Hurricane Mills, Tenn (April 27, 2008) -- David Knight looks stronger than ever in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. The defending GNCC Champion from the Isle of Man took his Red Bull KTM to yet another victory, this time at the Acerbis Loretta Lynn's GNCC. Once again the FMF Suzuki team filled out the podium, with surging young Australian Josh Strang taking second and Charlie Mullins taking third for the second-straight race.
Knight grabbed a rare good start in the three-hour race through the woods, fields and motocross track at the home of the legendary country music singer. He found himself battling early with one expected competitor, Mullins, who grabbed the Racer X Holeshot Award, and also with a surprise, 2000 GNCC Champion Shane Watts. Watts even took the lead early while Knight was hit in the neck with a rock and dropped back a few seconds. Before long Knight was back on the pace and took the lead back, while Watts ended up stuck on a hill.
"It was fun to get out there with Shane and run the pace," said Knight. "He was riding really well, so I just stayed in behind him early on. After I got the lead I just tried to maintain a comfortable pace and hold on."
Watts, now focused more on hosting riding schools than racing, eventually dropped off of the pace, leaving Strang and Mullins to chase Knight. But another surprise Australian joined the lead fray, with Husqvarna's Glenn Kearney mounting an impressive charge and getting around Mullins for third at one point. Mullins put pressure on Kearney on the final lap to make the pass for third, but Kearney held on for fourth, the best finish yet for the Scott Summers' managed Husqvarna team.
Like Kearney, Am-Pro Yamaha's Jason Raines looked rejuvinated while running fifth for most of the race. On the last lap, however, a hard-charging pack took advantage of a Raines mistake to drop him to seventh. Red Bull KTM's Nathan Kanney grabbed fifth ahead of FMF Suzuki's Paul Whibley. Whibley's teammate Jimmy Jarrett was eighth, with the Kawasaki duo of Garrett Edmisten and Jesse Robinson rounding out the XC1 top ten.
Am-Pro Yamaha's Thad Duvall returned to victory lane in the XC2 Lites class, now claiming four wins in five races this season. The West Virginia native topped Monster Energy/Andrews Yamaha's Josh Weisenfels and Powersport GrafX KTM's Kailub Russell. The winner of the previous XC2 round, Dustin Gibson, snagged the Thumpertalk.com Holeshot Award but then struck a tree on the first lap and injured his foot. He managed fourth, coming in ahead of defending XC2 champion Justin Williamson on a Red Bull KTM.
Powersports GrafX KTM's Cory Buttrick finished as the top amateur overall and earned the Four-Stroke A Lites victory.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues with the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio on May 10 and 11.
XC1 1. David Knight Isle of Man (KTM) 2. Josh Strang Australia (Suz) 3. Charles Mullins Hamilton, OH (Suz) 4. Glenn Kearney Australia (HSQ) 5. Nathan Kanney High Falls, NY (KTM) 6. Paul Whibley New Zealand (Suz) 7. Jason Raines Belfair, WA (Yam) 8. Jimmy Jarrett Beloit, OH (Suz) 9. Garrett Edmisten Vero Beach, FL (Kaw) 10. Jesse Robinson Connely's Spring, NC (Kaw) XC2 Pro Lites 1. Thad DuVall Williamstown, WV (Yam) 2. Josh Weisenfels Fort Smith, AR (Yam) 3. Kailub Russell Kingston, OH (KTM) 4. Dustin Gibson Cumberland Furnace, TN (Yam) 5. Justin Williamson Sanford, FL (KTM) 6. Scott Watkins Leetonia, OH (Kaw) 7. Andrew Matusek Fayetteville, GA (Kaw) 8. David Snyder Navarre, OH (Yam) 9. Eric Bailey King George, VA (KTM) 10. Brian Lawson Adams, MA (Yam) XC1 Points Standings 1. David Knight (141/4 wins) 2. Charles Mullins (98/1 win) 3. Paul Whibley (88) 4. Nathan Kanney (86) 5. Joshua Strang (83) 6. Jimmy Jarrett (81) 7. Jason Raines (63) 7. Jesse Robinson (63) 9. Glenn Kearney (60) 10. Garrett Edmisten (57) XC2 Points Standings 1. Thad DuVall (145/4 wins) 2. Dustin Gibson (111/1 win) 3. Josh Weisenfels (103) 4. Kailub Russell (84) 5. Justin Williamson (63) 6. Brian Lawson (59) 6. Andrew Matusek (59) 8. Johnny Barber (55) 9. Nick Gentry (45) 10. Wallace Palmer (43)
About GNCC Racing:
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round championship series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions and has run since 1973. 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. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC Racing will air weekly television shows on the Versus network starting August 2. GNCC featured sponsors include Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose Racing, 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, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, Ogio, Rekluse, and MotoTee’s. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.