The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis kicks off this weekend, March 8 and 9, in sunny Florida with the inaugural running of the Moose Racing Mud Mucker GNCC. Taking place at Mud Muckers Off-Road Riding Park in the town of Bunnell, Round 1 of this year’s 13-round AMA-sanctioned GNCC Series will take place just 30 minutes outside of Daytona’s Bike Week festivities.
While a brand new season presents a clean slate as far as championship points are concerned, Pennsylvania’s Chris Borich undoubtedly holds the upper hand as he enters Saturday’s season opener with the National #1 plate. This is nothing out of the ordinary for the five-time GNCC champ, who is also looking to score his sixty-eighth career victory this weekend. If Borich can pull it off, he would surpass Bill Ballance for the most all-time ATV wins in GNCC history.
However, Borich is joined by a deep field of competition in the XC1 Pro Class this season, including the 2013 overall runner-up Walker Fowler. With three overall wins under his belt—the second highest of any rider in 2013—AmPro Yamaha’s Fowler continues to chip away at Borich’s leading role. As a veteran of the sport, Borich has acquired a last-lap strategy that’s simply hard to beat, but the young gun has always accepted the challenge and looks to be the biggest threat to the reigning champ again this season.
West Virginia native Adam McGill claimed one victory last season and third place overall for the year, but the rank doesn’t necessarily reflect his stand-out performances last season. McGill was a consistent front-runner in 2013 but mechanical troubles kept him away from the podium at a few rounds. This season McGill will be aboard a Honda machine and backed by an all-new RacingPowersports.com/CST Tires/PirateMX.com squad.
Another rider contending for the championship this season is Precision/Maxxis Tires/Suzuki’s Chris Bithell, who finished fourth overall behind McGill last season. Bithell had a standout year in 2013 with seven podium finishes total, including a big win at Round 11, giving the Pennsylvania native much confidence heading into this weekend’s season opener.
It wasn’t certain whether Kevin Yoho would be ready for last year’s season opener after withstanding a big crash during the off-season. However, Yoho managed to pull off a seventh place finish at Round 1. From there, the Ohio native finished consistently inside the top ten, grabbing four top-five finishes to ultimately capture fifth overall for the season. The BNR Motorsports/Loctite rider heads into 2014 with the highest-ranking number of his career and is expected to make a strong run for the podium this season.
Other notable contenders this season include DeRisi Racing/Team Woodhead’s Braden Henthorn, Yamaha/GBC/HMF’s Johnny Gallagher, Waynesburg Yamaha/GT Thunder/GBC’s Jeff Pickens, Dave Bayless Motorsports/Dirtworks/DC Cycles-backed Brycen Neal and DWT Racing’s Jarrod McClure. Additionally, Waynesburg Yamaha’s Jay Shadron will make his full-season debut in the XC1 Class following a stellar season in 2013.
Highlighting the 10 a.m. racing action this season is the addition of the 4×4 Pro Class, which combines the top 4×4 ATV racers in the sport to showcase a premier level of competition. Leading the way in the 4×4 division is BNR Motorsports/Can-Am’s Robert Smith with the #202, joined by Can-Am X-Team’s Kevin Trantham, ATV Parts Plus/Can-Am’s Bryan Buckhannon and UXC Racing/Factory Polaris-backed Michael Swift. Can-Am’s newest addition, Zac Zakowski, will also line up to compete for the 4×4 Pro title this season.
Bayless Motorsports/DC Cycles rider Kylie Ahart returns to the WXC Class to defend her 2013 title, with tough competition such as Ohio’s Kara Merritt, Pennsylvania’s Quincy Cunningham and several new additions to the premier division this season.
Youth ATV racing will take place Saturday at 8 a.m., followed by amateurs, 4×4 Pro and Women at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and pros at 1 p.m. Following Saturday’s afternoon race, 50cc Micro racing will take place at 4:30 p.m.
Adult (12+) gate admission is $20 for the full weekend and $10 for kids (6-11). Kids five and under are free. All admission includes pro pit access. Local racers are invited to compete at this event, as GNCC Racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.
Tune into RacerTV.com on Saturday at 1 p.m. Eastern to catch LIVE coverage of the Pro ATV race at Round 1. For more information on GNCC Live coverage, visit www.racertv.com.
The 2014 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series kicks off March 8 and 9 in Bunnell, Fla., for the inaugural Mud Mucker GNCC. For more information on the series, visit www.gnccracing.com.