, you know? I felt soft, I felt tired, I think it was from Florida. After those laps, I felt pretty good, and I had to control the race behind me. We had that Florida race, and I think everyone on the track today was still feeling that race.”
In Florida, Salminen won by four minutes. In Georgia, FMF Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney kept him honest hovering around 30 seconds behind most of the day.
“I rode pretty well today,” said Kearney. “I was a bit disappointed in Florida, I felt like I left the team down. I felt good in the first half, and then I heard Rodney (Smith) was coming, so I tried to turn it up a little bit. I closed the gap on Juha a little bit, but not a great deal. I got a little tired on the last lap because I kept pushing.”
Kearney did have pressure from his teammate Rodney Smith, who put in his best GNCC in over a year by coming from a first-turn crash all the way into third. But a big crash sent Smith reeling back to eighth. Third place went to KTM’s Mike Lafferty, who came from way back, continuing to show heart and endurance like he did in Florida. His KTM teammate Robbie Jenks took fourth, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Fred Andrews was fifth.
Am Pro Yamaha’s super rookie Charles Mullins actually crossed the line in third, but he was penalized when he ran out of fuel on the last lap and received a quick fill up outside the pro pit area. Mullins rode well, but unfortunately pro riders can only get gas from GNCC officials or other riders if they run out of fuel, so the penalty stuck and Mullins was relegated back into the pack.
Kawasaki Team Green’s Garrett Edmisten took GNCC top amateur honors with seventh overall and a win in the Four-Stroke A Class. He rode a Kawasaki KX450F.
The Maxxis General GNCC was the second-largest GNCC ever, with nearly 1700 individual racers in motorcycle and ATV classes, and over 1000 motorcycle racers on Sunday.
The Suzuki GNCC Series continues in two weeks with the Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, North Carolina. For more information, log on to www.GNCCRacing.com.
The Maxxis General GNCC was taped for an airing on the Outdoor Life Network as part of the Racer TV Series. GNCC TV begins on Saturday, April 1st at 3 p.m.
The AMA-sanctioned Suzuki Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. 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 1800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Tire Balls, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Acerbis, Alpinestars, Cometic, Outerwears, Twin Air, Polisport Plastics, Thor, Motion Pro, Hyper Wheels, Elka Suspension, MotoTee’s, Weekend Warrior, Owens Motorsports, Tom’s Marina Polaris, EK Chain and Laeger’s. Media Sponsors include Dirt Rider Magazine, ATV Sport Magazine, www.ATVRiders.com and Racer X Illustrated. For more information log on to www.GNCCRacing.com.
Maxxis General GNCC
March 12, 2006
1. Juha Salminen Vantaa, Finland KTM 02:44:53
2. Glenn Kearney Australia, SUZ 02:45:38
3. Michael Lafferty Estell Manor, NJ KTM 02:48:43
4. Robbie Jenks New Straitsville, OH KTM 02:48:50
5. Fred Andrews Salem, OH KAW 02:49:53
6. Paul Whibley Petersburg, KY HON 02:50:15
7. Garrett Edmisten Vero Beach, FL KAW 02:50:43
8. Shane Watts Australia, KTM 02:51:29
9. Rodney Smith Antioch, CA SUZ 02:52:28
10. Jimmy Jarrett Beloit, OH SUZ 02:52:40
11. Cole Calkins East Sparta, OH 187 YAM 02:52:58
12. Travis Green Vinton, OH KAW 02:53:31
13. Jesse Robinson Connellys Spg, NC KAW 02:54:55
14. Ryan Voase England Pro KAW 02:55:54
15. Stephen Edmondson Landy, VA KTM 02:56:04
16. Andrew Matusek Fayetteville, GA KAW 02:56:11
17. Russell Bobbitt Fayetteville, GA KTM 02:58:19
18. D R Atwood Millfield, OH KTM 02:58:50
19. Christopher Robertson Athens, OH YAM 02:59:32
20. Bryan Henson Landrum, SC KTM 02:59:32