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International Intrigue Comes to Unadilla

NEW BERLIN, N.Y. -- The world’s best off-road motorcycle and ATV racers return to Unadilla Valley Sports Center Saturday and Sunday, September 27 and 28 for the Can-Am Unadilla Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) race.

The once-a-year event serves as Round 11 of the 13-stop Can-Am Grand National Cross Country tour, with riders from all over the world set to compete in the Series' ATV and motorcycle classes. Nearly 1,500 competitors are expected to race, with several thousand spectators lining the facility to catch the action.

Unadilla is truly a special event and pits thousands of the world's best riders head to head on one of the tour's most exciting off-road tracks," said GNCC Trail Boss Jeff Russell. "The full-scale Unadilla motocross track will be utilized as part of the GNCC circuit, which makes for a unique spectator experience that includes racing on wide, sweeping corners, very steep elevation changes and even big air.

The track then winds into the deep woods, which are characterized by New York's trademark black loam," added Russell. "This is truly a one-of-a-kind of event."

Heading the charge into Unadilla is the Empire State's own Nathan Kanney. Kanney, who makes his home to the south and east of Unadilla in High Falls, N.Y, will be one half of an international battle with current points leader and defending GNCC Champion David Knight. "Knighter," as he's known, from Isle of Man, U.K. and Kanney will pit their Red Bull-backed KTMs against each other on Sunday. While Knight can sew up the 2009 title here, Kanney's goal is to play spoiler on his home turf.

On four-wheeled machines, Kentucky ATV legend Bill Ballance can numerically clinch his unprecedented ninth title here. Ballance finished second in the most recent race. Interestingly, his sixth podium of the season, which includes three victories, came while he was recovering from two broken ribs sustained in a crash during practice several weeks ago.

The points race is still close enough, though, for Bryan Cook and Adam McGill to try take the crown away from Ballance. McGill, who won the most recent event, led the standings early in the season before falling into a slump. Top amateur and 4x4 riders will also compete.

In addition to the on-track track action, Series sponsor Can-Am will have its full lineup of ATVs on hand for free demo rides. Also, New York's own Ten Man Push will play concerts on Saturday at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The concerts are included as part of admission into the event.

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is the largest off-road racing series in the United States. 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 more than $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 13, and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, September 14. Riders can sign up at the track. The amateur racer entry fee is $40.

This weekend's race is also a full points-paying event for the WNYOA Series. Also, WNYOA will be arranging pee wee racing for 50cc bikes and ATVs on a separate course. For more information, please visit www.wnyoa.net. The race is also being co-sanctioned by the Atlantic Grand Prix (AGP).

Spectator passes are $15 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 on the racing series, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com.

Fast Facts:

What: The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC), America's Largest Off Road Racing Series. 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 12 miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed.

When: September 27 and 28, 2008

Where: Unadilla Valley Sports Center

Who: The Can-Am GNCC Series pits the best of the best in off-road racing against each other. More than 1,500 amateur racers are expected to compete on custom-built dirt bikes and four-wheeled ATVs. Top pro motorcycle riders include David Knight, Barry Hawk, Jr., Charles Mullins, Jimmy Jarrett and Shane Watts. ATV pro riders include Bill Ballance, Chris Borich, Chris Bithell, Matt Smiley and Adam McGill.

Note: Media members wishing to cover the event should contact Justin Anderson at 704-589-2100.

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 Graf X, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, Ogio, Rekluse, and MotoTee’s. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.

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