Borich Earns XC1 Win at Muddy GNCC
The 2014 Amsoil GNCC series present by Maxxis kicked off its season in Bunnell, Florida, this past weekend, and Chris Borich came away with the victory after a dramatic last-lap pass have him the lead on the muddy track.
This may be the first ATV race on the GNCC calendar in 2014, but it also marks the first GNCC race with AMA sanctioning. Borich kicked off the 13-race series in style, charging his Maxxis-backed machine past the field to earn the $250 Twin Air DeRisi Racing XC1 Holeshot award, though it was Precision Maxxis Tires Suzuki's Chris Bithell who took over the lead on the opening lap. GT Thunder racer Brian Wolf also got into the mix early on, but he ran into mechanical issues that forced him out of the top ten by the second lap.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha's Walker Fowler worked his way through the pack after a rough start to move just outside of the top five, and then he picked off spots until he got into the battle with Borich and Bithell for a three-way fight for the lead.
Less than 10 seconds separated the top three racers during the second half of the race. With only two laps to go Bithell and Borich were still battling neck and neck for the lead, though Borich was able to get past Bithell and looked to possibly have the win.
"There were so many lines out there and I think he [Bithell] bobbled a little and I was able to get by him," Borich said. “On the last lap a stick poked out and grabbed my tether and killed the bike, so he was able to get by me again."
Borich was down but not out, and the reigning champ showed his mettle with a pass on the last lap regain the lead and earn his 68th career victory to earn another title – he’s now tied for all-time ATV wins with Barry Hawk.
"It's definitely pretty cool to tie Barry's record for all-time wins!" Borich said after the race. "The track was pretty brutal out there. It wasn't the sandy whoops like we're used to here in Florida, it was a lot of mud bogs everywhere but I just tried to be smooth, patient and stay out of the roost as much as possible to make the bike last."
Bithell may have led four of the five laps at the season opener, but his second-place finish does still earn him valuable points for the overall title for 2014.
"Second place is actually my best finish ever in Florida, so I'm pumped right now," Bithell said. "It was nuts out there! The last mile before the finish Borich and I were neck-and-neck. My bike blew a little antifreeze so I just kind of backed down. I knew I had Walker by then so I figured it was better to finish second than to break down."
Finishing in the final podium spot was Fowler, who was 40 seconds behind Bithell after the two-hour race.
"It was a fun day, I got some valuable points and I'm able to get up on the podium and thank everybody that needs it," Fowler said. "We started off the year on a good note and I couldn't be happier about that."
Rookie Impresses in Debut
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Cole Richardson may have been racing in his first Pro-Am, but he didn’t appear to show any nerves after jumping out to an early lead and taking the XC2 win and earning fourth overall.
Richardson first had to pass Randy Hamilton after he claimed the All Balls Racing XC2 Holeshot at the start of the race. Fred Marley also had a good start, as he and SICC Racing teammate Marshal Goings stayed near the front early on. Goings was running in second before mechanical issues stopped him from finishing his XC2, though teammate Marley was able to hold on and finish in second behind Richardson. BNR Motorsports Loctite Lobar's Thomas Koontz Jr. appeared bothered by the muddy conditions and rode a solid race, finishing a career-best 11th place overall and third in XC2.
The next stop on the 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series Washington, Georgia, March 15-16. For more information, visit http://www.gnccracing.com/.
1. Chris Borich - SUZ
2. Chris Bithell - SUZ
3. Walker Fowler - YAM
4. Jarrod McClure - HON
5. Josh Merritt - YAM
6. Braden Henthorn - HON
7. Johnny Gallagher - YAM
8. Brycen Neal - HON
9. Jeff Pickens - YAM
10. Craig Bowman - YAM
1. Cole Richardson - YAM
2. Fred Marley - HON
3. Thomas Koontz - YAM
4. Martin Christofferson - HON
5. James Green - HON
6. Jay Humphrey - HON
7. Ryland Johnson - HON
8. Blake Kramer - YAM
9. Brody Livengood - YAM
10. Jonathan Fugate - HON