Acerni-Off-Road-King-of-Valleys-8-16-13WALTERS ARENA, WALES, UK: More than 40 teams from nine countries competed last weekend in the 2nd annual King of The Valleys ULTRA4 race held at Walters Arena in Wales, UK. Going into the event, there was much speculation as to who would be declared this year’s King of The Valleys: Would it be a returning driver such as last year’s winner, Italian Pier Acerni, or perhaps a local racer familiar with the terrain such as UK’s Jim Marsden, or could it possibly be the American ULTRA4 driver on his first trip overseas, Levi Shirley? Ultimately, after three grueling days of competition that saw drivers navigating through winding technical rally roads normally reserved for WRC events, battling waste deep mud bogs and scaling extreme rock obstacles designed specifically for this event, it was the Italian driver, Pier Acerni, who retained his crown for another year.

The event began on Friday with a three mile prologue that served as both the first recorded stage of the event and also determined start order for Saturday’s complete 22 mile stage.  After the prologue the top 3 drivers to start on Saturday were: American driver, Levi Shirley, in 1st with French driver, Nicolas Montador in 2nd followed by Swiss driver Stephane Zosso in 3rd.  While Pier Acerni actually recorded the 2nd fastest time in the prologue, he received a time penalty for failure to stop at a check point that resulted in him starting Saturday’s stage 33rd.

Morgantown, W. Va. – The Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC marks the halfway point in the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series as Round 8 of the 13-race tour heads to eastern West Virginia this weekend. The two-way championship battle continues to tighten between current XC1 points leader Paul Whibley and young gun Kailub Russell. With only five points separating first and second place, this weekend’s Snowshoe GNCC has the potential to stir up the points lead once again. But that’s not the only thing to keep an eye out for; there are several wildcard riders that could land a win in the rocky hills of Snowshoe Mountain.

AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley will wear the coveted white background with red numbers aboard his YZF450, indicating he has the points lead for Round 8 this weekend. Whibley solely gained the points lead from Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell as the two entered Round 7 tied for points and Whibley’s victory gave him a slight edge coming into one of the toughest courses on the circuit.

The Snowshoe course is known for its deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and near-vertical hill climbs, usually throwing an additional element to the already demanding three-hour race. WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead typically excels in technical terrain like Snowshoe. In fact, Mead held the overall lead on time adjustment from the XC2 class in 2011, giving him a confidence boost heading into this weekend’s race. Mead currently holds the fourth place spot in the point standings, only three points behind Factory FMF KTM’s Charlie Mullins.