The once-a-year event serves as the 13th and final round of the Can-Am GNCC tour, with riders from all over the world set to compete in the Series' ATV and motorcycle classes. More than 1,500 competitors are expected to race, with several thousand spectators lining the facility to catch the action.
The weekend's race is being billed as a Festival of Speed. Along with North America's best off-road racing, the event will feature several other entertainment opportunities.
Can-Am, Yamaha and KTM will have their full lines of new product on site for fans to take test rides, with ATVs from Can-Am and Yamaha and both motorcycles and ATVs from KTM. Polaris will have its 2009 models on display as well. Yamaha will also host a championship celebration for nine-time GNCC ATV Champion Bill Ballance, complete with snacks and giveaways.
In addition, racers and fans may shop during the only GNCC swap meet of the season. With the season complete, racers and fans are encouraged to clean out their garages, work shops, trucks and vans and sell whatever they no longer need. No special permits are required to buy or sell--just set up your spot in your pit or take a stroll through the pit area to see what’s available.
A pair of monster trucks will perform demos throughout the weekend, with Stone Crusher and Mopar Magic on hand.
With Halloween just around the corner, a costume contest will take place on the starting line of the 1 p.m. Pro races on Saturday (ATVs) and Sunday (motorcycles). The winners will receive trophies just like the ones awarded to the racers.
The Ironman will also host a Side by Side/UTV race. Yamaha Rhinos, Polaris Rzrs, Arctic Cat Prowlers and many others will compete on a special course set up specifically for these machines. The course will treat these Ultimate Terrain Vehicles to real cross-country style racing, including hills, trees and mud at 5 p.m. on Saturday,
In addition, this weekend's race is being co-sanctioned by the Indiana Cross Country Racing Association (IXCR).
"The Ironman has always been a special event for fans and racers, alike," said GNCC Trail Boss Jeff Russell. "Great racing, as well as plenty of other things to do, make this one of the most exciting events on the tour. There is just so much to do and see. It will be the perfect way to conclude the 2008 GNCC season.
"Many riders call the Ironman their favorite track on the tour," added Russell. "The land in this area is totally flat, but the course runs near riverbanks, which means there’s still plenty of elevation change. In fact, the hills here are some of the steepest on the circuit. There are plenty of good vantage points from which to watch the race, so fans will be able to take it all in easily."
With his second consecutive GNCC championship already clinched, David Knight will trade two wheels for four this weekend as the Isle of Man, U.K. rider will compete in Saturday's ATV race on a KTM. Knight recently finished fourth in a beach ATV race, which featured nearly 300 riders, near his home. The warm-up should benefit "Knighter" as he takes on the world's best off road ATV racers. In addition, this may well be Knight's final appearance in GNCC competition, so it may mark the last chance for American fans to see one of the world’s best off-road riders compete.
With Knight's departure, Sunday's motorcycle field opens up for a battle of international intrigue as New Zealand's Paul Whibley and Australia's Josh Strang will fight for bragging rights in the factory Suzuki hauler and for second place in the overall championship.
New York's Nate Kanney (No. 116 KTM) will team with eight-time AMA National Enduro Champion Mike Lafferty in the motorcycle race. Lafferty has won GNCC races in the past, and Kanney came out on top at the Ironman in 2006.
The buzz in the Am-Pro Yamaha factory truck surrounds Thad DuVall, who led several laps during his XC1 Pro debut two weeks ago after locking up the XC2 Lites Championship last month in New York. The 18-year-old talent will race alongside veteran teammates Barry Hawk, who won the 2003 GNCC Championship, and Jason Raines, who recently clinched his fourth AMA Hare Scrambles title.
In addition, Charles Mullins (No. 3 Suzuki), Jimmy Jarrett (No. 4 Suzuki), Glenn Kearney (No. 7 Husqvarna), Jesse Robinson (No. 10 Kawasaki) and many others will be in contention for the win here.
In the four-wheel ATV Class, local rider Ryan Lane is looking for his first podium this season. Lane, on the No. 18 Honda, is from Bicknell, Indiana, which is just 100 miles south of Crawfordsville.
Lane will definitely have his work cut out for him in the ATV Class, as he attempts to beat recently crowned 2008 GNCC Champion Ballance. Ballance has won four races this season and clinched his record ninth title two weeks ago.
West Virginia's Adam McGill, too, will be a threat. McGill rides the No. 5 KTM, and though he's on the same team as Knight, he certainly won't pull any punches.
Pennsylvania's Chris Borich has two wins this season, and would like nothing more than to finish the 2008 tour with a third victory on the No. 2 Team Rockstar Suzuki.
Bryan Cook (No. 8 Honda) and Brandon Sommers (No. 784 Yamaha) hope to carry the consistency they've displayed all season into Indiana.
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, October 25, and motorcycles will race on Sunday, October 26. Riders can sign up at the track. The amateur racer entry fee is $40.
Spectator passes are $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs included at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateur riders race at 10 a.m., and the pro and pro am classes compete at 1 p.m. For more information on the racing series, check out the official series web site at www.GNCCRacing.com.
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 more than 1,500 riders through tracks ranging from eight to 14 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: Saturday, October 24, 2008 - ATV Racing
Sunday, October 25, 2008 - Motorcycle Racing
Where: Tom's Marine Polaris, Crawfordsville, Ind.
Directions: The track is located south of Crawfordsville off Route 47.
Tom's Marine Sales & Service
1317 W Offield Rd,
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
How Much: $15 Per Person Weekend Pass (7 years and older)
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 Isle of Man's David Knight, New Zealand's Paul Whibley, Australia's Josh Strang, as well as Barry Hawk, Jr., Nathan Kanney, Charles Mullins, Jimmy Jarrett, Jason Raines and Glenn Kearney. ATV pro riders include Bill Ballance, Chris Borich, Adam McGill, Bryan Cook, Brandon Sommers, Taylor Kiser, Chris Bithell, Matt Smiley and William Yokley.
Media Credentials: 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. GNCC Racing airs weekly television shows on the Versus network. 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, please log on to www.gnccracing.com.