Morgantown, W.Va. - The path is laid out right in front of Suzuki's Chris Borich. Not just the sandy, whooped-out course that marks the Moose Racing Westgate River Ranch GNCC in River Ranch, Florida, the season-opener for the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. But Borich also sees the path to the GNCC record books.
Borich has now won two-straight GNCC Championships after dominant 2009 and 2010 seasons. But the previous GNCC ATV King, Bill Ballance, won nine-straight titles, and the GNCC Champion before Ballance, Barry Hawk, won seven straight. This gives Borich big shoes to fill.
He'll also face stiff competition this year. Ballance's protégé, Taylor Kiser, is a Florida native and absolutely hauls in the sand on his factory Ballance Racing Yamaha. The Warnert Can-Am Team, with Adam McGill and Chris Bithell back after taking third and fourth in last year's standings, is back on DS450s. Even Ballance himself can be a player, embarking on another season.
2-Time Champion Chris Borich is looking to capture his third championship in 2011Each of these riders has challenged Borich hard at times last season, but the Pennsylvanian's patented last-lap surge powered him to 10 overall victories in 13 races.
His biggest competition could come from a lesser-known talent, though. Brian Wolf, the 2010 XC2 Pro-Am Champion, moves up to the XC1 Pro Division with great expectations around him. The 2009 XC2 Champion, Redline suspension's Donnie Ockerman has been steadily improving during his XC1 career, claiming fifth in last year's chase. KTM's Bryan Cook will be back, as well.
It adds up to great competition taking place on Sunday afternoon.
The XC1 division is just part of the excitement, as GNCC Racing encompasses a variety of classes; including 4x4 Utility machines and the high-profile Women's class.
Spectator passes run $20 for Saturday and Sunday tickets, and $20 for a Monday and Tuesday ticket. Children five and under are admitted free. On both Sunday and Tuesday, 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.
The track is located at the Westgate River Ranch in Lake Wales, Fla. From U.S. 27, go south to S.R. 60 (Lake Wales Exit), make a left and head east for approximately 25 miles. River Ranch is on the right.
The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series kicks off this weekend, in conjunction with Daytona Bike Week. ATV practice will take place on Saturday and racing on Sunday, followed by bike practice on Monday and racing on Tuesday. For more information, go to www.gnccracing.com.
About GNCC Racing:
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1979, 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 10 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.