Suzuki GNCC Series Returns with Yadkin Valley Stomp in North Carolina - News - Dirt Rider Magazine

The Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series' traditional summer break is complete - and now the fastest off-road racers in the nation resume the chase for the most prestigious title in the woods. Momentum is swinging quickly in both the bike and ATV divisions of GNCC racing, and the all-new Yadkin Valley Stomp this weekend will answer a lot of questions.Most notably, series leader Juha Salminen struggled at the previous GNCC round, the Parts Unlimited Wisp GNCC in Maryland, opening the door for Am Pro Yamaha's Barry Hawk to score a big win. Juha took some time over the summer back in Europe to test new equipment on his KTM, while Hawk says nothing has changed from the program that brought him to his Wisp victory.But they'll have company up front as 2004 Suzuki GNCC Champion make his return after missing the first nine rounds with a broken leg. Smith, a five-time GNCC Champion, is 100 percent healthy and ready to show his old form. His young teammate Glenn Kearney will return to action as well following a broken leg of his own. KTM's Mike Lafferty will carry the momentum from a seventh AMA National Enduro Title into the race, with veterans Shane Watts, Fred Andrews, Steve Hatch, Scott Summers and Randy Hawkins also in the mix. Also, 250 A Champion Charles Mullins will race the pro class in hopes of improving on his sixth overall placing in the series.Things are just as wild in the ATV series. After a torrid battle over the last few months, it appeared Yamaha's Bill Ballance had distanced himself from his rival Chris Borich and was headed to his sixth-straight title. But disaster struck when Ballance crashed at a photo shoot over the summer and broke his leg. Now Borich, who injured his collarbone at the last round at the Wisp, is back in the hunt."I'm 110 percent now," says the Alba Actionsports-backed Borich. "I've been training my butt off, and I'm going in to win these last four rounds. Wherever the points end up is where they end up."The Yadkin Valley Stomp features a new track in the heart of the bustling North Carolina wine country. Indeed the event's name, Stomp, comes from the age-old practice of stomping on grapes to create wine. The track will feature plenty of tight woods trails, perfect for riders in amateur and pro classes.Spectator admission is $12 for the entire weekend, and amateur racer entry fees are $40. ATVs race Saturday and bikes race Sunday. Pro races start at 1 p.m. on both days, with beginner classes racing at 10 a.m. To get the track, take I-77 to Exit 73A in North Carolina to Highway 421 South. Follow Highway 421 for 10 miles to Exit 256: Unifi Industrial Road. Follow the exit road for 1.2 miles, at the end of road, turn right on old Rte. 421. Go 2/10 mile, turn left on Myers Rd. Follow Myers for one mile, and the track is on left.For more information, log on to 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. The Suzuki GNCC Series airs weekly TV shows on the Outdoor Life Network. 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