Millfield, OH – It just keeps rolling for East Coast ATV’s Chris Borich. The Sunbury, PA native took his fourth-straight Can-Am Grand National Cross Country win at the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Ohio, making this the most serious threat ever for defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance. Borich’s win was convincing, as Ballance led early but ran into clutch problems that ultimately dropped him back to third place on his factory Yamaha, with local crowd favorite Chris Jenks notching his first podium of the year with second place on his Houser/GT Thunder Honda.Ballance, who is going for a record-breaking eighth-straight GNCC ATV title looked strong when he started the season with two victories, but his luck has turned sour since. He grabbed the ITP Holeshot this time and led the first lap, while Borich started off mid pack. But soon he was on a charge. “I didn’t expect the start to be that muddy, but they watered it. I didn’t put any tear offs on my goggles, so I had some problems trying to see on the first lap,” said Borich. “Then we pitted for new goggles, and I felt real good and put on a charge. I caught up to Chris (Jenks), got around him and battled for a bit, got to Bill and got around him, and that’s how I won.”After Ballance checked out on the first lap while Borich pitted, it looked like the veteran from Kentucky would roll to a dominant win. But it wasn’t to be. “It went pretty bad,” said Ballance. “I was out there cruising on the first lap. By the second lap I could tell the motor wasn’t pulling right, and after awhile I knew the clutches were slipping. That’s the first clutch I’ve ever, ever had go bad on my Yamaha. So it was just one of those freak things. By the last couple laps it was just barely pulling, and I knew those guys back there were catching me. I thought about pulling in and changing it, but I thought by the time I did that I’d be back to maybe seventh or eighth place, and as close as this championship is going to be this year, anything worse than a top five and you’re pretty much out of the picture. I was hoping if it would keep pulling we would get on the podium today, and it did, so we made it up here. But it’s time to start winning races.”Borich’s win gives him a 14-point edge over Ballance in the series with six of 13 rounds complete. Jenks became the first rider besides them to finish in the top two this year, as he rode smart all day and picked off Ballance late in the race. After a frustrating season, Jenks, who won this race in 2006, was relieved to finally get back on top. “I just want to apologize to everybody for not getting it done,” said Jenks. “Things started to go our way in the last few races. It didn’t work out, but I knew I could do it today. If you get a decent start, to me that’s the name of the game. You don’t have to push so hard and ride over your head. I’m still just trying to figure out this ’07 Honda, trying to get it to fire. When I come from the back, I’m taking chances trying to catch them, and then I have some crashes. Hopefully those days are over.” XC1 Pro class rookie Taylor Kiser put in another consistent finish with fourth, while Adam McGill put in his best charge of the season by coming from behind for fifth. Veteran Matt Smiley was sixth.Brandon Sommers took seventh and won his sixth straight race in the XC2 Pro Am class, giving him a perfect season so far on his GT Thunder Yamaha. “We got a pretty good start today, and in the woods I passed for the lead,” said Sommers. “Ryan (Lane) got back around me, and he was riding pretty good. Second lap we hit a bottle neck and I went pretty far back. I had to put my head down and make my way to the front. It makes the race go a lot faster, and you don’t notice all the pain you’re in.”Ryan Lane got his first ATVRiders.com Holeshot of the season in XC2, and the normally bad starter enjoyed getting up front early. “I about wore this thing out Tuesday night practicing starts,” said Lane. “I was getting tired of coming from the back. It was the same result today, but it was a lot more fun starting up front. I felt good for the first few laps. I probably wasn’t setting a fast enough pace without him pushing me though. Then I got caught on a vine, and (Don) Ockerman and (David) Crane got around me and led. We got back by them, then Sommers passed me when we got gas. I saw that two lap board come out, and I just about fell off the bike. We were tangling with lappers and passing back and forth a few times, but by then I didn’t have much left.”Third in the class went to Kyle Martin. “I had a good start, got pushed out, was probably 18th going into the woods,” said Martin. “So I put in a good lap and started picking guys off. I was up to about fourth. I caught up to Ryan, and on the last lap, a lapper got in between me and him and I got around. I thought I could take another second place finish, but there was a hill, and a lapper came between me and the line I wanted, and pushed me into a tree.”Eighth overall went to LTERacing.com’s Chris Bithell, with Duane Johnson ninth on a GT Thunder/HMF Honda. Yamaha’s Brandon Ballance rounded out the top ten. Monster Energy/National Guard/Kawasaki rider William Yokley suffered mechanical troubles and failed to score points.For Borich, the race winner, championship smarts appear to be paying off. “I usually get all rammy in the pits when we’re changing goggles like that and losing some time, but I try to stay calm once I’m back on the track. Last couple years, I would get all wild and clip a bunch of things, but this year I’ve slowed it down a bit, and it worked out better. I’m not going to give it away this year.”In the morning race, Yamaha’s Traci Cecco took it to the field again, winning the women’s class and the morning race overall, continuing her perfect season. Angel Atwell and Polaris’ Stephanie Parton were second and third.Once again, Four-Stroke Tech’s Mike Benson made a run for the overall riding in the Utility Unlimited class on his KFX700, but he twisted his ankle on the second lap. Benson figures he has broken the ankle, but he dug deep through the pain and still finished out front in his class and on the overall podium. Can-Am/Warnert Racing’s Rick Cecco won the Open 4×4 class on his Outlander 800, with his teammate Cliffton Beasley winning the 4×4 Lites clsss on an Outlander 500. Kevin Trantham took the 4×4 Limited win on a Kawasaki.The 2007 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues in four weeks with the Spartan GNCC in Sparta, KY on June 9 and 10.About GNCC Racing:
The AMA/ATVA-sanctioned Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. GNCC Racing airs weekly television shows on Versus (formerly Outdoor Life Network) every Saturday at 3 p.m. and Thursday at 4 p.m. beginning on April 14. With varied terrain including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include BRP Can-Am, Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Acerbis, Elka, Geico, Klotz, FMF, ITP and Weekend Warrior, and riders compete for over $3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Alpinestars, Cometic, EK Chain, HiPer Technology, Laegers, Moose Utility Division, The National Guard, Powersport Grafx, Race Tools, REM, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air, and MotoTee’s. Media Sponsors include Racer X Illustrated, ATV Rider, ATV Sport, ATVRiders.com, Quadzone.com, Dirt Rider and ATV Insider. For more information log on to www.gnccracing.com.