Morganton, NC – The wide-open Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series just got wilder, as Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk logged a dramatic come-from-behind win to take the FMF Steele Creek GNCC in the mountains of Morganton, North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. After three hours of racing, Hawk swapped the lead back and forth at least five times through the final grass track section with FMF Suzuki’s Glenn Kearney, and then made one last pass within inches of the finish line. Kearny collapsed in complete exhaustion after the battle but held on for second, and likewise Fun Mart/KTMHutt/Maxxis rider Shane Watts flashed across the finish third, and collapsed as well.
“I’ve had some good ones, but that was definitely one of the best,” said Hawk on the podium. “I guess I’m not too old to keep winning these races. And I feel bad for Glenn. That’s twice in the last few races where we’ve battled right down to the end, and I got him. I had scouted out that last corner and figured if anything came down to it, I could put pressure on the guy and get him to jump the ditch so far that he would go to the outside. And lo and behold that’s exactly the way it worked out at the finish.”
Kearny raced his heart out, and had to be attended to by medics for exhaustion. The hard-working Australian has fought the flu through the first rounds of the GNCC Series, but held strong all day at Steele Creek until finally giving up the lead with one turn of the finish.
Watts was with the leaders all day too and ultimately finished third. “If I didn’t get tired I think I would have these guys,” said Watts, who led an early lead pack of David Knight and Charlie Mullins. “After two laps I was spent. I just started cruising, but for some reason I stayed right with them. That was all I had. I give Barry credit, he rode bloody well. On the last lap, I was in second behind Glenn, and I was holding Barry up, so I finally moved over and just thought “you have to get going man” so I let him by. If I can get my fitness up by the next round at the Big Buck, it’s on again.”
Quietly, Kawasaki privateer Garrett Edmisten stayed strong all day to finish fourth. The 21-year-old continues to lead the GNCC standings after three solid finishes in the early season. Fifth went to Red Bull KTM’s David Knight, who had just taken the lead early in the race when he ran into fuel problems.
Knight caught Mullins on the last lap, and Mullins was running slowly, apparently struggling with light-headedness. They came together in the last field section and both went down, but Knight got up first and ended up with the spot. “It wasn’t anything on purpose,” said Knight. “I went to the inside, and he cut me off and I had nowhere to go except into a post, and I accidentally crashed and I took him out. I didn’t want to take him out or nothing, but there was nothing I could do.”
FMF Suzuki’s Jimmy Jarrett narrowly grabbed the Racer X Holeshot Award, but got dirt stuck into his carb, which stuck his float open and led to poor fuel mileage. He ran out of fuel.
In the XC2 Pro Lites class (for 250 four-strokes), age battled youth and came out on top, as FMF Suzuki’s 43-year-old legend Rodney Smith won a race-long duel with 17-year old Thad DuVall, of the Am Pro Yamaha team. “I was riding all alone by myself, and I got cross-rutted and hit a tree,” said DuVall. “That shook me up pretty good. Me and Rodney had a really good race, but the lappers were tough. He just has so much experience in the lappers.” Third place went to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/FAR Kawasaki rider Scott Watkins. “I started training pretty early before the season, and it’s paying off,” said Watkins. “But I want to win one of these races. Anyone who says they weren’t tired from this race today is lying.”
Watkins teammate Cole Calkins grabbed the Thumpertalk.com Holeshot Award but ultimately lost a few spots dealing with blisters. “I don’t know what is going on with that, but I’m going to have to get it figured out,” said Calkins.
The Can-Am GNCC Series continues in three weeks with the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina. For more information, 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.
FMF Steel Creek GNCC
1. Barry Hawk (XC1 Am-Pro Yamaha YZ250)
2. Glenn Kearney (XC1 FMF Suzuki RM250)
3. Shane Watts (XC1 Fun Mart/KTMHutt/Maxxis 250XC)
4. Garrett Edmisten (XC1 Walpole Trucking/Action Kawasaki KX450F)
5. David Knight (XC1 Red Bull KTM 450XC)
6. Josh Strang (XC1 FMF Suzuki RM250)
7. Rodney Smith (XC2 FMF Suzuki RM-Z250)
8. Paul Whibley (XC1Parts Unlimited/Moose Honda CRF450X)
9. Jesse Robinson (XC1 Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/FAR/ Kawasaki KX250)
10. Thad DuVall (XC2 Am-Pro Yamaha WR250F)
2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Overall Standings
1. Garrett Edmisten 64
2. Shane Watts 63/1 win
3. Hawk 43/1 win
3. Charles Mullins 43
3. Whibley 43/1 win
6. David Knight 41
7. Glenn Kearney 40
8. Kurt Caselli 34
9. Jesse Robinson 33
10. Robbie Jenks 31