Somerset, PA – The long summer break is over for the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, and the world’s best off-road dirt bike and ATV racers are ready to resume their battles at this weekend’s GEICO Mountain Ridge GNCC. Somerset, PA’s Mountain Ridge Trails Resort will host their first GNCC, and it’s expected to be a rugged, rocky affair—a true test of who was training and who wasn’t over the last two months.
Red Bull KTM’s David Knight has certainly been doing his share of work. The Brit leads the series standings after winning the last two GNCC rounds before the summer break, and he added a win at the grueling Australian Four-Day Enduro for good measure. Knight was back in the U.S. last week to attend the KTM dealer show and do some riding at the famous Southwick MX338 track, and he’s 100 percent fit to capture his first U.S. title.
Mullins came into the previous GNCC at Snowshoe nearly deadlocked with Knight in the standings, but a bad race there has forced him to regroup over the summer. “The main difference for me this year is that I haven’t done a single hare scramble race over the summer,” said Mullins, who has raced expert-class motocross on amateur day at AMA/Toyota motocross events this year. “Motocross definitely helps with your speed and aggression. Then I’ve done a lot of practicing in rocks, too, because that was always a weakness. I hope it pays off this weekend.”
For the first time in over two years, Am-Pro Yamaha will have a third team member in the XC1 pro class as Jason Raines makes a return to the series after a long series of injuries. Raines recently topped Hawk in a big duel at the rocky Rausch Creek round of the AMA National Hare Scramble Series. “I am so excited to finally be back in the GNCCs,” said Raines. “It’s going to be a good show—I’m more fired up and driven than ever!”
The FMF Suzuki team packs a surging Jimmy Jarrett—who has podiumed at two of the last three GNCCs—as well as Australian threats Josh Strang and Glenn Kearney. Jarrett and Strang spent their summer racing the Air Nautiques/AMA Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s, so they definitely haven’t been taking a break. Neither is Kearney, who has been working hard back home after racing the Australian Four-Day Enduro.
The chase for the first-ever XC2 Pro Lites Championship continues as well, with five-time GNCC Champion Rodney Smith leading the series on his RM-Z250. The 43-year old Suzuki man hopes to deliver a title, and he’s always fast in rocky terrain. A host of young talent would like to challenge him, though, including Red Bull KTM’s Justin Williamson, Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Scott Watkins and Josh Weisenfels, and Powersports GrafX KTM’s Dustin Gibson.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is the largest off-road racing series in the nation. The top pro racers make a lucrative living in the sport, reigning in six-figure salaries and endorsements, as well as a share of a $130,000 prize purse and over $3 million in contingency and bonus money. GNCC events also offer classes for amateur riders of all skill and experience levels. Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, September 1, and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, September 2. Riders can sign up at the track. The amateur racer entry fee is $40.
Spectator passes run $12 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., beginner riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m.
For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.
The Mountain Ridge ATV Resort is located in Reels Corner, PA, on Route 160 just south of the intersection of Route 160 and Route 30, located only 20 minutes from both the Somerset Exit 110 and the Bedford Exit 145 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. From Somerset, follow Route 281 North to Route 30 then take Route 30 East to Reels Corner and follow Route 160 South. From Bedford follow Route 30 West to Reels Corner and follow Route 160 South.
What: Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, Round 9, Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, PA. The best four-wheeled ATV and off-road dirt bike riders in the world will compete, chasing national championship points as part of a 13-round tour. The event will draw riders from Australia, New Zealand and Europe, as well as all regions of the U.S., and the best local talent. Racers compete on a custom-built extreme off-road course featuring mud, rocks, hills and jumps.
Where: Mountain Ridge ATV Trails Resort. Located in Reels Corner, PA, on Route 160 just South of the intersection of Route 160 and Route 30.
When: Racing on Saturday, September 1, for four-wheeled ATVs. Youth riders age 6-15 race from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Beginner adults race from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Pros race from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Bikes race on Sunday, following the same schedule as the ATVs.
Tickets: $12 per person for a weekend pass, children five and under are free. Primitive camping is available on site for no extra charge. Pro pit access and autograph sessions are included in the admission charge.
More information: www.gnccracing.com or call Racer Productions at 304-284-0084.
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.