MELBOURNE, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2008) -- The 2008 Can-Am Grand National Championship (GNCC) lifts the lid on its 2008 season next week in Melbourne, Fla. The event represents the first round of a 13-race GNCC tour, known as America’s largest off-road racing series for ATVs and dirt bikes. Riders will compete on March 1-4.
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is the largest off-road racing series in the nation. 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 practice on Saturday, March 1, and compete on Sunday, March 2. Dirt bikes will race on Monday, March 3, and race on Tuesday, March 4. Riders can sign up at the track. The amateur racer entry fee is $40. Spectator passes run $15 for Saturday and Sunday, and $15 for Monday and Tuesday. Pro pit access and pro autographs are included at no additional charge.
The event takes place at the Kempfer farm just off of State Route. 192. The custom-built 12-mile course winds through sandy pine forests, through mud and over jumps, serving as a true test for the best racers in the world.
The race will be telecast on Versus Network on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 3 p.m. EDT.
Travis Pastrana, a veteran of ESPN's X Games and a current Rallying ace, will make his return to GNCC competition here. Pastrana, one of the most recognizable extreme sports athletes on the planet, has a target set on good friend and competitive rival David Knight, the defending GNCC Champion. Pastrana and Knight will race in the competitive three-hour long XC1 Pro motorcycle event.
"The opening round is probably the only place on the face of the earth other than on a motocross track that I have a shot in the dark against the behemoth ballerina most call the Knighter...or any of the other top woods riders, really," added Pastrana. "I grew up spending my winters in the woods of Croom in Florida, and I can hang with anyone in fast sand whoops through trees. I'm trying to talk Knight into letting everyone go and starting with me in last so we will avoid any possible first turn excuses. That should also give everyone else a better chance against him. That's my plan!”
Speaking of David Knight, "Knighter," as he's known throughout the pits, won a hard-fought battle last season to net 2007 GNCC Riders' Championship. The Isle of Man, UK resident notched the World Enduro Championship in 2005 and 2006 before conquering the U.S., but he’s fully aware the competition will be stiffer during his 2008 title defense. Knight finished second here last year, but he has been racing hard in Europe over the last few months to get ready for this year’s competition. Nipping at Knighter's heels this season will be Americans Barry Hawk, Jr., Charles Mullins and Jimmy Jarrett, as well as New Zealand’s Paul Whibley and Australia’s Shane Watts, who won last year’s Florida race.
On the ATV side, Yamaha’s Bill Ballance will attempt to repeat his 2007 success. Kentucky’s Ballance has won the last eight GNCC ATV Titles, which is a record, but he knows there are young guns looking to end his run. Pennsylvania’s Chris Borich won the Florida race in 2005 and 2006, and now races with the powerful Rockstar Energy/Yoshimura Suzuki factory team. There’s more factory support than ever in the four-wheeled ranks, which should lead to even stiffer competition.
Fast Facts -- The Triton -- March 1-3, 2008
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: March 1-4, 2008
Where: The Triton in Melbourne, Fla. To get to the track, take I-95 to the Melbourne Exit at State Route 192. Go west on Route 192 (12 mi) to Kempfer Road. Turn left on Kempfer Road and travel two miles to the event.
Who: The Can-Am GNCC Series pits the best of the best in off-road racing against each other. Over 1400 amateur racers are expected to compete on custom-built dirt bikes and four-wheeled ATVs. Top pro motorcycle riders include David Knight, Travis Pastrana, 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.
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 Grafx, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, Ogio, Rekluse, and MotoTee’s. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.