Union, SC (April 10, 2008) -- The Pirelli Big Buck GNCC holds a special place in the heart of Red Bull KTM’s David Knight. Last season, the World Enduro Champion from the Isle of Man struggled in his first few U.S. Can-Am Grand National Cross Country events, but he scored a break-through victory at the Big Buck, which set him on course to notch the 2007 GNCC Title. Knight approaches this weekend’s edition of the Big Buck as the points leader, so now his competition hopes they can turn around their season just like he did a year ago.
“I had to be patient with it, this racing is just completely different,” said Knight last year. “It does take your confidence down a bit as you wonder if you maybe have something wrong with you. You have people beating you down, and it’s good to find out it’s not true. Hopefully this will be the first of many.”
Just three points separating positions two and six in the GNCC standings. Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk scored second at the previous GNCC in North Carolina and hopes for even better this time. “Knight beat me, no excuses,” said Hawk to the Versus Network TV cameras two weeks ago. “I’ll just have to work harder and be stronger in South Carolina.”
FMF Suzuki’s Charlie Mullins won the Maxxis General GNCC in Georgia and looked strong early in North Carolina. Then he crashed on a hill early and dropped to dead lasteven behind Knight, who stalled his bike when the race began. Crashes on his way back through the pack relegated Mullins to sixth at the finish. His Suzuki teammates, Paul Whibley, Josh Strang and Jimmy Jarrett battled all day, with New Zealand’s Whibley ultimately taking third.
Knight’s teammate Nathan Kanney also rode well in North Carolina. He led early before running into electrical troubles and nursing his machine home in seventh. Kanney has led laps at every GNCC race this season. Throw in contenders like Jason Raines, Garrett Edmisten and Jesse Robinson, and a full ten riders could win the race this weekend.
In the XC2 class, Am-Pro Yamaha’s 18-year-old sensation Thad DuVall has launched an undefeated run for the championship. Defending XC2 Champion Justin Williamson finally showed signs of his old self with a great run in North Carolina. Monster Energy Andrews Yamaha riders Dustin Gibson and Josh Weisenfels have been consistent this season, with Gibson scoring podiums at all three rounds. A mistake by DuVall could launch these riders into the points lead.
Bike pros race on Sunday for three hours, beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday’s program also features Youth bike racing at 8 a.m. and beginning amateurs at 10 a.m. On Saturday, the top four-wheeled ATV pilots take to the track. FRE KTM’s Adam McGill is making history this season, winning the last two GNCC rounds on his brand-new KTM 525XC ATV. Eight-time GNCC Champion Bill Ballance and his factory Yamaha team need to bounce back this weekend to stop McGill. Rockstar/Yoshimura Suzuki’s Chris Borich also needs a strong race after winning the season opener.
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: April 12 -- 13 , 2008
Where: The race takes place at the Big Buck Race Facility in Union, on highway 49 off of exit 44 of I-26.
Who: The Can-Am GNCC Series pits the best of the best in off-road racing against each other. More than 1,400 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.
Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series Standings
XC1 Point Standings
1. David Knight (81/2 wins)
2. Barry Hawk (57)
2. Jim Jarrett (57)
4. Charlie Mullins (56/1 win)
5. Paul Whibley (55)
XC2 Point Standings
1. Thad DuVall (90/3 wins)
2. Dustin Gibson (63)
3. Josh Weisenfels (57)
4. Andrew Matusek (43)
5. Kailub Russell (45)
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.