St. Clairsville, Ohio – Temperatures were a bit on the chilly side in eastern Ohio as Round 11 of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series made its way to St. Clairsville, Ohio for the ITP Powerline Park GNCC. Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell bounced back from a tough loss last round to secure his fifth win of the season, now sitting within four points of current points leader Paul Whibley in the championship standings.

As if cold temperatures and challenging obstacles-such as the infamous “Powerline Mud Hole” and the tricky “Rock Garden”-weren’t grueling enough, scattered rainfall became yet another factor early in the three-hour afternoon race. AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley continued his holeshot tradition by once again grabbing the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award where he led the opening lap with Factory FMF/KTM teammates Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins close behind. However, things began to turn sour for Whibley around the halfway point as the current points leader began a series of crashes that caused him to significantly lose time on the leaders as the race wore on. Since Russell was able to land his first-ever XC1 win at Powerline Park in 2011, his confidence looked to be at an all time high this weekend.

Lake Wales, Fla. (March 12, 2012) – Tradition is a key component in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, America’s premiere off-road ATV and motorcycle racing series. This weekend’s ATV season opener, the Moose Racing Westgate River Ranch GNCC in River Ranch, Fla., picked up almost exactly where it left off in 2011, as a handful of veterans diced away for the podium position, but this year’s season opener added in a few new factors for 2012.

In true fashion, Maxxis/Yoshimura-backed Chris Borich (SUZ) put a final-lap pass on the remaining front-runners-Chris Bithell and Adam McGil-to take home the first win of the season in the rough, whooped-out Florida sand. Borich, three-time and defending ATV champion, settled into the third position immediately into the two-hour battle, but after tagging a tree with his front bumper, Borich was forced to pull into the pits for some additional tweaking.

St. Clairsville, OH -Chris Borich made a thrilling, last-lap pass on Brian Wolf to take an exciting, come-from-behind victory at the ITP Powerline Park GNCC, round 12 of the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

The win marked the seventh time this year the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider has graced the top step of the podium and it increased his already hefty lead in the series standings to a massive 36 points over Adam McGill with two rounds remaining on the schedule.

Dustin Canipe got the ball rolling by grabbing the holeshot at the start of the two-hour race, and by doing so, the Honda rider claimed the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award. It wasn’t long, however, before Wolf put his GT Thunder-backed Honda into the lead, eventually stretching his advantage to 40 seconds by the end of the opening lap.

And while Wolf ran solo out front, McGill and his Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing Can-Am teammate Chris Bithell battled Borich for second – all three riders taking a turn at the runner-up spot.

Gosport, IN – Brian Wolf got his first-ever premier-class win at the inaugural running of the Indy 100 GNCC, round six of the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series in Gosport, Indiana.

The XC1 rookie put his GT Thunder-backed Honda ahead of Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chris Borich and Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing Can-Am’s Adam McGill at the end of the four-lap race, taking the checkered flag in a virtual downpour as a driving rainstorm moved overhead at the three-lap mark, turning the red Indiana farmland into slime.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Wolf. “I couldn’t believe things panned out like they did. I was just hoping to get on the box but I ended up in the middle of it.”

Jeffrey Pickens grabbed the holeshot to start the race and the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award that goes along with it. Meanwhile, Wolf was fourth behind Honda-mounted Jarrod McClure, McGill and Ballance Racing Yamaha’s Bill Ballance when the lead pack hit the woods for the first time.

“I snuck by Ballance in one of the fields,” said Wolf. “I sat behind McGill for about a half a lap and then he made a little mistake on a hill climb. Then I sat behind McClure for two laps and he made a mistake and I got around him. I never looked back after that.”

Borich, the series points leader, was behind the lead group after the start and he his work cut out for him when the rains came.

“I was sitting back in fifth or sixth after the start, just taking my time, but it was pretty hard to pass out there,” said Borich. “Every time I would get to the front I would get hung up or hit a little bottleneck and drop back.”

Borich finally worked his way into second just before the final lap, but by that time Wolf had built too much of a lead to for Borich to overcome in one lap. At the finish, Wolf took the win with 28 seconds to spare over the defending champ.

Rounding out the podium was McGill, who maintains second in the series points standings with the finish.

“This track went from being really good to really bad in a heartbeat, it was gnarly,” said McGill. “We pitted early and that worked out for us. When the rain came, I thought, “you’ve got to me kidding me. Mile-marker six was really bad and I thanks to all the folks who helped me out down there. It was crazy”

Taylor Kiser finished the mud-fest in fourth, moving the Ballance Racing Yamaha rider into a two-way tie with Chris Bithell for third overall in the series points. Meanwhile, local Honda rider Ryan Lane turned in a fantastic ride to finish fifth.

Donnie Ockerman put his JET Suspension Honda into sixth at the finish, beating out Ballance and FRE Racing KTM’s Bryan Cook, while GT Thunder rider Kevin Yoho and Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing Can-Am rider Chris Bithell rounded out the top 10.

In the XC2 class, Walker Fowler extended his win streak to five, as the Ballance Racing Yamaha rider turned in another impressive ride after grabbing the $100Motosport.com Holeshot Award to start the race. The only flaw in Fowler’s race was when he got some barbed wire caught up in his bike. But he was soon on his way again, finishing the race with two minutes and forty seconds to spare over Greg’s ATV & Cycle Yamaha rider’s Patrick McGuire. The finish was McGuire’s best of the year and it bumped him from sixth to fourth in the XC2 standings.

Another Greg’s ATV & Cycle Yamaha rider, Gabe Phillips, finished third, edging out Honda-mounted Parker Jones for the spot.

Fifth through seventh positions went to Aarol Bright (KTM), Dustin Canipe (Hon), and Matt Pierce (Yam). Meanwhile, Honda rider Eric Hoyland finished ninth ahead of KTM riders Joshua Beavers and Richie Brown.

Kolton Burd was the top finishing “non-Pro” rider, winning the College A (16-21) class with a 21st overall finish.

In the A.M. race, Michael Swift (CAN) won the $100 GT Thunder Amateur Overall and topped the 4×4 Open class as well. Clifton Beasley (CAN) was second overall and first U2 rider, while Traci Cecco (Yam) won the Women’s division with a third overall finish.

Daryl Rath (POL) and Josh Day (CAN) rounded out the 4×4 Open podium. Meanwhile, Scott Day (CAN) and Jordan Phillips (CAN) were second and third respectively in the U2 division.

Travis Mader (Yam) topped John Rowling (Suz) and Justin Finley (Hon) to win the Sportsman A class.

Hunter Hart (Cob) got back on the winning track after finishing second at the Big Buck, taking the overall victory in the Youth race. Hart also won the 90 Open (8-11) division.

Second overall and first in the 90 Modified (12-15) went to Charlie Welch (DRR), with Alyssa Oplinger (Yam) taking third overall and winning the Girls (8-15) class.

The 90 Limited (11-15) class was won by Thomas Owen (APX), with Tyler Weltich (APX) and Brendan Golding (KYM) finishing second and third.

The UTVs took to a muddy track after the afternoon race, with Team NC Powersports (CAN) taking the overall victory, in addition to the win in the Open Modified class. Team Costal/National Guard (POL) finished second overall and second in Open Modified, with Team Hendershot (POL) finishing third in both the overall and Open Modified divisions.

The Open Limited class saw a Can-Am sweep of the podium with Team Travalena finishing first ahead of Team Held and ATV Parts Plus Stafford Racing.

John Trackside won the Single Seat class, beating fellow Honda riders Guy Trackside and Michael Doolittle.

In the Lites race, Team Faith (Yam) beat Team RMS Racing (Kaw).

The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Patton, Pennsylvania for the Rock Run GNCC on May 28 & 29. ATV racing will take place on Saturday, followed by bike racing on Sunday. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

 

XC1 Results:

1. Brian Wolf (Hon)

2. Chris Borich (Suz)

3. Adam McGill (CAN)

4. Taylor Kiser (Yam)

5. Ryan Lane (Hon)

6. Donnie Ockerman (Hon)

7. Bill Ballance (Yam)

8. Bryan Cook (KTM)

9. Kevin Yoho (Yam)

10. Chris Bithell (Can)

 

XC1 Standings:

1. Chris Borich (131 points/3 wins)

2. Adam McGill (115/1 win)

3. Chris Bithell (100)

4. Taylor Kiser (100)

5. Brian Wolf (75/1 win)

6. Bryan Cook (72)

7. Jarrod McClure (72)

8. Donnie Ockerman (68)

9. Kevin Yoho (61)

10. Jeffrey Pickens (51)

 

XC2 Results:

1. Walker Fowler (Yam)

2. Patrick McGuire (Yam)

3. Gabe Phillips (Yam)

4. Parker Jones (Hon)’

5. Aarol Bright (KTM)

6. Dustin Canipe (Hon)

7. Matt Pierce (Yam)

8. Eric Hoyland (Hon)

9. Joshua Beavers (KTM)

10. Richie Brown (KTM)

 

XC2 Standings:

1. Walker Fowler (150 points/5 wins)

2. Gabe Phillips (101)

3. Eric Hoyland (89)

4. Patrick McGuire (84)

5. Parker Jones (84)

6. Aarol Bright (82)

7. Dustin Canipe (74)

8. Richie Brown (64)

9. Nathan Wallpe (57)

10. Matt Hanna (55)

 

Motosport.com $250 XC1 holeshot – Jeffrey Pickens

Motosport.com $100 XC2 holeshot – Walker Fowler

With spectators crowding the barriers to get a better view, Charlie Mullins led Josh Strang into the final stretch of winding trail that led to the finish. As the two riders got closer to the checkered flag the intensity picked up, with Strang showing Mullins a wheel at every turn. Mullins guarded his lines and held Strang at bay, looking clearly to have his second win of the season in the bag. That is until the final turn when the FMF/KTM rider fell down. At that point a stunned Strang cruised across the finish line to take his first win of the year. The win was the FMF/Makita Suzuki rider’s third straight at Steele Creek and it gave him the series points lead to boot. To top things off, Strang also won the $250 Motosport.com Holeshot Award to start the r ace.

“I got pretty lucky there when Charlie went down,” said Strang. “It was unfortunate for him but I’ll take the win for sure. I went down myself on the last lap so I had to ride hard to catch him. When I caught him I had to try to get by him as quick as I could because we were close to the finish. I tried to go inside him in a corner and after that I was ready to settle for second, but then he went down. I was shocked and a little bit relieved.”

Until that point, Mullins had ridden a mistake-free race.

“It was a great race and I felt like I rode a good race,” said Mullins. “The only mistake I made all day was right there at the finish and it was a big one. I’m kind of disappointed in myself and I don’t know what to say. I’ve never thrown away a race like that.”

Cory Buttrick rode his strongest race of the year and battled early on with Mullins, Strang and Am Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall. At mid-race the FMF/KTM factory rider settled into his own private race in third, after Mullins and Strang picked up the pace and DuVall crashed out of contention.

“I got a pretty good start, which I’m happy about, and I was right behind Strang and Mullins,” said Buttrick. “I made one little mistake and DuVall got around me, but then he went down and I moved back into third. After a while, Charlie dropped the hammer and then Strang started inching away. After DuVall went down I just rode hard to stay where I was.”

Kailub Russell finally put things together after suffering problems at the first two rounds of the series. The FMF/KTM rider finished fourth despite taking a couple of laps to find his rhythm on the rough North Carolina course.

Round-two winner Paul Whibley had what he called an “off day”, finishing fifth on his Am Pro/FMF/Yamaha. The 2009 series champ got a bad start and was last into the first turn, but managed to work his way back into the top five.

Meanwhile, Finland’s Simo Kirssi is gradually acclimating to the series and had his best finish to date with a sixth on his FAR Husqvarna.

Jimmy Jarrett put his JG Off-Road/GEICO Powersports/Honda into seventh, finishing ahead of FMF/KTM’s Russell Bobbitt and WMR/Planet Fitness/KTM’s Nate Kanney.

Eight-time National Enduro Champion Michael Lafferty rounded out the top 10 on his factory Husaberg.

Jason Thomas was not happy at all with his first two races of the season, but he seems to have his house in order and took a dominating win in the XC2 class at Steele Creek. The FAR Husqvarna-backed rider ran as high as third overall at one point in the race, but ultimately settled into a pace that carried him to a nearly six-minute margin of victory over second place. The victory also gave Thomas the XC2 points lead.

“The first two rounds didn’t go too good for me, and we knew why they didn’t go good, and we straightened that problem out,” said Thomas. “I was confident today and I got out front and just picked good lines, that’s all it took.”

Thomas shared the podium with a pair of newcomers to the series, Andrew DeLong and Brad Bakken, both top National Enduro riders. DeLong took the runner-up sport behind Thomas, while Bakken finished third.

“I was mid-pack on the start and I just kept moving up,” said DeLong. “I was sitting third near the end and then Jordan Ashburn had problems and that moved me to second.”

In addition to his podium finish, Bakken was celebrating his 21st birthday on race day.

“This feels really good to be up here and I’m excited,” said Bakken. “I got a good start and ran up with Chris Bach for a while and I just gutted it out and finished third.”

JG Off-Road/GEICO Powersports/Honda’s Scotty Watkins got his best finish of the year with a fourth, beating out round one winner Steward Baylor Jr.

Meanwhile, KTM rider Zachery Smith was sixth ahead of $100 Motosport.comHoleshot Award winner Shane Obanion, who was seventh on a KTM.

AJ Stewart (Yam), Shane Hufford Jr. (KTM) and Morgan Moss (Hsq) rounded out the top 10.

After three rounds, Thomas leads the XC2 series standings by five points over Steward Baylor Jr. (76 to 71).

In the A.M. race, William Gilleland claimed the overall win, beating out fellow Yamaha rider Andrew Millier by a four-minute margin. KTM rider McKinnon Welborn was third overall, another two minutes back. Gilleland, Millier and Welborn were also the top three finishers in the Sportsman A class.

In the Women’s division, KTM’s Maria Forsberg took her second win of the year, beating out Yamaha rider LeeAnn Bange and Honda rider Ashley Crouch.

Tim Olson (Yam) won the Sportsman B class and Dennis Decker (Suz) won the Super Senior A division.

In the Youth race, KTM rider Levi Keller took his first-ever overall win, beating out Yamaha riders Gary Myers and Ryan Slopko in the process. Keller led every lap of the race and took the win by five minutes over Myers. “I’m from Ohio and it rains a lot there, so I’m used to this,” said Keller.

Keller, Myers and Slopko also filled the top three spots in the Super Mini (14-15) division.

In the Super Mini (12-13) class, Mack Jones took the win on his Yamaha, beating out Austin Lee (KTM) and Boston Evans (Yam).

In the 65 (7-9) class, Bryce Merrill topped fellow KTM riders Colby Burks and Matthew Harris for the win.

The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Union, South Carolina for the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC April 9-10. ATV racing will take place on Saturday, followed by bike racing on Sunday. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.

XC1 Results:

1. Josh Strang (Suz)

2. Charlie Mullins (KTM)

3. Cory Buttrick (KTM)

4. Kailub Russell (KTM)

5. Paul Whibley (Yam)

6. Simo Kirssi (Hsq)

7. Jimmy Jarrett (Hon)

8. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)

9. Nate Kanney (KTM)

10. Michael Lafferty (Hsb)

XC1 Standings:

1. Josh Strang (73/1 win)

2. Charlie Mullins (70/1 win)

3. Paul Whibley (58)

4. Cory Buttrick (54)

5. Nate Kanney (44)

6. Garrett Edminsten (37)

7. Michael Lafferty (35)

8. Chris Bach (35)

9. Kailub Russell (32)

10. Jimmy Jarrett (31)

XC2 Results:

1. Jason Thomas (Hsq)

2. Andrew DeLong (KTM)

3. Brad Bakken (KTM)

4. Scotty Watkins (Hon)

5. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)

6. Zachery Smith (KTM)

7. Shane Obanion (KTM)

8. AJ Stewart (Yam)

9. Shane Hufford Jr. (KTM)

10. Morgan Moss (Hsq)

XC2 Standings:

1. Jason Thomas (76/1 win)

2. Steward Baylor Jr. (71/1 win)

3. Andrew DeLong (58)

4. Jesse Robinson (58/1 win)

5. Brad Bakken (54)

6. Shane Obanion (40)

7. Scotty Watkins (39)

8. Jordan Ashburn (36)

9. Morgan Moss (35)

10. Shane Hufford Jr. (35)

MotoSport.com $250 XC1 holeshot – Josh Strang

MotoSport.com $100 XC2 holeshot – Shane Obanion

About GNCC Racing:

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is America’s premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1979, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles, competing for more than $3 million in prizes. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.