Borich-GNCC-Off-Road-4-8-13Morganton, N.C. – Four-Time champion Chris Borich proved his merit once again at Saturday’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC, where he swept his third consecutive win of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country season. Although Borich only lead two of the six laps, he surely made them count when besting his teammate Chris Bithell in the final moments of the two-hour race.

Thousands of spectators were in attendance for Round 3 of the 13-race series and there wasn’t a shortage of racing action at the picturesque Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, North Carolina.

Union, SC – Charlie Mullins got win number two on the year at the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina, the Ohio rider making amends for a crash in the final turn at the previous round in North Carolina where he threw away a certain victory.

Mullins was not about to let anything get in the way of a win in South Carolina, and grabbed the $250 Holeshot Award to start the race before leading FMF/KTM teammates Kailub Russell, Russell Bobbitt and Cory Buttrick into the opening lap.

On lap three, Russell took the lead when Mullins stalled his bike in a tight turn. However, Mullins regained the top position after Russell slowed up on pit lane.

With one lap to go, FMF/Makita Suzuki rider Josh Strang made good on a race-long charge that carried him to within 30 seconds of Mullins. However, Strang came up short in his quest to catch Mullins, and Mullins took the checkered flag with 14 seconds to spare.

“This feels pretty good,” said Mullins. “It’s a little bit of redemption after what happened at Steele Creek. Luckily, I had a bit of a cushion on the last lap and I was able to cruise in for the finish.”

Mullins had a scare when he hit a rock and got sideways with less than a mile to go, but he was able to save it and avoid another last lap disaster like Steele Creek.

“I’m just lucky I didn’t go down,” said Mullins. “I couldn’t take another finish like that.”

For Strang, it was a case of too little too late.

“I caught up with Charlie fairly easy there on the last lap and I think I should have won it,” said Strang. “I felt good today but I just let those guys get away too much early on. I just ran out of time and had too much distance to make up at the end.”

Russell finished the day in third, the first podium of his XC1 career, despite feeling the effects of a sinus infection.

“I got out front early with Charlie and we kind of checked out,” said Russell. “But I’ve been sick and couldn’t breathe good and after that I started fading pretty bad.”

Buttrick made a late race pass on Bobbitt to claim fourth, with Bobbitt taking fifth ahead of Am-Pro/FMF/Yamaha’s Paul Whibley.

WMR/Planet Fitness/KTM’s Nate Kanney finished seventh, while Beta’s Chris Bach, JG Off-road Racing/GEICO Powersports Honda’s Jimmy Jarrett and factory Husaberg rider Michael Lafferty rounded out the top 10.

With four rounds in the books, Mullins sits atop the series points standings with 100 points, compared to Strang at 98. Whibley is third with 73.

Steward Baylor Jr. came out on the winning end of a fierce two-way battle with Am-Pro/FMF/Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn to win the XC2 class, the KTM-mounted Baylor getting the nod by 35 seconds at the finish. It might have been closer but Ashburn fell within a half mile of the finish, leaving Baylor to take the checkers uncontested.

Baylor led early on, but Ashburn came on strong in the second half of the race to set up the last-lap showdown.

“Steward passed me on the last lap and I passed him back,” said Ashburn. “He got me again about halfway into the lap and it was neck-and-neck after that. I had a pretty hard crash just before the finish, but it was a great race anyway.”

FAR Husqvarna’s Jason Thomas rounded out the podium despite injuring his toe in the first hour.

“I was riding good at the start but I came into the tight section and there was a lapper in front of me and I made a mistake and hit a tree wide open,” said Thomas. “After that I couldn’t get back up with those guys.”

Fourth went to Pennsylvania KTM rider Andrew DeLong, while JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports Honda’s Scotty Watkins was fifth.

Virginia Hare Scrambles Champ Brad Bakken was sixth on a KTM, followed by FAR Husqvarna’s Morgan Moss and Yamaha rider Cody Cragg.

R2W/Pro-Action KTM’s Shane O’banion was ninth and also took home the $ Holeshot Award.

Meanwhile, Zachery Smith rounded out the top 10 on a KTM.

Baylor regained the XC2 points lead with the victory, however Thomas has been on the podium at every race and his consistency leaves him just four points back in the standings.

Top Amateur in the afternoon was Christopher Meadows, finishing 23rd overall on a KTM.

In the A.M. race, six-time National Hare Scrambles Champ Jason Raines capitalized on a great start to take the overall win, beating out fellow Yamaha rider Tyler MacDonald and KTM-mounted McKinnon Welborn.

Dennis Decker rode a Suzuki to first place in the Super Senior A (45+) class with Eric Gill finishing second on a KTM and Hunter Houck finishing third on a Yamaha.

In the Women’s division, KTM’s Maria Forsberg took the win over Mandi Mastin (Hsq) and Hanna Otto (KTM).

In the Youth race, Anthony Stone held the early lead but fellow KTM rider Austin Lee made a pass on the final lap to claim the overall victory. Lee also took the win the Super Mini (12-13), while Stone topped the Super Mini (14-15) class.

Jonathan Johnson took the 85 (14-15) win on his KTM, beating out Kawasaki riders Christopher Williams and Nick Lujan.

In the 65 (10-11) class, KTM riders filled the podium with Zachary Ponder getting first ahead of Chase Hayes and J.C. Bates.

The 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee for the Parts Unlimited Loretta Lynn’s GNCC on April 30 and May 1. ATV racing will take place on Saturday, followed by bike racing on Sunday. For more information, please visit


XC1 Results:

1. Charlie Mullins (KTM)

2. Josh Strang (Suz)

3. Kailub Russell (KTM)

4. Cory Buttrick (KTM)

5. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)

6. Paul Whibley (Yam)

7. Nate Kanney (KTM)

8. Chris Bach (Bet)

9. Jimmy Jarrett (Hon)

10. Mike Lafferty (Hsb)


XC1 Standings:

1. Charlie Mullins (100/2 win)

2. Josh Strang (98/1 win)

3. Paul Whibley (73)

4. Cory Buttrick (72)

5. Nate Kanney (58)

6. Kailub Russell (53)

7. Chris Bach (48)

8. Garrett Edmisten (46)

9. Mike Lafferty (46)

10. Jimmy Jarrett (43)


XC2 Results:

1. Steward Baylor Jr. (KTM)

2. Jordan Ashburn (Yam)

3. Jason Thomas (Hsq)

4. Andrew DeLong (KTM)

5. Scotty Watkins (Hon)

6. Brad Bakken (KTM)

7. Morgan Moss (Hsq)

8. Cody Cragg (Yam)

9. Shane Obanion (KTM)

10. Zachery Smith (KTM)


XC2 Standings:

1. Steward Baylor Jr. (101/2 wins)

2. Jason Thomas (97/1 win)

3. Andrew DeLong (76)

4. Brad Bakken (69)

5. Jordan Ashburn (61)

6. Jesse Robinson (58/1 win)

7. Scotty Watkins (55)

8. Shane Obanion (52)

9. Morgan Moss (49)

10. Zachery Smith (42) $250 XC1 holeshot – Charlie Mullins $100 XC2 holeshot – Shane Obanion

Morgantown, W. Va. (April 5, 2011) – FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang climbed atop the XC1 championship points standings after capturing the win over FMF KTM’s Charlie Mullins in the last turn of a race that Mullins dominated for nearly three hours at Steele Creek.

Round four of the 2011 Can-Am GNCC tour heads to Union, South Carolina this weekend, April 9-10 for the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC where Strang captured his fourth consecutive win in 2010. This year’s season is off to a different start, though, as there are currently three different race winners in the first three rounds. Only three points separate the defending champion from Charlie Mullins.

And then there’s Am Pro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley, who struggled in the opening round finishing back in ninth, only to bounce back at round two with the win. Whibley currently sits twelve points behind Mullins in the championship standings with ten rounds left in the series.

FMF KTM’s Cory Buttrick has been progressively finishing better each week, chalking up his season-best third place at Steele Creek. Buttrick is right on pace with the veteran front-runners, only four points behind Paul Whibley in the fourth place position. Another consistent KTM rider is Nate Kanney, who rounds out the top five in points heading into the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC this weekend.

The XC2 division is also heating up as the competition proves to be very deep after only three rounds of racing. Just like the Premier class, the Lites class now has three different winners in the first three rounds.

FAR Husky rider Jason Thomas has been turning heads in the XC2 class, he gapped the field by nearly six minutes at Steele Creek. Thomas now holds a five-point lead over Steward Baylor Jr. Baylor had bike issues forcing him to stop in and change a rear wheel but the round two winner still salvaged a fifth place finish.

Jesse Robinson, who also holds a win this year, had bike problems at Steele Creek, finishing fourteenth on the day but fourth in the series overall. Robinson, who is tied with Andrew DeLong at 58 points sits 18 out of first place.

Spectator tickets run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., beginner riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m.

To get to the track, take I-26 to Exit 44, then to Highway 49 North 7 Miles and look for the signs.

For more information, check out the official series website at or call 304-284-0084.

Morganton, NC – Adam McGill and Chris Bithell gave Can-Am the top two steps of the podium with an exciting one-two finish at the FMF Steele Creek General GNCC – round three of the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Series in Morganton, North Carolina.

The Foremost Insurance/Warnert Racing/Can-Am teammates battled race-long with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chris Borich and Ballance Racing Yamaha’s Taylor Kiser, with McGill, Bithell and Borich trading the lead over the course of the two-hour race.

McGill and Bithell took a strong lead on lap two when they elected not to pit and the rest of the field did, however; near the end of the race Borich and Kiser pulled to back within striking distance on the rough and mountainous 11-mile course.

On the final lap it looked as though Borich might get one of his patented come-from-behind wins when he passed Bithell for the lead up one of Steele Creek’s steep hills. However, near the end of the lap Borich’s bike sputtered and slowed, allowing McGill and Bithell to go around. At the finish, McGill took the checkers and the win four seconds ahead of Bithell.

“It’s been two years since I’ve been up here on the top step and it feels pretty good,” said McGill. “On the final lap my mechanic put out a sign that said “Break It” and I did.”

Bithell has gained momentum with every race this year, and looked capable of taking the win, despite losing his brakes on the final lap.

“I lost my rear brakes at the beginning of that last lap and Adam caught me,” said Bithell. “I thought he might have a better chance to catch Borich so I let him by. Then, the next thing I know I could hear Borich’s bike snappin’ and poppin’. After that we just put the hammer down.”

After grabbing the $250 Holeshot Award to start the race, Yokley Racing’s Jarrod McClure ran a strong pace which paid off in a third place finish, a personal best for the Pennsylvanian.

“I couldn’t have started the race any better and my bike ran strong, and it just all paid off,” said McClure.

Kiser ended the day in fourth, while Borich managed to salvage a fifth place finish – which meant he held onto his points lead.

“On the last lap I managed to get the lead and I was riding smooth,” said Borich. “I had the lead until about a mile to go and the bike just started cutting out. All in all, it was a pretty good day except for the end. I was able to get a few points with a fifth and I still have the points lead, so we’ll just have to get ’em at the next one.”

Honda rider Brian Wolf got his best finish of the year, beating out FRE KTM’s Bryan Cook for sixth. Meanwhile, JET Suspension Honda’s Donnie Ockerman finished eighth ahead of Yamaha riders Johnny Gallagher and Jeffrey Pickens.

With three races in the books, Borich holds the series points lead with 76 points, followed by Bithell with 71, McGill with 69, and Kiser with 61.

Walker Fowler continues to dominate the XC2 division, claiming his third win of the year with an impressive ride at Steele Creek. The Ballance Racing Yamaha rider got off to a poor start at the beginning of the race, but still finished with a minute to spare over second place.

“I didn’t think the bike was going to start and I kind of hesitated and the next thing I knew everyone was gone,” said Fowler. “It was a little harder to get going than I thought, but the fans were great here and that kept me going.”

Greg’s ATV & Cycle Yamaha rider Gabe Phillips made a few critical passes at the end of the race to steal the runner-up spot from Honda rider Eric Hoyland.

“I was so mad about my race in Georgia that it just lit a fire under me,” said Phillips.

Hoyland finished out the podium in third, his second podium finish of the year.

“I jumped early in Georgia and got penalized for it, so I cranked a little slow to be on the safe side and still got a great start,” said Hoyland. “I could see Gabe coming on the last lap and I just couldn’t hold him back.”

Matt Hanna was fourth on his Greg’s ATV & Cycle Yamaha, beating out KTM rider Aarol Bright and Honda rider Parker Jones. Meanwhile, Greg’s ATV & Cycle

Yamaha rider Patrick McGuire was seventh ahead of Honda riders Dustin Canipe and Nathan Wallpe, while Richie Brown was 10th on a KTM.

Bright won the $100 Holeshot Award to start the Xc2 race.

In the A.M. race, Dave Simmons won the $100 GT Thunder Amateur Overall Award, beating out Traci Cecco and Michael Swift with a last lap charge.

“Things started out kind of rough and I had a problem at the start,” said Simmons. “I just kept pushing there at the end, though. I just left it pinned and it worked out.”

Cecco held the overall on adjusted time heading into the final lap, but hit a tree on a downhill section, giving up valuable time to Simmons.

In the 4×4 Open class, Michael Swift beat out fellow Can-Am riders Rick Cecco and Bryan Buckhannon for the win.

Meanwhile, Can-Am rider Clifton Beasley topped Jordan Phillips (CAN) and Danny Jessee (CAN) to win the U2 division.

Hunter Hart took the overall win over Josh Simmons and Cody Collier with a come-from-behind performance in the morning Youth race. The victory was Hart’s third straight of the year as the New York rider also topped the 90 Open (8-11) class.

“This was a little too close for comfort,” said Hart. “My last lap is always my fastest and I just came from the back to get it done.”

Simmons’ runner-up finish was a personal best. “This is my first podium and I’m excited,” said Simmons. “My hands are frozen solid, though.”

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

XC1 Results:

1. Adam McGill (CAN)

2. Chris Bithell (CAN)

3. Jarrod McClure (Hon)

4. Taylor Kiser (Yam)

5. Chris Borich (Suz)

6. Brian Wolf (Hon)

7. Bryan Cook (KTM)

8. Donnie Ockerman (Hon)

9. Johnny Gallagher (Yam)

10. Jeffrey Pickens (Yam)
XC1 Standings:

1. Chris Borich (76 points/2 wins)

2. Chris Bithell (71)

3. Adam McGill (69/1 win)

4. Taylor Kiser (61)

5. Jarrod McClure (52)

6. Bryan Cook (43)

7. Johnny Gallagher (40)

8. Donnie Ockerman (39)

9. Kevin Yoho (34)

10. Brian Wolf (33)

XC2 Results:

1. Walker Fowler (Yam)

2. Gabe Phillips (Yam)

3. Eric Hoyland (Hon)

4. Matt Hanna (Yam)

5. Aarol Bright (KTM)

6. Parker Jones (Hon)

7. Patrick McGuire (Yam)

8. Dustin Canipe (Hon)

9. Nathan Wallpe (Hon)

10. Richie Brown (KTM)

XC2 Standings:

1. Walker Fowler (90 points/3 wins)

2. Eric Hoyland (55)

3. Aarol Bright (55)

4. Gabe Phillips (55)

5. Dustin Canipe (45)

6. Patrick McGuire (41)

7. Matt Hanna (38)

8. Richie Brown (38)

9. Mathan Wallpe (37)

10. Parker Jones (35) $250 XC1 holeshot – Jarrod McClure $100 XC2 holeshot – Aarol Bright
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

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 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

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) $250 XC1 holeshot – Josh Strang $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