Fowler-GNCC-Off-Road-7-1-13SNOWSHOE, W. Va. – Heavy rainfall consumed West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain the week leading up to Round 9 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series, but the wet racing conditions only lent a hand in paying homage to the series’ predecessor-The Blackwater 100-which offered up some of the most grueling terrain in cross-country racing. Walker Fowler conquered Saturday’s rough and tumble AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC racecourse, besting points leader Chris Borich and the rest of the XC1 field by over two minutes.

The Snowshoe GNCC showcased a Blackwater-style concrete start, sending waves of five riders per row in increments of 10-15 seconds through the downtown village of Snowshoe Resort. AmPro Yamaha’s Walker Fowler jumped out to the front on the opening lap and the Ohio native didn’t seem to look back from there. Borich had a small slip-up on the opening lap but the defending champion managed to put his Maxxis-backed Suzuki into the second place position early on where he set his sights on the leader Fowler right away.

Russell-GNCC-Off-Road-7-1-13SNOWSHOE, W. Va. – It was a picture perfect day for racing in eastern West Virginia as Round 9 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series took place at Snowshoe Mountain Resort on Sunday. In a grueling three-hour battle to the finish, Kailub Russell came from behind to secure his third consecutive win of the season at the AMSOIL Snowshoe GNCC, closing the points gap on his teammate Charlie Mullins in the National Championship chase. In the XC2 Class, Grant Baylor claimed his third win of the season where he maintains the points lead heading into summer break.

Russell started on the front row alongside Charlie Mullins, Chris Bach, Paul Whibley and Josh Strang, but a crash on the opening lap set the Factory FMF/KTM rider a ways back from the lead pack. Mullins put himself out front right away, where he led the first two laps of the race.

Corona, CA – Husqvarna’s Cory Graffunder rolled into Central, Utah only a few points out of the lead in the Pro 2 class of the World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS), and was able to take a valuable step forward in the championship by taking the win on the technical Utah course. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, FAR Husqvarna’s Andrew DeLong ended his day on the podium, as well, taking second in the XC2 class at the Snowshoe GNCC.

Cory Graffunder knew that the win was mandatory to keep his Pro 2 championship hunt alive in the WORCS series. Recovering from a mid-pack start, which included taking a row of banners for a joyride, Cory pushed his TXC511 to the front of the Pro 2 class (and 6th overall position) midway through lap two, and never looked back.

“This was a fun course,” Cory said. “It was really rough and wet. I think we crossed that creek about six times each lap! The water was awesome, and the terrain suited my style. The win here is great, and I’m looking forward to the last three rounds.”

With three rounds remaining, Cory now sits just five points out of the lead in Pro 2 with a good shot at taking his first WORCS title.

Cory Graffunder returns to racing this weekend, LIVE on ESPN2, in the Summer X Games Enduro X event! Check your local listing for show times and details.

Snowshoe, W. Va. – Brian Wolf’s aggressive racing style has almost become synonymous with the Snowshoe GNCC, the most grueling stop on the 13-round Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series. Wolf has had his fair share of good times on Snowshoe Mountain—including two overall wins in 2009 and 2010—but in the last two years, Wolf has run into issues that have hindered his ability to complete in the full two-hour race. After leading much of the 2012 Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC, Wolf experienced yet another mechanical issue on the final lap, leaving Chris Borich to secure his seventh victory of the season in the XC1 Pro ATV class. West Virginia’s Gabe Phillips went on to grab his fourth victory in the XC2 Pro Am division.

JG Offroad/FRE/American Honda’s Brian Wolf immediately put himself into the lead at the beginning of the two-hour race and by the end of Lap 1 Wolf had stretched the lead to nearly one-minute over Ballance Racing Yamaha’s Walker Fowler and Maxxis/Yoshimura’s Chris Borich. Fowler ran into some issues midway through the race, pushing the young gun outside the top five for quite some time.

“At one point I think I was all the way back to sixth and I guess I figured that was as good as I could do today, but before I knew it I had caught up with [Chris] Bithell and Borich,” Fowler said. “The mud holes were getting wider and deeper so it was getting a little more difficult to maneuver around, but the fans were awesome today in helping all of us get through!”

Snowshoe, W. Va. (June 24, 2012) The Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC proved to be the toughest stop yet on the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series as racers endured almost 20-miles of the roughest terrain West Virginia has to offer. The XC1 points battle quickly heated up when New Zealand’s Rory Mead secured his second victory of the season, while Kailub Russell and Paul Whibley tightened the championship chase to just one point after eight rounds of racing.

WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead has a knack for technical terrain and the treacherous obstacles of Snowshoe Mountain offered Mead the opportunity to put his skills to the test. It was Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell who got out front early in Lap 1 but Mead eventually put his KTM 300-XC two-stroke machine out front and practically never looked back.

The battle for third place in the XC1 class came between AmPro Yamaha teammates Jordan Ashburn and Paul Whibley, but amidst the unique starting procedure, the front-runners were more diverse than usual. At the Snowshoe GNCC, racers line up in rows of five in accordance with their previous point standings and the official scores are based off adjusted lap times. As a result, XC2 Pro Lites racer Jason Thomas put his KR4 Performance-backed KTM into the physical battle with Whibley and Ashburn. Thomas ultimately bested Whibley by less than one-tenth of a second for third overall.

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.

Morgantown, W. Va. (June 20, 2012) – After a one-month break in the schedule, the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series returns to action this weekend at the picturesque Snowshoe Mountain Resort in eastern West Virginia. With six wins in the first seven rounds, Pennsylvania’s Chris Borich tops the XC1 ATV point standings as the series heads into Round 8 – The Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC. But since this race is deemed one of the toughest stops on the 13-round GNCC tour, anything out of the ordinary could take place during the two-hour battle through 20-miles of grueling terrain on Snowshoe Mountain.

Ballance Racing Yamaha’s duo of Taylor Kiser and Walker Fowler still remain in the title chase as they sit second and third place respectively in the series points. Kiser is the only rider to finish ahead of Borich in a race this season and the competition level has tightened up immensely between the two. Kiser’s teammate Fowler has a history of doing well in the rough and technical Snowshoe terrain and there’s no doubt the rookie has a winning-mentality this season.

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 two-hour race. Maxxis/Yoshimura’s Borich experienced the wrath of Snowshoe last year as he battled mechanical issues while contending for the lead, ultimately sitting out the final lap of the race. GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher also experienced issues last year, only completing two laps of the race.

SNOWSHOE, WV – FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang edged out the competition and piloted his FMF Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 to take the checkers at the sixth round of the 2011 Grand National Cross Country Series at the Snowshoe Mountain resort in Snowshoe, WV on Sunday. Strang rode strong throughout the entire three-hour race to pull off the race win and extend his championship points lead.

After a grueling, race-long battle, Strang moved his FMF/Makita Suzuki around the leader on the final lap of the three-hour race and avoided any mishaps over the final few miles to take the victory, his second of the year. The Snowshoe GNCC is billed as America’s Toughest Race, and Strang was pleased to come out on top at this year’s event.

Snowshoe, W. Va -FMF/Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang claimed the $5,000 top prize at this year’s Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC by taking a narrow victory over WMR Off-road/Clockwork/FMF/Planet Fitness KTM’s Nate Kanney after an exciting, race-long battle in what turned out to be an extremely difficult event.

Snowshoe GNCC is considered “America’s Toughest Race” and this year was tougher than usual after scattered showers turned the rooted and rocky mountain course into an extremely treacherous one. And due to the many mud holes and slippery climbs found along the trail, several riders held the lead at one point or another, as one rider would lead only to get stuck or fall and hand the spot over to someone else. In all, Am Pro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley, FMF/KTM Charlie Mullins, JG Racing/GEICO Powersports Honda’s Rory Mead, Am Pro Yamaha’s Thad DuVall and KTM rider Stu Baylor, along with Strang and Kanney, all held the lead somewhere during the three-hour race.

Heading into the fifth and final lap, the lead group consisted of Baylor, Mullins, Strang, and Kanney, however, Mullins and Baylor got stuck part way into the lap, leaving Kanney with the lead and Strang in second.

Near the end of the final lap, Strang got by Kanney in a mud hole and managed to stay out of trouble for the rest of the race. At the finish, Strang edged Kanney by just two seconds to take the win.

“I was just hoping to finish up front and I was happy to follow Nate, he’s had some good rides here the last few years,” said Strang. “If I could have followed him over the line I would have been happy, so to get in front of him there at the end and get the win was fantastic.”

Kanney, who was the 2010 Snowshoe winner, was hoping to capitalize on a late mistake by Strang, but the opportunity never presented itself.

“On the last lap, I knew Strang was there and I knew he was going to be strong and I didn’t really want to be leading at that point – it’s not necessarily good to be leading here on the last lap,” said Kanney. “So I thought if Strang passed me I was going to let him have it let him take all the risk. After he went around me we put the hammer down and we got through everything clean. He got really close to getting stuck in one place but he didn’t, and after that I never had a chance to catch him.”

With the win, Strang extended his lead in the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series to 11 points over Mullins, who ended the day in third.

“It was pretty challenging out there and I made a mistake on the next-to-last lap and lost a lot of time,” said Mullins. “I was able to charge back and catch Baylor, but by then Nate and Josh were gone. I’m pretty disappointed but I think this is the best I’ve ever ridden here, so I feel good about that.”

Fourth in the XC1 division went to Mead, a New Zealand native who just recently moved to the States to give the GNCC series a try. Meanwhile, fifth went to fellow Kiwi Paul Whibley, who threw his chain several times over the course of the race.

FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell ran with the lead pack early, but eventually finished sixth ahead of factory Husaberg rider Nick Fahringer.

Cory Buttrick put his FMF/KTM into eighth, ahead DuVall and KTM rider Kenny Gilbert.

Each year the Snowshoe GNCC awards a generous overall purse, which this year was courtesy of St. Lawrence Radiology Group and Friends of Coal.

After challenging for the overall win, Stu Baylor ended the day third in the overall standings and he won the XC2 division, his fourth class win of the year.

“It was crazy out there,” said Baylor. “I just kept pushing and found myself in the overall on the last lap, and about miles from the end I made a mistake in a mud hole and my glove was covered in mud and I just couldn’t hold on and I just kept dropping back. But I knew I was winning my class and I just held on.”

After nearly winning the overall last year, WP/RidePG KTM rider Jesse Robinson settled for second in the XC2 division this year.

“Just making it through this race with your bike in one piece is a plus,” said Robinson. “There was nothing pretty about my ride, I just held on to the handle bars and took it to the finish.”

Rounding out the podium was Pennsylvania KTM rider Andrew DeLong, who struggled with suspension problems for most of the day.

KTM rider Zack Nolan was fourth, some 45 seconds behind DeLong, while JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports Honda’s Scotty Watkins was fifth, another 12 minutes back.

Zachery Smith was sixth on a KTM, with FAR Husqvarna’s Morgan Moss nailing down the seventh position.

Justin Williamson (KTM), AJ Stewart (Yam) and Peter Weiss (Yam) rounded out the top 10.

In the A.M. race, six-time National Hare Scrambles Champ Jason Raines (Yam) battled with Brandon Higgins for most of the race, but came on strong to take the overall and Sportsman A class wins.

Randall Riggs (Yam) topped David Fallas (KTM) and Adam Cable (Yam) to win the Masters A (50+) class, while Maria Forsberg (KTM) beat out Nina Cobb (Hon) and Dawn Silvia (KTM) to take the Women’s class win.

In the Youth race, Gary Myers (Yam) edged Anthony Stone (KTM) to win the overall and the Super Mini (14-15) division.

Austin Lee (KTM) was third overall and first in the Super Mini (12-13) class.

The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Millfield, Ohio for the Wiseco John Penton GNCC on July 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. Nate Kanney (KTM)

3. Charlie Mullins (KTM)

4. Rory Mead (Hon)

5. Paul Whibley (Yam)

6. Kailub Russell (KTM)

7. Nick Fahringer (Hsb)

8. Cory Buttrick (KTM)

9. Thad DuVall (Yam)

10. Kenny Gilbert (KTM)

 

XC1 Standings:

1. Josh Strang (153/2 wins)

2. Charlie Mullins (142/2 wins)

3. Paul Whibley (119/2 wins)

4. Nate Kanney (97)

5. Cory Buttrick (94)

6. Kailub Russell (84)

7. Chris Bach (72)

8. Mike Lafferty (64)

9. Jimmy Jarrett (53)

10. Garrett Edmisten (46)

 

XC2 Results:

1. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)

2. Jesse Robinson (KTM)

3. Andrew DeLong (KTM)

4. Zack Nolan (KTM)

5. Scotty Watkins (Hon)

6. Zachery Smith (KTM)

7. Morgan Moss (Hsq)

8. Justin Williamson (KTM)

9. AJ Stewart (Yam)

10. Peter Weiss (Yam)

 

XC2 Standings:

1. Steward Baylor Jr. (151/4 wins)

2. Jason Thomas (117/1 win)

3. Andrew DeLong (112)

4. Jesse Robinson (102/1 win)

5. Brad Bakken (90)

6. Scotty Watkins (85)

7. Jordan Ashburn (81)

8. Morgan Moss (71)

9. Shane O/Banion (69)

10. Zachery Smith (63)