Sparta, KY (May 29, 2008) -- Red Bull KTM’s David Knight garnered reputation by showing up for any race, anytime, anywhere, all over the world, and winning. But now the Isle of Man native has buckled down to focus on just one task: winning this weekend’s Weekend Warrior Spartan Grand National Cross Country race in Kentucky.
At that race, FMF Suzuki riders Paul Whibley, Joshua Strang and Jimmy Jarrett swept the podium while Knight struggled to keep his bike running on a rainy day. Whibley and Strang finished 1-2 on their RM-Z450s, and both seek victory this weekend.
Whibley, the New Zealander, followed his Ohio GNCC victory with another win in a different series last weekend. Strang, the Australian, sees the Ohio GNCC as the one that got away. He led on the last lap until Whibley found a new line and pulled off a surprise pass. Strang turned that disappointment into motivation for this weekend.
“I’m gonna’ try!” says Strang of his chances to win this weekend. “We’ve been trying some new stuff with the RM-Z450 and it’s running even better, so it should be good.”
If any rider needs a boost in Kentucky, it’s Charlie Mullins. Another member of the FMF Suzuki squad, the “Hot Rod” was expected to challenge Knight for the GNCC crown this year. He won a race in Georgia, but hasn’t been back to victory lane since. Luckily, Mullins hails from just over the state line in Ohio, and the fans should give him a boost.
“It’s always good to race in front of people that you know,” said Mullins. “Hopefully I can get a win for them. I’m 100 percent ready for this weekend.”
Other contenders in Sunday’s three-hour race include Knight’s teammate Nathan Kanney, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Jason Raines, factory Husqvarna duo Glenn Kearney and Gordon Crockard, and Kawasaki riders Garrett Edmisten and Jesse Robinson.
The GNCC XC2 Lites class runs alongside the XC1 division, showcasing young GNCC talent on 250cc four-stroke bikes. Am-Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall has dominated the 2008 tour, winning five of six races. The high-flying DuVall, however, must prove his consistency, as a slew of riders hope he makes a mistake that gets them back in the game. Monster Energy/Andrews Yamaha riders Dustin Gibson and Josh Weisenfels battle DuVall every weekend, as well as Powersports GrafX KTM’s Kailub Russell, Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Scott Watkins and Andrew Matusek, and the defending XC2 Champion, Red Bull KTM’s Justin Williamson. That fast pack produces great racing each weekend.
The race, held just past the Kentucky Motor Speedway off of Exit 57 on I-71, is expected to draw nearly 1,500 competitors and several thousand spectators. Riders will race on a custom-built track including jumps, mud, hills, rocks and trails.
Spectator passes are $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. ATVs race on Saturday and bikes race on Sunday. Youth riders race at 8 a.m., beginner riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m. For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.
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: May 31 and June 1, 2008. Four-wheeled ATVs race on Saturday. Motorcycles race on Sunday.
Where: Follow I-71 to Exit 57. Follow signs two miles to the track.
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 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.
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 MotoTees. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.