2004 GNCC Round 7

Sparta, KY

May. 01, 2004 By Bonnie Hamrick

May 1 , 2004

Traci Cecco with another Overall

The race day was going to be miserable. With the quad riders being towed into the parking lot most of the day on Friday, a down pour of rain came during the night, adding three inches of not needed rain. Saturday morning, with the rain still dripping, Racer Productions was only allowing quad riders to enter the gate. Most of the riders had to use four-wheel drive or be towed to a parking spot by a dozer or tractor. Many riders were complaining because they loved the mud. Not a race this season has been muddy for the Grand National Cross Country Series, but Round Seven in Sparta, Kentucky, was muddy enough!

Going to the starting line, most of the quads were getting the thick brown paste all over their four-wheelers. Trail boss, Jeff Russell, gave the rider's meeting on the starting line. "We had a ten mile course laid out for you yesterday, but Buren Hamrick is out there now trying to make it easy enough for the both of us. If you get stuck, we will be there soon enough to get you pulled out and back to your pits. Have a great race." Riders were baffled at Russell's admission of track conditions. Ten miles and only three laps were the only thing the three hundred morning race riders were getting at Round Seven.

Traci Cecco got off to the holeshot, stealing the thunder from Stephanie Parton.
On lap one, Traci Cecco, Stephanie Parton, and Johnny Gallagher all within seconds.

Women's Battle
On row one, the Women and Super Senior riders were ready as Ricky Towery called ten seconds. Traci Cecco took the holeshot with point's rival Stephanie Parton the third quad to enter the woods. The race was on for the dueling Women's Class and the only thing to do was to wait to see who held the overall on lap one. At the end of a nearly twenty-six minute lap, Cecco rounded the pit area first with just a few seconds ahead of Parton, both in second and third overall. John Gallagher Sr, from the Super Senior Class held onto first place, in fourth overall, right on Parton's rear wheels. Just at a minute later, Angel Atwell came through for third, holding fifth overall. Brenda Kress was just five seconds off Atwell in fourth place. On lap two, Cecco rounded through the pits for a splash of gas and goggles and took back off with over a two minute lead on Atwell for second. Cecco took back over the overall position, riding hard with the white flag out to take another overall win. Sixteen minutes later, Kress came in for third with Parton never coming around on lap two.

Craig Reed held onto the overall on lap one, but could he hold off Travalena and the rest?
Taking her third straight second place for 2004, Atwell is on her way to moving up in the ponts race.

Four Stroke Stock heat
On lap one of the Spartan mud fest, Craig Reed aboard a Honda, held the overall position with a twenty-five minute and a half minute lap. Forty-six seconds back for second was Billy Good, Round Six's Overall winner. Over a minute back in third was Richard Travalena aboard a Polaris with Will Cashion just seconds back in fourth. On lap two, Good was riding in first with second overall behind Cecco. Good held a two minute lead over Reed, with Tyler Lenig working his way into third, twenty seconds off Reed. Travalena dropped to fourth, over a minute behind Lenig. Cashion and Michael Newman, both running fourth and fifth on lap one, never made it back around to complete lap two. Cashion was off in a hole, stuck, forced to wait for a tow, which didn't get him back to his pits till after the first lap of the afternoon race.

Billy Good was riding hard to take another overall away from Reed.
Second lap and still out front, Traci Cecco was almost so muddy you couldn't tell it was her!

Kawasaki Domination for the Utilities
Mike Penland, ten time Championship holder for the Utility Stock Class took the early lead off the start and was able to hold onto first place at the end of lap one with a twenty second lead over Ken Robey. Over a minute back was Woodie Terrell. On lap two, the Kawasaki trio was still holding onto first, second, and third with Penland pulling just over a minute lead for first. In the Utility Modified Class, Scott Kilby took the holeshot to hold onto first at the end of the first long lap. Kilby had over a two minute lead over Dan McConnaughey, both also aboard Kawasaki's. On lap two, Kilby stretched out his lead by over two minutes over McConnaughey.

All smiles, but without her famous red nail polish. Cecco never missed a beat in the mud fest at Kentucky.
With this much mud on a quad after an hour and a half of racing, Traci had her work cut out for her when she got home!!!

All smiles on the podium, Traci Cecco took her second Overall finish and fourth podium experience for 2004. Cecco was excited to be up on the podium, as she fumbled with her first Champange bottle top.

"There are tracks everywhere. It is picking the right one that is hard. My plan was to just run a smooth race. I got stuck on the second lap and was there for a while. I was scared I got passed while there, but I guess everyone had as much trouble as me today. I want to thank my husband and the Borich family for bringing me early to the racetrack. Also my sponsors: Team Safari, Alba Action, Klotz, Maxxis, Pro Armor, Shoei, DP Brakes, IMS, Outerwears, Tireballs, HiPer, Custom Axis, Lonestar, Moose, Smith, The Quadshop, Hardkore, TrailTech, Spider Grips, ATVRage, ExRiders.com, Twin Air and Pro Clean."

Mud flying everywhere as Row Two, the Pro Am take off.

Taking second overall from the 4 Stroke Stock Class was Billy Good, who rode in the Open A and Pro Am Class earlier in the season before Loretta Lynn's. Good is now on the stock Honda 450R, making a name for himself. In third overall, and his first podium experience in a few years was Mike Penland aboard the Kawasaki Prairie.

"This is the kind of mud perfect for Utility racing. I had so many problems out there but the quad ran great and I have to thank the Good Lord for getting me through it and being up here. I have so many sponsors, but first I need to thank Kawasaki for having such a great quad, Klotz, Maxxis, O'Neil, tireballs, Outerwears, Penland Brother's Racing, Hiper Wheels, Carbonman, and so many more."

Fourth overall went to Doug Henke of the Utility Unlimited Class, who took over the class lead on lap two from Neil Belcher who took second and fourteenth overall. Fifth overall went to another Utility rider, Scott Kilby. Sixth overall was John Gallagher Sr, taking first place in the Super Senior Class. Second in 4 stroke Stock went to Richard Travalena with Tyler Lenig about twenty seconds back and Craig Reed just seconds back for ninth overall. Tenth overall went to Ken Robey, four minutes back from Penland for second in the Utility Stock Class. Angel Atwell took eleventh overall and second place in the Women's Class, making her third second place finish in a row. Harlen Foley, in the 4 Stroke Stock Class took a horrible start, after spinning out in the second turn off the start. Foley worked his way through the pack, never giving up on his ExRiders.com Suzuki to take fifth and twelfth overall. Tyson Helton took the 4 Stroke C 16-24 year old class win by over three minutes over Michael Howell. 4 Stroke C 16-24 year old class point's leader, Brandon Sommers was unable to make his first lap due to frying his clutches at mile marker three.

Afternoon getting in on the action
The afternoon quad race was put on an hour delay so Racer Productions crew could pull most of the Morning riders out of the track. The crew worked during most of the afternoon race still pulling out the nearly forty morning race riders that never even made a first lap. With the Pro riders lining up at two o'clock, the afternoon riders were ready for their ten miles of sloppy mud. One notorious mud rider is Chad Duvall, would he be able to break Bill Ballance's win streak today?

Open A excitement
On lap one, Shawn Beavers held over ten seconds over second place Josh Whitehead with Jeffrey Pickens a few seconds back for third. In fourth, twenty seconds behind Pickens, was Scott Fleischhauer. The battle for fifth was between Ritchie Brown and Cory Dunn. On lap two, Beavers was holding onto a three second lead over Bryan Baker. In third Fleischhauer was just thirty seconds back with Timothy Lenig Jr in fourth, forty seconds back. Over two minutes back Eric Davis and Tom Hertz had worked their way up to battle for fifth place.

4 Stroke B
On lap one, Mark Fulton held onto a forty-five second lead aboard his Suzuki over Scot Mills aboard the Yamaha 450. Over a minute back in third was Chris Conklin. Michael Novak was riding in fourth place, two minutes back from Conklin. On lap two, Mills took over the lead and rode hard to try and take a second 4 Stroke B Class win in a row. Second place was Conklin, moving up from fourth, to just over a minute back. Making the fastest second lap for the class was Shawn Stewart, moving up from fifth to third, just over two minutes back, with Fulton dropping to fourth ten seconds behind Stewart.

Chris Jenks looks on his Number 13 Honda in all smiles about his first podium experience. Look for Jenks to make more of these once the first one was out of the way.
Even Chris Borich had to get towed out of the parking lot - almost everyone had to get towed out. Racer Productions crews pulled riders out until Sunday at three o'clock pm. The bike race was cancelled for Sunday.

Another rider notorious for his mud riding abilities, seen at the John Penton event in 2003 as well as in Palatka, FL this year is Jeff Stoess aboard the ATK. Stoess took over the lead on lap two and rode to a swift overall finish. In second overall, Chris Jenks was just forty seconds off from Stoess. On lap two, Jeremy Rice and Jenks were riding in the overall from the Pro Am Class, but Jenks was able to hold onto second overall as Rice fell off pace, getting stuck on the last lap. Taking third overall was Chad Duvall aboard his Am Pro Yamaha. In fourth overall was Rice, able to get his Honda back out and running in the thick, slimy Kentucky mud. Fifth and sixth overall, just thirty seconds apart were Santo DeRisi and Bryan Cook, both riders practically neighbors in the small hometown of Casar, NC. After getting a flat tire by not using tireballs, Bill Ballance took seventh overall aboard his Troy Yamaha, losing his win streak. Ballance will not be down long about his upsetting finish; Ballance bounces back quickly and will be back in the hunt at Round Eight at Rausch Creek, PA. William Yokley took eighth overall with Jathan Seale from the Pro Am Class taking ninth and Greg Trew rounding out the top ten overall.

4 Stroke A Class rider, Scott Barron took the class win by two minutes, taking twelfth overall. Bryan Baker managed to take over the lead in the Open A Class with fifteenth overall. Less than a minute back was Scott Fleischhauer taking second and nineteenth overall. Just over five seconds later, Timothy Lenig Jr followed behind Fleischhauer for third in the Open A. In the 4 Stroke B Class, Chris Conklin took the class win and sixty-sixth overall. Four minutes later, Mark Fulton crossed the finish line for second in the 4 Stroke B Class and seventy-eighth overall.

Points battles are shaping up now with just over halfway through the 2004 race season. In the Pro Class, only three riders have finished in the Top Ten overall at all seven races: Bill Ballance, William Yokley, and Bryan Cook. Look for these three riders to place well in the overall scores by the end of the season. Pro riders on the move half way in the season are Chad Duvall, moving up to third overall now. Pro Am Riders, Jathan Seale and Chris Jenks are both sitting in the top ten overall, looking for good overall numbers for 2005.

Hope to see everyone in two weeks at Rausch Creek, where maybe the rain will not be the obstacle of the race event, but the gravel rocks that make Rausch Creek a challenge!

Series Information

Racer Productions
Telephone (304) 284-0084


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