The Ironman hosted the biggest GNCC ever, a once-in-a-generation title showdown, and a media ride all in one day. The pouring rain just completed the experience
WORDS: Jason weigandt
PHOTOS: KEN HILL & MACK FAINT
Ben Kelley saw his GNCC dream turning into a nightmare. His factory FMF KTM 350 XC-F stopped running after a relentless rainstorm had turned the Ironman track into a giant river, and his bike was about to drown. A few hours earlier, Becca Sheets ran through the same troubles trying to cling to the Women’s XC title, her Yamaha’s air filter soaked, her engine on the verge of destruction. In the same race, a group of industry types—including big brass like KTM North America president John Hinz—were out there slogging through the mud. Nearly everyone got into an impossible, impassable scenario where they couldn’t have escaped without help. But even deep in the woods at a Grand National Cross Country series race, help is never far away. Fans become participants, and that’s when the GNCC experience becomes whole.