WASHINGTON, Ga. – Four-Time champion Chris Borich returned to his old ways Saturday at the Maxxis General GNCC, making an almost patented last-lap pass on Walker Fowler to take the win at Round 2 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series. The front-runners were in a race of their own, finishing about five minutes ahead of the third place rider Johnny Gallagher, who appeared on the podium for the first time this season.
In fact, it’s been exactly one decade since Yamaha/GBC/HMF’s Gallagher made a podium speech, but the 35-year-old commented, “The General GNCC in 2003 was my last podium finish and I was up here with Bill Ballance and William Yokely. It’s been a long time and the faces have changed a little bit but man it still feels just as good!”
On the opposite end of the age spectrum, 17-year-old rookie Braden Henthorn shot out to capture his second consecutive Team Woodhead/DeRisi Racing Holeshot Award in the XC1 class. However, it was Maxxis-backed Chris Bithell who jumped out to an early lead with Lonestar Racing/Precision/ITP’s Adam McGill and Borich close in tow.
Lap 2 threw a few curve balls in the lead pack, though. First, McGill hit a tree, causing him to spend a substantial amount of time in the pits. And while McGill was in the pits getting his ATV repaired, Bithell came barreling in with a problem of his own. Bithell’s crew fixed the problem and sent him back on the course, causing him to drop from first to eleventh in the matter of minutes.
AmPro Yamaha’s Walker Fowler got a mid-pack jump off the start but eventually made his way into the lead by Lap 3, where the battle with Borich began to take shape. With every lap that passed, Fowler and Borich extended the gap even more between the lead battle and the third place of Gallagher.
Gallagher claimed his first podium finish in 10 years at Saturday’s Maxxis General
“It’s not easy to come from the back at the beginning of a race and I’m in the best shape of my life,” Fowler said. “I’m definitely excited with second place and with second in the points, I just need to start picking up some wins and stop this record breaker over here [Borich].”
JB Offroad/Can-Am’s Jarrod McClure had his sights set on a podium finish at The Maxxis General and all signs showed that was possible until the Pennsylvania rider experienced problems late in the race that pushed him outside of the top ten overall.
Borich and Fowler battled all afternoon for the win
Despite some issues with oil leakage throughout the afternoon, GT Thunder’s Brian Wolf put in a steady ride to finish fourth for the day. Wolf put a late-in-the-race charge on the pack ahead but spent an extended period of time replenishing his oil during his final pit stop. BNR’s Kevin Yoho put in a solid top five finish, coming in less than 20 seconds behind Wolf. This marks Yoho’s best career finish in XC1.
Waynesburg Yamaha’s Jeff Pickens got off to a back of the pack start but eventually made his way into sixth place where he would finish for the day. Bithell was able to salvage a seventh place in the class after experiencing mid-race issues. Braden Henthorn and Indiana’s Craig Bowman rounded out the top ten.
XC2 Pro Am rookie Brycen Neal finished with a commanding win over the rest of the field for his second consecutive victory this season. Maryland’s Landon Wolfe grabbed another second place finish and defending XC2 Pro Am champ Patrick McGuire rounded out the podium.
The 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series continues April 6 and 7 in Morganton, N.C. with the FMF Steele Creek GNCC.
For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.