News from GNCC
Morgantown, W.Va. (February 24, 2010) - The 13-round 2010 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series, America’s largest off-road racing series, will kick off in just a few days in Lake Wales, Florida with the Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC. The field of championship contenders is deep, and they’re all ready for the challenge of a sandy opening bike round, which takes place on Tuesday, March 2nd.
Defending GNCC Champion Paul Whibley has switched to the Am-Pro Yamaha team for 2010, setting off speculation on whether the New Zealander can change teams for the fourth time in as many years and still claim the title.
Whibley spent the winter back in New Zealand adjusting to a Yamaha, and logged more testing on his new WR450F after returning to the U.S. last month. He will have to contend with the sandy conditions as well as with a full cast of talented riders ready to unseat him. Last year’s runner up, Josh Strang will return on the FMF Makita Suzuki team after a rigorous off-season training program in California. Last year’s number-three, Mullins, has joined Obermeyer Yamaha with help from Am-Pro, and has been flying in off-season races. JG Off Road/GEICO Powersports Jimmy Jarrett, Shock Doctor KTM’s Nathan Kanney, Am-Pro Yamaha’s Barry Hawk and Thad DuVall, Jesse Robinson and Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney will also be ready to fight for the win.
The Westgate River Ranch is hosting the opening round for the second time and the course is as tough as before, with sandy whoops and palmetto roots scattered throughout the course.
In the XC2 Lites Class, Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell will defend his championship, while his teammate Cory Buttrick, who finished second in the class in 2009, will move up to the XC1 ranks. That leaves Russell to do battle with FAR Racing/Yamaha’s Jason Thomas and JG Off Road/ GEICO Powersports Scotty Watkins.
Thrown into the mix are some of the top riders of the Japan National Cross Country Series. Takeshi Koikeda, Masahiro Kobayashi and Kousuke Mori are all seasoned off-road racers and will be making their way to Florida for the March 2nd bike race, continuing the tradition of JNCC riders competing in the GNCC opener in exchange for GNCC riders competing in the JNCC finale in November.
And you never know who else might show up in Florida, as the fast, rough terrain often draws well-known motocross talent and fast off-road riders from the Western U.S. The Florida race has hosted wild upsets before, such as Doug Henry’s incredible win over Juha Salminen in 2005, and Travis Pastrana dropping by to lead a lap in 2008.
The Parts Unlimited River Ranch GNCC runs from February 27- March 2 as part of Daytona Bike Week, which includes competitions throughout Florida in a variety of motorcycle and ATV disciplines. At the GNCC, ATVs race on Sunday, February 28, and bikes race on Tuesday, March 2.
Spectator passes run $15 for Saturday and Sunday tickets, and $15 for a Monday and Tuesday ticket. Children five and under are admitted free. On both Sunday and Tuesday, 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.
On Monday, Parts Unlimited will be on site for the first meal of their 2010 Dinner Tour. The Parts Unlimited Dinner will start at 5 p.m.
The Westgate River Ranch offers a variety of activities beyond the race, including horse back riding, fishing and hiking. Information is available at www.wgriverranch.com.
The track is located at the Westgate River Ranch in Lake Wales, Fl. From U.S. 27, go south to S.R. 60 (Lake Wales Exit), make a left and head east for approximately 25 miles. River Ranch is on the right.
For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.
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. Weekly Television coverage begins each Sunday on Versus starting April 25. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.