Dirt Bike News - Steele Creek GNCC three peat winner Rodney Smith - Dirt Rider Magazine

For the third-straight season, the Steele Creek GNCC had the same winner: Team FMF Suzuki's Rodney Smith. This one was his most dramatic win yet, as the four-time GNCC Champ chased down Am-Pro Yamaha's Jason Raines to secure the lead with just a few miles to go. It was a thrilling finish to a big weekend of racing, with over 1200 riders competing in the event."I just turned forty, so this is my first GNCC win at forty years old," announced Smith to the cheers of the veteran race watchers. "I think it's these North Carolina fans that keep me going. I love it here. They really kept us motivated, cheering us through every section."Raines and Smith's teammate Mike Kiedrowski collected second and third place, respectively. Raines, the winner of the previous GNCC in Georgia, seemed to have victory in hand on the final lap, but he succumbed to the Suzuki duo's strong charge."I don't know how they caught me so fast," said Raines. "I was pulling away and pulling away, and then all of a sudden they were right there. I didn't have enough time to react.""I just kept pushing," said Smith. "I think it worked out with the lappers. Most of them were getting out of my way. So then we just put some pressure on and he made a mistake. That's racing."Raines, who had battled through an intense nine-rider pack to get into the lead, retaliated, but he came up a few seconds short to Smith's impressive charge. The North Carolina fans were treated to a side-by-side Smith and Raines duel on the grass-track heading to the finish, and Smith held his ground. Kiedrowski crossed third, with five-time GNCC Champ Scott Summers logging another solid performance with fourth. Shane Watts rode strong on his KTM. He was a contender early until his rear-brake went away with two laps left, dropping him back to seventh.The wildest story of the day involved GNCC Champion Barry Hawk, who slipped off a wooden bridge and ended up tumbling into a river with his Yamaha. His bike drowned out, and Hawk was out for the day. "I came across the bridge, and just as I turned there was a post," said Hawk. "Another half inch and it would have missed, but it caught the bar and pulled the front end to the left. And then the throttle went on, so I turned the other way to try to compensate, and I let off the throttle, and the bike hooked up and shot me into the river. Me and the bike were both underwater."