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Published on March 13th, 2012 | by Joe


Defending Champ Borich Takes Opening Round of GNCC in Florida

Patrick McGuire leads the Pro Am division in point standings
Photos By: Ken Hill

Jarrod McClure grabbed the holeshot and the early lead until a mechanical failure sent him out

Lake Wales, Fla. (March 12, 2012) – Tradition is a key component in the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, America’s premiere off-road ATV and motorcycle racing series. This weekend’s ATV season opener, the Moose Racing Westgate River Ranch GNCC in River Ranch, Fla., picked up almost exactly where it left off in 2011, as a handful of veterans diced away for the podium position, but this year’s season opener added in a few new factors for 2012.

In true fashion, Maxxis/Yoshimura-backed Chris Borich (SUZ) put a final-lap pass on the remaining front-runners-Chris Bithell and Adam McGil-to take home the first win of the season in the rough, whooped-out Florida sand. Borich, three-time and defending ATV champion, settled into the third position immediately into the two-hour battle, but after tagging a tree with his front bumper, Borich was forced to pull into the pits for some additional tweaking.

“I hit the berm a little bit wrong and ended up tagging a tree,” Borich said. “I bent my front bumper and I had to stop in to readjust the clutch perch, which cost me about 40 seconds and I was a little worried about losing the clutch before the race was over. Luckily everything held together and I was able to pull it off at the end there.”

Chris Bithell looked comfortable on his DS450, taking third place

It was Bowers Motorcycle/Coastal/National Guard/Yokley Racing’s Jarrod McClure (HON) that grabbed the $250 Holeshot Award, and he led the beginning part of the race until a mechanical failure kept the Ohio rider out for the remainder of the day. McClure took the GNCC Most Improved Rider honors in 2011 and looks to be a part of this season’s intense XC1 podium-battles.

West Virginia’s Adam McGill kicked this season off in a different manner than the rest of his competition, which all returned on familiar machines for the first round of racing. Formerly a part of the Factory Can-Am efforts, McGill (HON) is now supported by the Precision/Moto X Perts/ITP/Lonestar/RG Motorsports team and much to the surprise of many, looked comfortable and ready on his brand new Honda machine.

“I pretty much led all day but I lost my brakes on the second to last lap and that helped push me into second at that point,” said McGill. “The new bike really impressed me; I’m just looking forward to getting it out to the Georgia clay and letting her eat!”

The top three series points leaders after round one: Chris Bithell (left) , Chris Borich (center), Adam McGill (right)

Motoworks/Can-Am’s Chris Bithell put in a solid ride for the third place spot and even led Borich and the pack on the fourth lap for some time. Bithell wasn’t able to put together a race-win in 2011, so the Pennsylvania native is pulling out all the stops to make something happen early on this season.

And then there was the rookie. Defending XC2 Pro Am champion, Walker Fowler, came into the opening round with a little weight on his shoulders and the Ballance Racing Yamaha rider delivered all he could, just missing the podium in his pro class debut. Fowler ran into some steering issues when he hit a tree and was forced to pull into the pits to adjust the settings before getting back into the mix but got back going to finish a respectable fourth place in his first-ever XC1 GNCC effort.

XC2 Pro Am Podium: Braden Henthorn (left), Patrick McGuire (center), Eric Hoyland (right)

GBC/Cernics/HMF/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher put in a solid fifth-place ride behind Yamaha’s Fowler, giving the veteran a good points foundation heading into round two in Georgia next weekend. Yamaha-mounted Jeff Pickens was running inside the top five as well, before experiencing mechanical issues that kept him from finishing the race.

With Fowler on the front line this season, the XC2 Pro Am class opened up as anyone’s win in the Florida sand. Pennsylvania’s Patrick McGuire shot out for the $100 Holeshot Award and didn’t look back as he went on to take the first win of the season in the Pro Am division. Second position’s Braden Henthorn debuted in the Pro Am class at the end of last season, but this year will mark his first full season in the class and title chase.

Team UXC Can-Am’s Clifton Beasley topped the U2 class but it was Can-Am teammate ATV Parts Plus/Can-Am X-Team’s Bryan Buckhannon who took the AM overall, in addition to winning the 4X4 Open class over Adam Hunt and Michael Swift.

Bryan Buckhannon took the AM Overall, with Cliff Beasley (left) and Dave Simmons (right)

Eight-time and defending Women’s champ, Traci Cecco (YAM), had an intense battle with Greg’s ATV & Cycle’s Angel Atwell (HON) for the class win as well as top overall position. The 2009 champ, Atwell, edged out Cecco for the Women’s class win and the two finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

Defending Youth champion, Hunter Hart (COB), began the 2012 season just as he left it, taking the 90 Open (12-15) class and Youth Overall over heavy hitters Cody Collier (APX) and Zachary Jones (APX).

Round two of the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series heads to Washington, Ga., March 17 and 18 for The Maxxis General GNCC. For more information, go to

XC1 Results:

1. Chris Borich (SUZ)

2. Adam McGill (HON)

3. Chris Bithell (CAN)

4. Walker Fowler (YAM)

5. Johnny Gallagher (YAM)

6. Derek Swartfager (HON)

7. Mark Notman (YAM)

8. Jeff Pickens (YAM)

9. Kevin Yoho (YAM)

10. Craig Bowman (HON)

XC2 Pro Am Results:

1. Patrick McGuire (YAM)

2. Braden Henthorn (HON)

3. Eric Hoyland (HON)

4. Nathan Thomas (HON)

5. Matt Hanna (YAM)

6. Michael Lancaster (HON)

7. Scottie Rich (SUZ)

8. Cody Ellison (HON)

9. Dallas Goins (HON)

10. Josh Merritt (YAM)

XC1 Standings:

1. Chris Borich (30)

2. Adam McGill (25)

3. Chris Bithell (21)

4. Walker Fowler (18)

5. Johnny Gallagher (16)

6. Derek Swartfager (15)

7. Mark Notman (14)

8. Jeff Pickens (13)

9. Kevin Yoho (12)

10. Craig Bowman (11)

XC2 Pro Am Standings:

1. Patrick McGuire (30)

2. Braden Henthorn (25)

3. Eric Hoyland (21)

4. Nathan Thomas (18)

5. Matt Hanna (16)

6. Michael Lancaster (15)

7. Scottie Rich (14)

8. Cody Ellison (13)

9. Dallas Goins (12)

10. Josh Merritt (11)

$250 Holeshot Award: Jarrod McClure (HON)

$100 Pro Am Holeshot Award: Patrick McGuire (YAM)

About GNCC Racing:

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1975, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,500 riders through tracks ranging in length from ten to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed and draw talent from all over the U.S., Europe, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised and airs every week on NBC Sports Network. For more information, please visit

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