Watts wins GNCC

KTM's Shane Watts just completed the comeback many thought he never would. At the Power Line Park GNCC in St. Clairsville, Ohio, Watts took his first AMA Grand National Cross Country Series win in almost two years, battling past new series champion Barry Hawk in the final mile.

"I'm so stoked!" said Watts. "Two years ago I was jerking around and wasn't putting any effort into my racing. Then I got hurt, and it was so hard to come back. I never lost faith in myself, but there were times when it was pretty hard. But I want to thank KTM and MSR for sticking with me, and all the fans for being behind me. And all the people that doubted me and thought I would never come back, well, they can all kiss my ass!"

The fans roared with approval over Wattsy's return to the GNCC podium, and he rewarded them with a burnout that lasted several minutes and left shards of rubber everywhere.

Hawk led most of the race and ended up second by just seconds, but he was still not happy. "He rode good," said Hawk. "He's definitely faster on the grass track, not by much, but just enough. I think there were some sections in the woods where I felt faster than him, though. Hopefully at the next race in Indiana, I'll be in first and he'll be in second."

Hawk's teammate Jason Raines was third, just holding off the advances of five-time GNCC Champion Scott Summers, who is also making a comeback. Summers debuted his CRF450R, parking his old XR650R, and put in his best finish yet.

KTM's Mike Lafferty was fifth. He grabbed the holeshot, but was quickly challenged by Hawk. Watts, Raines, Rodney Smith and Steve Hatch were all forced to start backwards on the GNCC start grid after jumping the start. But they all charged to the front immediately. Raines and Smith would later lose ground getting stuck on a steep hill climb, while Hatch would move all the way into the lead.

Kawasaki Team Green's Chuck Woodford, who is currently unable to race with a broken wrist, designed the Power Line Park course. Woodford lives near the track and assisted Jeff Russell and the GNCC track crew in building and maintaining the 10-mile course.

Top 10 Overall Power Line Park GNCC - St. Clairsville, Ohio

AMA GNCC Standings After 12 of 13 rounds: