Snowshoe, WV – It was one of the biggest, toughest and most spectacular Can-Am Grand National Cross Country races ever, which is why it’s fitting that one of the biggest, toughest and most spectacular GNCC racers ever won. The Moose Racing Snowshoe GNCC brought some of the world’s best off-road racers to a massive ski resort in West Virginia and put them on a track littered with rocks, roots, hills and mud—exactly the type of extreme terrain that Red Bull KTM’s David Knight excels in. As a result, the Isle of Man native crushed the field, winning by over nine minutes, one of the largest margins of victory in the history of the tour.
Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk finished second and FMF Suzuki’s Jimmy Jarrett was third. Am-Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall finished fourth and won the XC2 Lites class on a WR250F, and was in contention for a podium for most of the day, putting in a spectacular ride. He topped Morgantown Yamaha privateer Ryan Echols and Red Bull KTM’s Justin Williamson to win his class.
But the race for the XC1 pro and overall win was over quickly. The field started GP-style in the Snowshoe Mountain Village at 4848 feet in elevation. Knight seized the early lead but then got lost on the trail, allowing the field to catch back up. But soon they hit an incredibly difficult section of mud, rocks and roots, as well as a massive hillclimb. Knight made it through the section while the rest of the pack bottlenecked. He pulled a big lead after that and was gone.
With Knight’s win assured—and with his huge collection of first-place trophies from extreme enduro events around the world, many thought this would happen even before the race began—the real story became DuVall’s charge through the pack on his 250F. Starting in the fifth row of the GP start, DuVall made it through the carnage on lap one to pass about 15 riders in the XC1 pro class, and then he went to work on the podium, at one point moving into second place physically on the track.
“I have no idea,” said an excited DuVall on the podium. “I was charging and going good and got around a lot of guys. We’ve been working really hard, riding this type of terrain trying to get ready. I was trying to be smart, and I knew if I could follow Jimmy (Jarrett) I would have third overall on adjusted time since I started far back, but then just as I was thinking about that, I stalled it and couldn’t get it going again. But you know, one week out here I’m blazing red hot and the next week I’m cold, so I’m just happy to finally win one.”
Jarrett’s third overall was his second podium in the last three rounds.
“Those guys were a little faster than me in the open stuff, but I could hang with them when it got really tough,” said Jarrett, who excels in mud. “Barry and I had a good battle there, we took some different lines on some hills and you just had no idea what was going to work. There were so many riders out there and so many lines, and people were pointing you in different ways.”
Knight’s win also boosted him in the series standings, as his closest rival Charlie Mullins burnt a clutch while running in contention for a podium. A last-lap change in the pits allowed Mullins to salvage 16th overall and five championship points, but Knight now has a 26-point edge.
Snowshoe Resort brought a whole new look to off-road racing, with multiple hotels, restaurants and shops laid on top of the course, as well as a functioning chair lift and shuttles to bring spectators to different points on the track.
“A couple of the hills out there, there would be riders everywhere,” said Knight. “You could make the hills if you got a good run, but you usually had to wait for someone to get out of the way, and you didn’t know what the best line really was. You just had to be smart about it.”
Hawk likened it to the legendary Blackwater 100. “It was a lot like Blackwater out there,” he said. “Except the series has grown, and the trail wasn’t as long, so there were a lot more fans out there today to help you get out. In Blackwater, in some spots if you got stuck, you weren’t ever going to get out.”
Justin Williamson was third. “It was a lot like Wisp last year,” said Williamson. “We struggled at first, I crashed and hurt my shoulder blade a little but. But I saw Rodney (Smith) and once I was able to get around him I started moving forward. I caught Ryan on the last lap, but I tried to get through a ditch and got stuck, and he got back around me.”
All told just under 1400 racers competed in the event.
The 2007 Can-Am GNCC begins a summer break before returning for the final five rounds in the fall, beginning with the Geico Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, PA on September 1 and 2.
Results: Moose Racing Snowshoe GNCC
June 24, 2007
1. David Knight Isle of Man, UK (KTM)
2. Barry Hawk, Jr Smithfield, PA (Yam)
3. Jimmy Jarrett Beloit, OH (Suz)
4. Thaddeus Duvall Williamstown, WV (Yam) XC2 Pro Lites
5. Joshua Strang Australia (Suz)
6. Ryan Echols Fairmont, WV (Yam) XC2 Pro Lites
7. Paul Whibley New Zealand (Hon)
8. Jesse Robinson Conellys Spg, NC (Kaw)
9. Glenn Kearney Australia (Suz)
10. Justin Williamson Sanford, FL (KTM) XC2 Pro Lites
11. Rodney Smith Antioch, CA (Suz) XC2 Pro Lites
12. Robbie Jenks New Straitsville, OH (KTM)
13. Dustin Gibson Cumbrland Frnce, TN (KTM) XC2 Pro Lites
14. Brian Garrahan Boulder Creek, CA (Yam)
15. Joe Marsh Pittsburgh, PA 250 A (Yam)
16. Charles Mullins Hamilton, OH (Yam)
17. Russell Bobbitt Fayetteville, GA (KTM)
18. Joseph Scherer Renfrew, PA (Yam) 250 A
19. Scott Watkins Leetonia, OH (Kaw) XC2 Pro Lites
20. Gary Fridley Lost Creek, WV (Yam)
2007 Can-Am GNCC Overall Series Standings (After 8 of 13 rounds)
1. David Knight 179/4 wins
2. Charles Mullins 153/1 win
3. Barry Hawk, Jr 144/1 win
4. Garrett Edmisten 123
5. Glenn Kearney 116
6. Jimmy Jarrett 104
7. Paul Whibley 98/1 win
8. Shane Watts 92/1 win
9. Jesse Robinson 90
10. Joshua Strang 85
XC2 Pro Lites
1. Rodney Smith (147/3 wins)
2. Justin Williamson (134/1 win)
3. Scotty Watkins (128/1 win)
4. Thad DuVall (122/1 win)
5. Dustin Gibson (115)
6. Josh Weisenfels (114)
7. John Barber (103)
8. Brian Lawson (76)
9. John Bennett (64)
10. Cole Calkins (63)
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, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, Race Tools, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, and MotoTee’s. Media Sponsors include Racer X Illustrated, ATV Rider, ATV Sport, ATVRiders.com, Quadzone.com, Dirt Rider and ATV Insider. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.