Dirt Bike News - Race Report: Salminen's Most Dominating Performance Yet - Steele Creek GNCC Results - Dirt Rider Magazine

Another lesson learned for the pro contenders in the Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series: don't make KTM's Juha Salminen angry. The ten-time World Enduro Champion may carry a nice, easy-going demeanor off the track, but he is a ferocious competitor on it. After taking a tough loss last weekend in South Carolina, Juha came roaring back with fire in his eyes, taking one of the most dominant GNCC wins ever at the Steele Creek GNCC in North Carolina."It is good to do it this way, not to prove something to the others, but to myself," said Juha (pronounced you-ha) on the podium. "I wanted to show how fast I could go. I trained with my starts all week, and when you get that start, it makes you get out there and go fast."The start is rarely the deciding factor in a three-hour GNCC race, but it can be when you're as fast as Juha. Coming into the race, the KTM team decided that as long as no one could see Salminen, they wouldn't be able to learn from him or apply any pressure. So they worked on starts, and the #111 rider from Finland grabbed a huge holeshot. Then he put his sprinting skills to work, getting off to a huge lead on the first lap. And that lead grew all day. He won by nearly three minutes when it was all over.Behind him a tremendous battle broke out for the runner-up spot between Am Pro Yamaha teammates Jason Raines and Barry Hawk, who won last week's race. But FMF Suzuki's super-rookie Glenn Kearney wouldn't let the Yamaha boys go. Once the trio hooked up, they exchanged crashes, mistakes, and positions all day long."It was definitely the battle no one wanted to win," joked Hawk, who took second. "Every time someone would get into second, they would crash. I know I can run with Juha, but you can't give him a lead like that."Jason Raines actually crossed the finish line second, but the final results were protested by Glenn Kearney after he saw Raines cut the course. "It was just over half way when I saw Jason take his cheat line," Kearney recounted, "Just after that Barry passed me. I fought back however and passed the Yamaha boys to get back into second, but not without yelling some profanity at Jason as I went by!"Officials conceded and penalized Raines, bumping him from second to fifth place, moving Hawk and Kearney onto the podium and Robbie Jenks into fourth. "Raines would have beaten me without cheating, but the fact is that he did and both me and his team mate Barry Hawk witnessed that," commented Kearney.After training out West with defending GNCC Champion Rodney Smith, Kearney has moved East with his mechanic Shane Nalley to learn the tight wooded trails of the GNCC Series. His results are reflecting his efforts, and climbing quickly.Raines ultimately ended up fifth, but he was happy to have shown the speed to get on the podium again. "This was a real confidence-builder today," said Raines. "Before the race I was wondering if I could run the pace and get up there again. The battle was awesome, from the second lap on me and Barry and Glenn went back and forth."KTM's Robbie Jenks was credited with fourth. Kawasaki Team Green's Chuck Woodford was sixth, while FMF Suzuki's RM-Z450 pilot Fred Andrews was seventh. FMF/Throttlehead.com Kawasaki's Steve Hatch was eighth, with top amateur Charlie Mullins ninth and KTM's Andy Shea tenth.A rider missing from the top ten was KTM's Shane Watts who had an extremely trying day. "Right from the start of the race I had a major problem with my vision. It was constantly blurred and no matter what I tried I just couldn't focus and get a clear view of the track," said Watts, "The vision thing has been happening for a while. I just thought that I was getting tired and having trouble concentrating. There have been suggestions that my vision problems may be related with my blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia, because during everyday activities my eyesight is excellent."Watts position in the points standings took a hit after his 22nd place finish at Steele Creek. Juha Salminen maintains a strong lead with 136 points. Glenn Kearney trails in second with Am-Pro Yamaha's Barry Hawk hot on his heels in third place.The Steele Creek 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 next weekend with the coveted Suzuki Loretta Lynn's GNCC in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.Bike Overall Results, Steele Creek GNCC - Morganton, NC1. Juha Salminen, Finland (KTM)
2. Barry Hawk, Jr. Smithfield, PA (Yam)
3. Glenn Kearney, Australia (Suz)
4. Robbie Jenks, New Straitsville, OH (KTM)
5. Jason Raines, Belfair, WA (Yam)
6. Chuck Woodford, St Clairsville, OH (Kaw)
7. Fred Andrews, Salem, OH (Suz)
8. Steve Hatch, Scottsdale, AZ (Kaw)
9. Charles Mullins, Hamilton, OH (Yam)
10. Andy Shea, Oxford, OH (KTM)
11. Jimmy Jarrett, Beloit, OH (Suz)
12. Aaron Wegner, Traverse City, MI (Yam)
13. Brian Garrahan, Boulder Creek, CA (Suz)
14. Christopher Robertson, Athens, OH (Kaw)
15. Stephen Edmondson, North Augusta, SC (KTM)
16. Justin Williamson, Sanford, FL (Yam)
17. P A Allen, Charlotte, TN (Kaw)
18. Chris Gallt, Eagle, MI (Kaw)
19. Ryan Rodgers, Dover, PA (Yam)
20. Brett Zofchak, Washington, PA (Kaw)Suzuki GNCC Series Overall Point Standings
1. Juha Salminen 136/3 wins
2. Glenn Kearney 93
3. Barry Hawk, Jr. 89/1 win
4. Robbie Jenks 77
5. Michael Lafferty 62
6. Chuck Woodford 61
7. Shane Watts 57
8. Steve Hatch 54
9. Brian Garrahan 51
10. Charlie Mullins 50

After Salminen worked on starts all week, it showed!
Shane Watts lack of focus (literally) kept him out of the top ten.
Robbie Jenks turns mud into art.
Glenn Kearney shows how deep the ruts became in the soft ground of Steele Creek.