New Berlin, NY – David Knight’s luck is good again. The Red Bull KTM rider dominated the Can-Am Unadilla round of the Grand National Cross Country Series, topping FMF Suzuki teammates Jimmy Jarrett and Josh Strang. His title rival Barry Hawk struggled to sixth, while Red Bull KTM’s Justin Williamson led wire-to-wire to win the XC2 Lites class and take over the points lead.
As Knighter began to pull away from the pack after two laps, a friendly battle for second broke out between Strang, the young Australian, and his veteran teammate, roommate and training partner Jarrett. On the last lap, Jarrett got away.
“I’m getting used to being up here,” said Jarrett, with four podiums in the last five races. “The conditions were perfect, it was tacky and a little technical. It was fun battling with Josh, but I when I got away from him on the last lap, I put on a little burst to get away from him.”
With a podium at 19 years old, Strang, a rookie in the US, was ecstatic. “If I let all my emotions out right now, I would really embarrass myself,” said Strang, who collected the Racer X Holeshot Award and stayed up front all day. “It just feels unreal, I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do up here! I got the holeshot, and I thought the pace was really fast early on and I wouldn’t be able to stay up there. But I did it. I don’t know, I didn’t do anything different, it just worked out for me.”
The other member of the FMF Suzuki team, Glenn Kearney, rode solid for fourth, with Parts Unlimited Moose Honda’s Paul Whibley in fifth. The title contenders struggled, as Hawk took sixth.
“I don’t know,” said Am-Pro Yamaha’s Hawk. “I felt like I was riding okay, but I was going backwards. I do know I didn’t have as much confidence as a normally do in the forks. I couldn’t square up the corners like I normally do and avoid the rough stuff. Maybe that was it.”
Charlie Mullins had trouble, too. The young Ohio rider actually led the first lap of the race with Knight, but then suffered from chain problems again, with his chain eventually damaging his shift lever. He would soldier on to seventh, just seconds ahead of Walpole Trucking/Action Kawasaki privateer Garrett Edmisten.
In XC2, Williamson made short work of the long race by grabbing the Thumpertalk.com Holeshot, checking out early and never letting the pack get close.
The GNCC 200 A Champion, Kailub Russell, moved up to XC2 in his pro debut, and ran second early on his Powersport GrafX KTM125SX. He eventually succumbed to the challenge of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/FAR Kawasaki teammates Josh Weisenfels and Scott Watkins, who took second and third. Then Dustin Gibson rounded out the field in fourth, with Russell ending up fifth in his debut.
XC2 Pro Lites points leader Rodney Smith failed to finish his second race in a row with a groin injury. Smith drops to third in class points on his FMF Suzuki RM-Z250, but the class does offer two throw away scores, which keeps Smith in the hunt.
Knight now holds a 20-point lead in the chase for the overall GNCC title.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in Yadkinville, NC on September 29 and 30.
Photos by Jason Hooper: Jasonh@racerxill.com
Can-Am Unadilla GNCC
New Berlin, NY
September 16, 2007
1 David Knight Isle of Man, UK KTM 02:53:44
2 Jimmy Jarrett Beloit, OH SUZ 02:58:19
3 Joshua Strang Australia, SUZ 02:58:44
4 Glenn Kearney Australia SUZ 02:59:59
5 Paul Whibley New Zealand, HON 03:00:29
6 Barry Hawk, Jr Smithfield, PA YAM 03:00:58
7 Charles Mullins Hamilton, OH YAM 03:02:34
8 Garrett Edmisten Vero Beach, FL KAW 03:02:38
9 Jesse Robinson Connellys Spg, NC KAW 03:04:09
10 Brian Garrahan Boulder Creek, CA YAM 03:06:53
11 Jason Raines Belfair, WA YAM 03:08:34
12 Jason Gilleland Vale, NC KTM 03:13:52
13 Michael Cole Bethlehem, CT KTM 03:05:12
14 Matthew Crouch Pittsburg, TX YAM 03:21:46
15 Shane Watts Australia KTM 02:21:56
16 Robbie Jenks New Straitsville, OH KTM 00:43:35
17 James Roberson Bel Air, MD HON 01:07:45
XC2 Pro Lites
1 Justin Williamson Sanford, FL KTM 03:02:05
2 Josh Weisenfels Fort Smith, AR KAW 03:03:41
3 Scott Watkins Leetonia, OH KAW 03:04:57
4 Dustin Gibson Cmbrlnd Frnce, TN KTM 03:08:43
5 Kailub Russell Kingston, OH KTM 03:11:19
6 Scott Decosta Acushnet, MA SUZ 03:12:57
7 Wallace Palmer Atco, NJ KAW 03:14:40
8 Guy Giroux Canada, SUZ 03:16:29
9 David Oettell Cadiz, KY HON 02:54:41
10 Brian Lawson Adams, MA YAM 02:54:56
11 Eric Bailey King George, VA KTM 02:55:52
12 Ryan Echols Fairmont, WV YAM 02:59:12
13 Thaddeus Duvall Williamstown, WV YAM 03:01:46
14 Jake Korn Brookline, NH KTM 03:04:23
15 John Day Norton, MA HON 03:14:57
16 Rodney Smith Antioch, CA SUZ 01:59:37
17 John Bennett Allison Park, PA YAM 02:09:30
18 Cole Calkins East Sparta, OH KTM 01:42:33
19 P A Allen Charlotte, TN KAW 01:15:31
Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Standings(After 10 of 13 rounds)
1. David Knight 209/5 wins
2. Barry Hawk, Jr 189/2 wins
3. Charlie Mullins 166/1 win
4. Garrett Edmisten 156
5. Jimmy Jarrett 154
6. Glenn Kearney 148
7. Paul Whibley 124/1 win
7. Joshua Strang 124
9. Jesse Robinson 108
10. Shane Watts 92
XC2 Pro Lites
1. Justin Williamson (173/2 wins)
2. Scotty Watkins (164/1 win)
3. Rodney Smith (161/3 wins)
4. Dustin Gibson (152/2 wins)
5. Josh Weisenfels (150)
6. Thad DuVall (130/1 win)
7. John Barber (117)
8. Brian Lawson (103)
9. John Bennett (83)
10. Wallace Palmer (79)
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, BRP, 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.