Morganton, NC – It might be the most unpredictable start ever to the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. The opening two rounds of the tour witnessed two surprising wins, and a rookie pro—who is a full privateer—leads the early standings. Favorites are struggling, underdogs are prevailing. The series continues with this weekend’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC in Morganton, North Carolina.
“I don’t know how it happened,” says Edmisten, 21. “I’m just putting my head and down and going to the races, and doing what I do best, which is ride.”
Consistency has been Edmisten’s trump card, as no one else put together back-to-back solid rides at the first two GNCC rounds. FunMart/KTMHutt.com’s Shane Watts won the opener in Florida, but he lost his rear brakes in Georgia, which dropped him back to ninth.
Parts Unlimited/Moose Honda’s Paul Whibley had troubles in Florida but rebounded to win his first GNCC ever at round two in Georgia. It appears Whibley has rid himself of the arm pump that plagued him through the 2006 GNCC campaign, and now he’s a real threat.
Other title favorites, like World Enduro Champion David Knight and 2003 GNCC Champion Barry Hawk have struggled. Knight, of the Red Bull KTM team, rode the first two rounds of the season with a broken hand, and he was unable to score points in Georgia after taking second in Florida. After eight-straight days of therapy in a hyperbaric chamber, Knight is hoping his hand will be strong enough to get him through this weekend’s event. Hawk had a bike issue in Georgia and ended up running out of fuel, knocking him out of the points as well.
Hawk’s Am-Pro teammate Charlie Mullins was a favorite to win at the opening rounds, but he struggled with fourth and fifth place finishes. After major suspension surgery, Mullins is reported to be flying now.
“I did some suspension work with Factory Connection, and they said they’re going to get me back up on the podium in North Carolina,” says Mullins.
FMF Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney may have showed more speed than anyone through the opening two rounds of racing, but the flu has slowed the Australian. Now healthy, GK is a threat to win his first-ever GNCC.
As if the drama of the XC1 Pro Class isn’t enough, the all-new XC2 Pro Lites division is just as wide-open. Red Bull KTM’s Kurt Caselli won the first two races, but he is not competing in the GNCCs for the full season, which leaves the championship up for grabs. Red Bull KTM’s young prospect, Justin Williamson, finished behind Caselli in Florida and Am-Pro Yamaha’s young rider, Thad DuVall, was second in Georgia.
The FMF Steele Creek GNCC packs a full weekend of racing, with ATVs racing on Saturday and bikes on Sunday. Pro classes compete at 1 p.m. on both days. The race takes place at the Steele Creek campground in Morganton, NC. From I-40 West, take Exit 105 to Highway 181 North 13 Miles.
For more information on the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, check out www.gnccracing.com.
About GNCC Racing:
The AMA/ATVA-sanctioned Can-Am 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 1,800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. GNCC Racing airs weekly television shows on Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) every Saturday at 3 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m. beginning on April 14. 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 BRP Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Acerbis, Elka, Geico, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Weekend Warrior, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Alpinestars, Cometic, EK Chain, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Motion Pro, Moose Utility Division, Powersport Grafx, Pro Clean, Race Tools, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, Weekend Warrior, and MotoTee’s. Media Sponsors include Racer X Illustrated, ATV Rider, ATV Sport, ATVRiders.com, Dirt Rider and ATV Insider. For more information log on to www.GNCCRacing.com.
2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Overall Standings
1. Garrett Edmisten 46
2. Shane Watts 42
3. Charles Mullins 34
4. Kurt Caselli 34
5. Paul Whibley 30
6. Jimmy Jarrett 29
7. David Knight 25
8. Robbie Jenks 21
9. Jesse Robinson 21
10 Glenn Kearney 15
11. Rodney Smith 15
12. Simo Kirssi 14
13. Barry Hawk 13
14. Thad DuVall 13
15. Justin Williamson 11
16. Bryan Henson 11
17. Joshua Strang 11
18. Mike Kiedrowski 11
19. Josh Weisenfels 10
20. Michael Pugrab 10