Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC Marks Hawks Second Win - News - Dirt Rider Magazine

For a moment, it was business as usual: KTM's Juha Salminen was out front and charging at the first-ever Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC in North Carolina. But suddenly, his luck turned. Juha ran out of gas and Barry Hawk went sailing past him to win his second-straight Suzuki Grand National Cross Country race."I had a lot of bad luck at the beginning of the season, so it feels good to be getting back up here," said the popular Hawk. "After the start I was on Rodney (Smith), and I was dogging him a little bit, and I was hoping Juha would have been right there, but Rodney let me by and Juha was already gone! So he had like a minute lead, and I would take some off of it and then he would get it back. And then all of a sudden I came by and he was sitting on the side of the trail. I thought `This is good for me!'"Salminen, the Suzuki GNCC Series leader, ran out of gas a quarter-mile from the pits. Fellow KTM rider, Shane Watts was good enough to stop and provide Juha with enough gas to make it back to the semi. When he finally got there, he found that his mechanics were not in the paddock and he had to do the gasoline filling alone. He had to make another stop before the last lap for more gas, and rejoined the race in 15th, but he worked his way up to seventh before the end."That's racing," Salminen said matter-of-factly after the race, "These kinds of things can happen."Just as big a surprise as Salminen's troubles was the amazing ride turned in by Am Pro Yamaha's rookie pro sensation Charlie Mullins. In his first pro race since graduating with the GNCC 250 A Championship, Mullins scored second, an incredible ride by the young Ohio rider."It didn't expect it to be this good, I don't know what to say," said Mullins. "I was expecting to be in the front pack, but some of those guys got away. It was a tough race, and I was able to get around Rodney and Lafferty, and then they told me I was in second. I'm just trying to get experience for next year and go for a championship."KTM's Mike Lafferty, fresh off clinching his seventh AMA National Enduro Title, took third. "We're riding the 2006 450XC to get ready for next year, and I felt pretty good," said Lafferty. "I was kind of patient today. Charlie rode really well today; I rode right up to him and he wicked it up. I had a few chances to stay with him today and key off of him, but my hat's off to him. He rode well."Defending GNCC Champion Rodney Smith made his return to the series after missing the first five rounds with a broken leg. He got a good start and ran close to Juha for a few miles before tightening up. "I was a little mellow," said Smith about his first race in 11 months. "I could have been more aggressive. I got a little tight, too, for maybe half a lap. I waved Barry (Hawk) bye. I didn't quite get into a flow with some of the tight trails."After Smith let Hawk past, he had to duel with Lafferty and Mullins, but he tagged a lapper after the gas stop and dropped behind them. All in all it was a solid return for the five-time champion.Also making a comeback was Smith's young Australian teammate, Glenn Kearney, who returned from a broken leg of his own to finish fifth. "It was pretty good," said Kearney. "I had a few blisters and got kind of tired, so fifth is good."At the start, Hawk got the jump on things along with Yamaha privateer Nate Kanney, but Salminen and Smith snuck into the top two spots as the pack headed to the woods. Juha began pulling away on the tight track while Hawk tried to work on Smith. The gap Salminen worked on building for over an hour proved to be in vain when he ran out of gas at the halfway point.Despite the set back, Salminen maintains a large points lead with three rounds to go. The next GNCC event promises to be a good one, with the first-ever Unadilla GNCC in New Berlin, New York. Both the amateur and pro motocross tracks will be run as part of the course, as well as miles of fresh trail. Unadilla has never hosted an off-road race before, so it promises to be an historic event.The Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC was taped for an airing on the Outdoor Life Network. The series returns to TV on October 18, and the races air Tuesdays at 5 p.m., Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m. EST.Bike Overall Results - Yadkin Valley Stomp GNCC
Top Twenty Overall
1. Barry Hawk Smithfield, PA YAM 03:03:45
2. Charles Mullins Hamilton, OH YAM 03:04:57
3. Michael Lafferty Estell Manor, NJ KTM 03:05:52
4. Rodney Smith Antioch, CA SUZ 03:08:32
5. Glenn Kearney Australia SUZ 03:09:56
6. Justin Williamson Sanford, FL YAM 03:11:39
7. Juha Salminen Finland KTM 03:12:27
8. Jesse Robinson Connellys Spg, NC KAW 03:14:39
9. Ryan Rodgers Dover, PA YAM 03:14:43
10. Brian Garrahan Boulder Creek, CA SUZ 03:14:59
11. Scott Summers Petersburg, KY HON 03:15:00
12. Scott Watkins Leetonia, OH KAW 03:15:24
13. Stephen Edmondson Callaway, VA KTM 03:15:38
14. Travis Green Vinton, OH KAW 03:17:25
15. Shane Watts Australia KTM 03:17:35
16. Garrett Edmisten Vero Beach, FL KAW 03:17:43
17. Aaron Wegner Traverse City, MI YAM 03:17:52
18. P A Allen Charlotte, TN Pro 014 KAW 6 03:18:29
19. Scott McClure Thomson, GA SUZ 03:18:42
20. Matthew Fish Australia KTM 03:18:54Suzuki GNCC Series Overall Point Standings
(After 10 of 13 rounds)
1. Juha Salminen 254/6 wins
2. Barry Hawk, Jr. 208/3 wins
3. Glenn Kearney 153
4. Charles Mullins 129
5. Robbie Jenks 122
6. Steve Hatch 106
7. Jason Raines 102
8. Mike Lafferty 101
9. Brian Garrahan 80
10. Shane Watts 72

The 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 $1.5 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.

It paid off to have narrow bars for this race.
Doug Blackwell in one of the more interesting parts of the course.
Steve Hatch enters the aqueous tunnel