Kanney Crowned "King of the Ironman"

Crawfordsville, Indiana - At the Klotz Ironman GNCC, the final round of the 2009 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series, Shock Doctor KTM's Nate Kanney was the best at battling the steepest hills of the 13-stop circuit. After an intense battle that saw Kanney, and FMF Makita Suzuki's Charlie Mullins and Josh Strang trading in and out of the lead. Kanney emerged with his first victory of the season by just inches over Mullins. The massive crowd on hand, easily the largest of the season, cheered both to the finish in a fitting season finale. Behind the leaders, GEICO/JG Racing/Monster Kawasaki's Paul Whibley claimed the 2009 GNCC Championship with a safe fourth-place finish.

"I just can't even believe it," said Whibley, of New Zealand. "I don't have the words for this right now. This is my ultimate goal, to win the GNCC Championship in the U.S."

Photo By: Krista Shaw
This is the third year in a row that Kanney has won the Ironman GNCC.

This is Kanney's third Ironman win in the last four years. "I feel really comfortable in this dirt," said New York native Kanney. "Today was kind of dumb luck. I think Mullins and Strang were going faster than me and honestly, I didn't even know I was in the lead."

Mulins was the fastest out of the front line and nabbed the $250 Motorcycle-USA.com holeshot award. Mullins then led the first three laps and battled with his teammate Strang until he went into what he called a "bottomless mudhole."

Photo By: Krista Shaw
Whibley's finish secured the XC1 Pro Championship.

Strang crashed on the first lap but when he overtook Mullins, he led until he managed to get stuck on the last two laps in mudholes. Mullins and Kanney were able to move back past him as they started a wheel-to-wheel battle to the finish line where Kanney and Mullins came to a wheel-crashing finish with Kanney mere inches in the lead.

"I made some mistakes and I cost myself the race," Mullins said. "I just came up short but I'll take it. I think I learned a lot this year and I'm glad to end the season with another podium."

Strang finished about a minute behind in third.

"The track was perfect," Strang said. "I was relaxed up front but made a silly mistake and Charlie and Nate capitalized on it. But it was a good day and a good season."

Kanney had gotten stuck in the mud early in the race, and was shocked when he realized he might take a first place finish. "I tried to keep my cool and get to the finish," he said. "I'm still surprised. It's been a tough year but it's a relief to get a win for the team and give back to those guys."

While Kanney, Mullins and Strang battled for the lead, the probable Champion Whibley stayed in the back of the pack, after taking off fast. A crash with Am-Pro Yamaha's Thad Duvall made Whibley back off and play it safe until the end, where he was presented with the number one plate after he finished fourth. Whibley only had to remain in the top 14 to take home the championship. This is the fifth year in a row that a rider born outside of the U.S. has been crowned the XC1 Pro Champion.

Photo By: Krista Shaw
Mullins, Kanney and Strang celebrate their wins.

"It's been an amazing year working with my team and (Team Managers) Gretchen and J.T.," Whibley said. "I couldn't have asked for a better team manager. This is my job, this is what I live for and this is the ultimate payback for all that hard work and training in the rain and the mud. The GNCC is the pinnacle of cross country racing in the world. I came here from Europe and this is my style of racing."

Whibley's teammate Jimmy Jarrett, racing back into shape with a wrist injury, also had a good start but unfortunately began to fall back throughout the race to finish five and a half minutes behind his GEICO teammate in fifth. Husaberg's Jesse Robinson finished sixth, followed by Am-Pro FMF Yamaha's Barry Hawk in seventh. Shock Doctor KTM's Kurt Caselli finished in eighth followed by Corey Arbogast on an Aprilia in ninth and Husqvarna's Glenn Kearney, who had a good start but had back luck later, rounding out the top 10.

Photo By: Krista Shaw
Buttrick finished the season with a strong win.

In XC2 racing action, Shock Doctor KTM's Cory Buttrick took the win, followed by his teammate Kailub Russell in second and Monster Energy/FAR Yamaha's Jason Thomas in third.

The three pulled overall leads in the race, ahead of the XC1 riders at one points, and also secured top overall finishes for the year.

"I knew we were pretty far up in the overall," Buttrick said. "Overall, it was a perfect day. In the beginning of the day, I felt like anything could happen. Everyone was going for broke today and the track was definitely unpredictable."

Russell started the race when he took the $100 Cometic Holeshot Award.

GEICO/JG Racing Monster Energy's Kawasaki's Scotty Watkins was also near the front, staying in the top three or four places for most of the day until he had engine problems on the last lap.

Watkins was able to finish fourth followed by Dustin Gibson in sixth and David Snyder in seventh. Nathan Alering, Morgan Moss and Eric Bailey rounded out the top ten.

Jordan Ashburn took home the Top Amateur Award in the PM race and Robert Hetchinger of the 200A class took home the $100 Coppersmith Amateur Holeshot Award.

In the AM Race, Jeff Cregg took home first place, followed by Jeff Fredette in second and Randall Riggs in third.

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series has concluded for the season, but the riders and families will gather again for the annual GNCC Banquets in Morgantown, West Virginia, on December 4 and 5. For more information, log on to www.gnccracing.com.

Photo By: Krista Shaw
Whibley played it safe and finished fourth for the day.

XC1 Finish

  1. Nathan Kanney (KTM)
  2. Charles Mullins (SUZ)
  3. Josh Strang (SUZ)
  4. Paul Whibley (KAW)
  5. Jim Jarrett (KAW)
  6. Jess Robinson (HUS)
  7. Barry Hawk (YAM)
  8. Kurt Caselli (KTM)
  9. Corey Arbogast (APR)
  10. Glenn Kearney (HUSQ)

XC2 Point Standings

Paul Whibley (313/5 wins) 2. Josh Strang (293/5 wins) 3.Charles Mullins (286/1 win) 4.Jim Jarrett (220) 5.Nathan Kanney (215/1 win) 6.Barry Hawk (169)7.Kurt Caselli (165) 8.Jesse Robinson (128) 9.Glenn Kearney (135) 10.Kenneth Gilbert (124)

XC2 Finish

1.Cory Buttrick (KTM)

2.Kailub Russell (KTM)

3. Jason Thomas (YAM)

4. Scott Watkins (KAW)

5. Dustin Gibson (KAW)

6.David Snyder (YAM)

7. Brian Lawson (YAM)

8. Nathan Alering (YAM)

9. Morgan Moss (YAM)

10. Eric Bailey (KTM)

XC2 Points

Kailub Russell (332/8 wins) 2.Cory Buttrick (298/ 2 wins) 3. Jason Thomas (279/2) 4.Scott Watkins (253/1 win) 5.Jake Korn (177)6.Brian Lawson (160) 7. Robert Santheson (150) 8.Eric Bailey (129) 9. David Snyder (124) 10.Josh Weisenfels (121)

About GNCC Racing
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1973, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles, competing for more than $3 million in prizes. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

About Racer Productions
A West Virginia-based motorcycle and ATV event production company, Racer Productions has been a leader in the off-road racing industry for more than 30 years. It's repertoire of facilities and events includes the 13-round Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, since 1973; professional and amateur national events at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, since 1977; and professional and amateur ATV events at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. For more information, please visit www.racerproductions.com.