Morgantown, West Virginia—This weekend, April 17 and 18, the 2021 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, is set to invade Union County, South Carolina for the second time this year as round five, Dunlop Tires Tiger Run, will be held at the Big Buck Farm.
On Saturday, the Pro ATVs will take to the trails at 2 p.m. with WFR/GBC Tires/Fly Racing/Yamaha’s Walker Fowler looking to earn his fourth-straight win. Fowler currently leads the points standings, and he is hoping to keep his momentum rolling into the fifth round of the 2021 season. However, Fowler has a handful of eager XC1 Pro riders who are ready to end his win streak he will have to hold off this weekend.
After finishing second at the previous round, Action Off-Road/Kenda/Tely Energy Racing’s Cole Richardson is ready to strike. Richardson currently sits fourth in the points, and he is ready to continue battling at the front of the pack to improve his standings. With a couple podium finishes under his belt, he’s ready to go for that number one spot this weekend.
Earning his first podium finish of the year at the last round was OBOR/Moose Racing/Parts Unlimited-backed Adam McGill. This weekend McGill will aim to once again battle up front, with hopes of earning that number one spot after two-hours of intense racing.
JMR/GBC/Elka/Moose Racing’s Jarrod McClure remains third in the points standings, and after finishing just off the podium a couple weeks ago he will be eager to put his machine up on the box this weekend. McClure remains to be one of the consistent racers thus far in the season, but he has his eyes on the center of the box and earning that first overall win of the season.
After rounding out the top five at round four, Hunter Hart Racing/Maxxis/Fly Racing’s Hunter Hart remains second in the points standings. This weekend Hart will look to battle for another podium finish and remain a top contender for the 2021 National Championship.
In the XC2 Pro-Am class it has been BNR Motorsports/Senge Graphics/Houser Racing’s Ronnie Rusch earning the past two rounds class wins. Rusch leads the way in the points after four rounds of racing, and this weekend he will look to keep his win streak alive with number three on the season. BNR Motorsports/Yamaha’s Ben Kowalewski earned a win at round two, and he is eager to get back to the center of the box this weekend as well. Nine2 Goggles/GBC Tires/BNR Motorsports’ Tanner Walker sits third in the points, and after rounding out the top five at the previous round he is aiming to get back to the front of the pack and onto the podium.
In the 11 a.m. race it was Kenda/BNR/Nine2/Custom Axis’ Cody Collier coming through to take his third 4x4 Pro class win of the season. Collier remains second in the points standings, but he will be aiming to grab another win this weekend. OBOR/Can-Am/ DeRisi Racing’s Landon Wolfe continues to lead the way in the 4x4 Pro class, and after earning two-straight second place finishes he is eager to grab another overall win.
In the WXC class it has been Action Off-Road/Moose Racing/GBC Motorsports’ Katelyn Osburn grabbing the two-straight wins and hoping to keep her momentum going and battle for her third win of the season. Osburn will have to hold off some stiff competition from Hanna Hurricane Hunter/OBOR Tires/Fly Racing’s Hannah Hunter and Fly Racing/GBC Motorsports/Yamaha Racing Traci Pickens.
Then on Sunday the fastest off-road racing motorcycle racers will take on the South Carolina terrain. AmPro Yamaha’s Steward Baylor has earned the overall win at the past two rounds, even after battling down to the checkered flag at the previous round. Baylor is hopeful he can earn his third-straight overall win of the season and continue to move up through the ranks after missing round one and finish 14th at round two.
One rider looking for his first overall win of the season will be Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Josh Strang. Strang has been a consistent force at the first four rounds of racing, and he currently sits just three points behind the National Championship points leader. This weekend Strang is hopeful he can get that first overall win of the season after swapping the lead position multiple times at the previous round.
Earning his second podium finish of the year was Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jordan Ashburn. As Ashburn sits fourth in the points standings, he is aiming to battle for another podium finish this Sunday to improve his standings.
Continuing to hold onto the points lead is the FMF/KTM Factory Racing-backed rider of Benjamin Kelley. Kelley currently has a three point lead over Strang, and after a fourth place finish two weeks ago he is eager to battle at the front for his second overall win of the season.
After rounding out the top five overall at the previous round, KLM Milwaukee GASGAS’ Grant Baylor is hoping he can return to his winning ways in Union, South Carolina. At round one, which was held on the same property, Baylor was able to earn the win and as a South Carolina Native he is aiming to do it again on Sunday afternoon.
In the XC2 250 Pro class it was Coastal GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jonathan Girroir earning his third straight win in the class, and a third overall finish on the day. Girroir continues to lead the way, and he is aiming to continue his winning ways this weekend.
Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green’s Lyndon Snodgrass is hoping to improve his class standings after finishing second in the XC2 class at the last round of racing. Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna Racing’s Craig Delong, the defending champion of the XC2 class, currently sits second in the points standings, and after two second place and two third place finishes, he is eager to stand in the center of the box with that first win of the season.
Continuing to lead the way in the FMF XC3 125cc Pro-Am class is Magna1 Motorsports/Husqvarna’s Jonathan Johnson. Johnson remains undefeated in the class, and he is hopeful that he can keep his unbeaten season alive on Sunday. Lojak Cycle Sales/Yamaha’s Chase Colville as well as Carolina KTM/Moose Racing/XC Gear’s Zack Hayes are both eager to end Johnson’s steak this weekend.
BABS Racing Yamaha/Fly/Maxxis/Pro Circuit’s Becca Sheets and AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer come into round five tied for the points lead in the WXC class. With both racers earning two wins and two second place finishes thus far in the season, they will both be going for that overall win and points lead on Sunday morning.
The GNCC event will begin Saturday, April 17 with ATV racing starting at 8 a.m. featuring Micro (50cc) ATV racers aged 4 to 6 years old, followed by Micro (50cc) bike racers at 8:45 and Youth racers taking to the woods at 9:30 a.m., then the amateurs, 4x4 Pro and Women at 11 a.m., and the top amateurs and pros race at 2 p.m.
Then on Sunday, April 18, the motorcycles will take to the woods of South Carolina starting with the youth racing action at 8 a.m., women and amateur riders’ race at 10 a.m. and the pros and top amateurs will start at 1 p.m.
Over 200 South Carolina native riders are expected to participate throughout the weekend. Riders hailing from Union, Greenville, Spartanburg, Wellford and more will join in on the racing action on ATVs and Motorcycles.
For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.
2021 GNCC Standings
Images: Mack Faint