Red Bull KTM Off Road Race Team rider David Knight remains at the head of the US Grand National Cross Country XC1 Pro class series standings despite not managing to finish on the podium at the sixth round of the series – The John Penton GNCC staged in Millfield, Ohio. With conditions much, much wetter than at any US GNCC race held so far this season Knight was looking forward to another winning result but due to a series of mechanical problems, caused due to the extremely wet and muddy conditions, could only manage fourth. Despite being unable to win David retains a 40-point lead at the head of the US GNCC series standings.
Making a good start to the three-hour race David rounded the opening corners in the runner-up position before quickly moving into the lead. With a clear track ahead of him and confident that he could collect his fifth victory in six races Knight’s troubles started just three miles into the race as his bike stopped as he rode down a hill towards a small river crossing. Dropping back down the leader board David was forced to spend much of the opening lap working his way back towards the front of the XC1 Pro class and as he completed the opening lap had moved himself into fifth.
Up to third by the end of lap two and then up the second by the end of lap three, Knight’s luck wasn’t with him as again his bike stopped, costing him track time and positions. With conditions worsening lap on lap David’s luck finally run out on lap five as his bike stopped permanently. Able to get it going again after a trip back to the pits David was eventually credited with a fourth place finish, which considering everything that happened during the race was an extremely good result.
Knight still remains comfortably out front in the XC1 pro class championship standings and has a 40-point lead over New Zealander Paul Whibley with Australian Josh Strang third, a further 10 points adrift. The seventh round of the US GNCC series – The Spartan GNCC, takes place on June 1.
David Knight: “Considering everything that happened during the race finishing fourth is pretty good. I really enjoyed the track and the conditions, it’s just disappointing that we had some problems that prevented me from winning. I felt really good and at one stage I closed down a two-minute gap on the leaders in half a lap - like I said it’s just frustrating that I wasn’t able to turn that into a winning result. At least I still have a good lead in the championship.
“We’re not sure exactly what the problem was but it seemed like water was getting into the engine. Right off the start my bike stopped, which put me back in the pack. That was about three miles into the race. I managed to work my way forwards pretty well but the bike was popping and banging whenever I got into the ruts filled with water.
“Lap two went well and I made up ground on the leaders but I got redirected around one of the really difficult sections of the track and found Paul Whibley coming towards me. I don’t know where I was but I lost a lot of time and ended up coming back to the section of track I was pointed away from. I managed to catch back up again but then my bike started stopping again.
“Eventually, on lap five, it stopped completely. I wasn’t too far from the pits so the team managed to get the bike back to the truck and running again. I rode the last lap but because the team helped me get the bike back to the truck I was only credited with having finished five laps. Luckily, because so many other riders went out, I still finished fourth. I really enjoyed the conditions but I guess it wasn’t my weekend. All things considered it ended up ok.”
Results – US GNCC ’08 Rnd 6, XC1 Pro class
1. Paul Whibley (Suzuki) 6 laps
2. Josh Strang (Suzuki) 6 laps
3. Jimmy Jarrett (Suzuki) 6 laps
4. David Knight (Red Bull KTM Off Road Race Team) 5 laps
5. Jason Raines (Yamaha) 5 laps
6. Brian Guenther (KTM) 5 laps
7. Garrett Edmisten (Kawasaki) 5 laps
8. Nick Fahringer (Husqvarna) 4 laps