Dirt Bike News - Race Results: Juha Salminen Worst-to-First at Loretta Lynn's GNCC - Dirt Rider Magazine

At last week's Steele Creek GNCC, Juha Salminen holeshot the start and ran away with the lead, unchallenged, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of second place. "I wanted to show how fast I could go," he said casually on the podium. Well, if Steele Creek wasn't enough of a demonstration, Salminen put on an even more impressive display at Loretta Lynn's, starting dead last after a first turn crash and still winning by a landslide. Suzuki's Glenn Kearny finished second, landing on the podium for the third time in a row, followed by Throttlehead Kawasaki rider Steve Hatch who took his first podium of the season.Many thought Salminen's crash off the start would level the playing field and at least give the dominant KTM rider a challenge. But Juha put forth a remarkable effort that astounded fans and fellow riders alike. By the end of the very first lap 13-mile lap, he had charged all the way from last to first to take the lead—one of the most phenomenal feats ever seen at a GNCC."I don't know how I did it; maybe I was just pissed because of the crash," said Juha. "I was just finding good lines. I feel like I'm getting faster and more comfortable, and now I can win with a good or bad start. I had to push so hard to catch up on the first lap. I got a little tired. I am not a robot." Thanks for clearing up the rumor, Juha.Salminen has answered every test thrown his way and has now sent the GNCC elite scrambling for ways to up their game. FMF Suzuki's young Australian threat Glenn Kearney is one who is stepping up, as he put in another phenomenal ride to net second. "It's all coming together quickly for me," said Kearney, who has improved greatly in the tight trails and soft dirt of the Eastern U.S. GNCC tracks. "I was so happy with my race this afternoon since it was the first race where I felt completely comfortable and smooth. I got a great start and was leading the race after about a mile onto the track and even through some of the rougher terrain, I felt awesome.""I want this so bad," Kearny continued, "That's the biggest thing I've got: determination. I'm not going to give up, I never have and I never will. These races are hard, it's three hours, and that's a long time for things to go wrong. You need to keep charging and pushing."Third went to the ever-charging GNCC veteran Steve Hatch, his first podium of the season for the FMF/Throttlehead.com/Kawasaki Team Green squad. "I'm fired up," said Hatch. "I had a picture-perfect start and it helps so much. These guys are smooth and fast and don't make mistakes. We're all doing our homework and raising our level. The first lap we were fighting it out, and it was a free-for-all—guys were endoing and crashing everywhere. I knew it was one of those deals where if you picked the wrong line you were going over the bars. I tried to be smart."Besides Juha's last-to-first sprint, the story of the day revolved around Am Pro Yamaha's amateur racer Charlie Mullins, who threatened to make the overall podium. Mullins ended up forth overall, just 34 seconds off of the podium. "I got the holeshot in my class and starting picking off pros," said the young Ohio rider. "I hooked up with Watts, and he got away from me, but I heard I was in fifth overall, and I just tried to stay steady. Today was the first time I felt people cheering me on and it felt pretty good." Mullins actually topped his pro teammate, Barry Hawk, who ran up front early but had a few big crashes knock him back to fifth.Shane Watts rode well for a spell, running in fourth place. But as luck would have it, he ran out of gas a mile and a half short of the pits. After having to ride down the main road back to the pit area, fuel up, then ride back to where he had exited the track, Watts lost a total of eight minutes. He was able to finish out the final two laps and managed to salvage a fifth place finish (sixth OA)."It was such a bummer to run out of fuel just when I was ready to charge again," said Watts, "That took a lot of wind out of my sails. I felt as though I really had the edge over the two guys in front of me in the race to the finish. Considering the fuel and food poisoning problems I was real happy with my performance. I rode strong and attacked the difficult conditions with much more confidence then I have for a long time.Kawasaki Team Green's Pro rookie PA Allen took seventh, Justin Williamson rode a great race for eighth, ninth went to Stephen Edmondson, and Fun Mart KTM's Nathan Kanney took tenth overall.Kawasaki Team Green's Chuck Woodford was running up front early, but he suffered a hard crash which led to sternum injuries and knocked him out of the race. Am Pro Yamaha's Jason Raines also dropped out of the race when he lost his rear brakes. Both riders compete in the AMA National Hare Scramble Series, and since the Loretta Lynn's event counts for points there as well, it was a big blow for both riders.The Suzuki Loretta Lynn's GNCC was taped for an airing on the Outdoor Life Network, and GNCC races air Tuesdays at 5 p.m., Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. EST.The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series continues in two weeks with the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio.Bike Overall Results Top Twenty****Suzuki Loretta Lynn's GNCC - Hurricane Mills, TN
1 Juha Salminen, Finland (KTM) 03:14:28
2 Glenn Kearney, Australia (Suz) 03:17:21
3 Steve Hatch, Scottsdale, AZ (Kaw) 03:18:58
4 Charles Mullins, Hamilton, OH (Yam) 03:19:32
5 Barry Hawk, Jr., Smithfield, PA (Yam) 03:22:46
6 Shane Watts, Australia (KTM) 03:25:52
7 P A Allen, Charlotte, TN (Kaw) 03:25:55
8 Justin Williamson, Sanford, FL (Yam) 03:26:30
9 Stephen Edmondson, North Augusta, SC (KTM) 03:26:32
10 Nathan Kanney, High Falls, NY (Yam) 03:28:15
11 Scott Watkins, Leetonia, OH (Kaw) 03:30:11
12 Travis Green, Vinton, OH (Kaw) 03:30:27
13 Dustin Gibson, Cmbrlnd Frnce, TN (KTM) 03:31:00
14 Garrett Edmisten, Vero Beach, FL (Kaw) 03:31:47
15 D R Atwood, Millfield, OH (KTM) 03:33:18
16 Chris Gallt, Eagle, MI (Kaw) 03:34:38
17 Kyle Chaney,, Pataskala, OH (Yam) 03:35:18
18 Brett Zofchak Washington, PA (Kaw) 03:37:01
19 Aaron Wegner, Traverse Sity, MI (Yam) 03:37:13
20 Robbie Jenks, New Straitsville, OH (KTM) 03:37:22Suzuki GNCC Series Overall Point Standings (After 6 of 13 rounds)
Juha Salminen 166/4 wins
Glenn Kearney 118
Barry Hawk, Jr. 105/1 win
Robbie Jenks 76
Steve Hatch 75
Shane Watts 72
Charlie Mullins 78
Michael Lafferty 62
Chuck Woodford 61
Brian Garrahan 51The AMA-sanctioned Suzuki 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 1500 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Parts Unlimited, Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, Klotz, FMF and ITP, and riders compete for over $1.3 million in series prizes and contingency money. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Alpinestars, hlins, Cometic, Outerwears, Race Tools, Twin Air, SFB Racing, Thor, Motion Pro, MotoTee's, Warrior and Laeger's. Media Sponsors include Dirt Rider Magazine, ATV Sport Magazine and Racer X Illustrated. For more information log on to GNCCRacing.com.

Hatch credits his best performance this season to a good start and riding smart.
Salminen goes down right off the start (click to enlarge picture).
Salminen's last-to-first charge was one of the most amazing rides ever seen at a GNCC.