Yadkinville, NC – After three tough races in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Charlie Mullins roared back to score his second win of the season at the Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC. Mullins, of Hamilton, Ohio, battled hard early with FMF Suzuki’s Jimmy Jarrett before pulling away at the halfway mark, while Parts Unlimited Moose Honda’s Paul Whibley, of New Zealand, charged hard to finish second, and Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk, of Smithfield, Pennsylvania, finished third. Hawk overcame a possible broken nose to close back to within 12 points of series leader David Knight, who struggled to eighth after racing the Maxxis EnduroCross on Saturday night in Denver and then flying through the night to North Carolina.
Over 1180 racers competed over the weekend, run under perfect weather conditions with temperatures in the 80s. The tight track featured numerous spectator-friendly obstacles, including a creek jump, a creek crossing, and even a run through an abandoned house.
Mullins made almost all of it look easy. “I followed Jimmy for a few laps” said Mullins, who had grabbed the Racer X Holeshot. “I saw a line to get around him and then gapped the field as best as I could. The last lap I made a mistake off the creek jump, I jumped it and there was a lapper coming, and I hit him. I thought I threw the race away, and my front brake was done after that. Luckily I had a big enough lead. I’m happy to win after having some problems at the last few races.”
Whibley’s second-place finish was his best result since winning the second round of the 2007 GNCC season back in March. For the first time in his GNCC career, he got a good start and used it to his advantage.
“After the start I was almost in shock, I was wondering what happened to everybody,” said Whibley. “I got my best start ever. It helped me stay relaxed because I didn’t need to take unnessary risks. The track was unbelievably tight, the first couple laps I was struggling with the 450, it was way too much power in the tight stuff. But I managed to settle down and started racing with Garrett and Barry.”
Hawk made up points on Knight, who fell in the second turn of the race and never got to the front. “It was a waste of time,” said Knight, no doubt frustrated with his result. “I was in last, and it was just so hard to pass. I crashed and pushed my clutch lever down, and I couldn’t get it back up. Then I hurt my thumb, I think I dislocated it. It hurt, and then I hit it on the clutch lever to try to get it back up, and that made it worse. I couldn’t pass anyone and get to the front because it was so tight. Just a waste of time really, the whole day didn’t go well.”
Sixth went to North Carolina’s own Jesse Robinson, who rode solid all day on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/FAR/Kawasaki. Then came Am-Pro Yamaha’s Jason Raines, in his best ride yet since coming back from two years off with injuries.
“It took me forever to get going, I just don’t have the confidence yet to really flow early on,” said Raines. “But later, it all started coming back, I felt kind of like I used to, I was coming through and just picking guys off one by one. It’s definitely better than the last two races.”
In XC2, Powersport GrafX/KTM’s Dustin Gibson grabbed the Thumpertalk.com Holeshot, but Weisenfels quickly took the lead. He looked like a winner until smashing his foot on a tree, and then the race unfolded, with Williamson leading on the last lap before getting caught by a flying DuVall.
“I’ve been down at Randy’s (Hawkins) testing and training with Charlie Mullins, so I want to thank him,” said DuVall. “Josh was riding really good on the first lap so I let him go, I passed J-Dub (Williamson) and next thing I knew I was laying down in a creek over a bank. Some guy helped me up over, and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be up here right now. I thought the day was over, but I cruised for a couple of laps and stayed up there, so I thought maybe I could still do it. The last two laps, I’ve never rode so fast in my life. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I got a pit board, and it said minus one minute, and then it said minus 45, so I figured if I was closing in that quick I better keep charging. The creek bed was my strongest point, so I just hit it wide open. I scared myself a few times, but that’s what it took to get up there. I went right through the middle of the whoops wide-open and got around Justin.”
“I made good choices and everything felt pretty easy early on,” said Weisenfels. “I caught up to Justin and he let me by. I hit a tree so hard, I thought my foot was broken for sure, but I had so much adrenaline I figured I would go to the end. But with two laps to go I couldn’t put my foot down I hit it so hard I screamed. The whole metal part of my boot is gone. I would have liked to win, but it’s hard to complain when you get a podium.”
Pro motocross racer Zach Osborne made his GNCC debut racing in the XC2 Lites class on a Yamaha YZ250F, and the Virginia native performed well, notching sixth place.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the Power Like Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, OH on October and 30.
Elka Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC
September 30, 2007
1. Charles Mullins Hamilton, OH YAM 03:07:33
2. Paul Whibley New Zealand HON 03:08:15
3. Barry Hawk, Jr Smithfield, PA YAM 03:09:16
4. Garrett Edmisten Vero Beach, FL KAW 03:09:59
5. Glenn Kearney Australia SUZ 03:10:16
6. Jesse Robinson Connellys Spg, NC KAW 03:11:58
7. Jason Raines Belfair, WA YAM 03:12:24
8. David Knight Isle of Man, UK KTM 03:12:56
9. Thaddeus Duvall Williamstown, WV YAM 03:13:43
10. Justin Williamson Sanford, FL ` KTM 03:14:12
11. Josh Weisenfels Fort Smith, AR KAW 03:15:58
12. Jimmy Jarrett Beloit, OH SUZ 03:17:41
13. Rodney Smith Antioch, CA SUZ 03:18:29
14. Cory Buttrick Logan, OH KTM 03:19:18
15. Brian Guenther Grove City, PA YAM 03:20:58
16. Anthony Roberts Australia, HON 03:21:09
17. Scott Watkins Leetonia, OH KAW 03:21:35
18. Jason Gilleland Vale, NC KTM 03:22:06
19. Andrew Matusek Fayetteville, GA KAW 03:22:39
20. Zach Osborne Abingdon, VA YAM 03:22:42
Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Standings
(After 11 of 13 rounds)
1. David Knight 222/5 wins
2. Barry Hawk, Jr 210/2 wins
3. Charlie Mullins 196/2 wins
4. Garrett Edmisten 174
5. Glenn Kearney 164
6. Jimmy Jarrett 163
7. Paul Whibley 149/1 win
8. Joshua Strang 124
9. Jesse Robinson 123
10. Justin Williamson 100
XC2 Pro Lites
1. Justin Williamson (192/2 wins)
2. Scotty Watkins (180/1 win)
3. Rodney Smith (178/3 wins)
4. Josh Weisenfels (168)
5. Dustin Gibson (154/1 win)
6. Thad DuVall (150/2 wins)
7. John Barber (122)
8. Brian Lawson (116)
9. Wallace Palmer (93)
10. John Bennett (87)
About GNCC Racing:
The AMA/ATVA-sanctioned Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. 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. GNCC Racing airs weekly television shows on Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) every Saturday at 3 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m. beginning on April 14. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include BRP Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose, 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, EK Chain, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, Race Tools, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, and MotoTee’s. Media Sponsors include Racer X Illustrated, ATV Rider, ATV Sport, ATVRiders.com, Quadzone.com, Dirt Rider and ATV Insider. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.