Walker Fowler Returns to the Center of the Box at the FMF Steele Creek GNCC

Walker Fowler Returns to the Center of the Box at the FMF Steele Creek GNCC

TimeSaturday, April 8, 2017 | 11:30 PM
by:
TimeSaturday, April 8, 2017 | 11:30 PM

The 2017 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, continued today, April 8, with the 18th Annual FMF Steele Creek GNCC located at the popular Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, North Carolina. Rain from earlier in the week left the track a bit muddy to begin the day, but it did not take long for the conditions to turn around and create a near perfect race track by the time the 1 p.m. pro race headed to the start line.

At the end of the two-hour race it was WFR/Yamaha/Maxxis/Fly Racing’s Walker Fowler who emerged victorious setting himself up for a four-race winning streak. As the green flag waved, it was six-time GNCC champion, Chris Borich who jumped out to the early lead claiming the $250 Wiseco XC1 ATV Holeshot Award, but  CST/Induction Solutions/LSR/HiPer/Spider Graphix’s Adam McGill lead the way into the woods.

Chris Borich edged out Marty Christofferson to earn the $250 Wiseco XC1 Pro Holeshot Award.
Chris Borich edged out Marty Christofferson to earn the $250 Wiseco XC1 Pro Holeshot Award. Ken Hill

With a shortened first lap, McGill continued to hold onto the lead as they checked through timing and scoring for the first time. McGill was feeling pressure from Fowler as they were wheel-to-wheel for first lap. Coastal Racing’s Brycen Neal was also in the mix and he began the fight for third against Borich.

Borich’s shocks began to fade, providing issues as he tackled the rough and rutted trails. Neal capitalized on Borich’s misfortune and took over the third-place position by the end of the second lap. The top-five front runners began to gap the rest of the pack leaving Dillinger's Celtic Pub/GBC Motorsports/Moose Racing’s Marty Christofferson a clear track while he ran in sixth.

Walker Fowler took home his fourth overall win of the year, along with stretching out his points lead.
Walker Fowler took home his fourth overall win of the year, along with stretching out his points lead. Ken Hill

McGill and Fowler continued to put on a show where they were practically rubbing plastics as they raced under the infamous concrete bridge. McGill was able to fend off Fowler through the second lap, until Fowler worked his way into the lead right before the pits.

As the race reached its halfway point, different pit strategies came into pay where Fowler elected to forgo his pit, while McGill pitted. Shortly after the pits, Neal was able to work his way into the lead, but it wouldn’t last long as Fowler made his way back to the front after the Rocky Mountain section of the race course.

Adam McGill's ride today proved it won't be long until he makes his way to the center of the podium. 
Adam McGill's ride today proved it won't be long until he makes his way to the center of the podium.  Ken Hill

Lapped traffic guarded the main trail to the finish line just as Fowler, Neal and McGill came by. The podium contenders successfully navigated their way through and continued to push forward.

The racing action really heated up during the third lap where the top three racers were suddenly all in contention for the lead. With reports of McGill’s quad making sputtering sounds, the crowd anticipated an extra pit stop but was shocked when he decided to keep pushing. McGill didn’t let the possible mechanical issue bother him and worked his way back into second by the time the white flag came out.

Fowler continued to ride his own race throughout the last lap, with McGill holding onto second. Neal would also carry his momentum through the entirety of the race, rounding out the overall podium. Borich finished just off the podium in fourth, despite his front shock issues.

Overall Podium: (3) Brycen Neal, (1) Walker Fowler, (2) Adam McGill.
Overall Podium: (3) Brycen Neal, (1) Walker Fowler, (2) Adam McGill. Ken Hill

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came with the fifth-place rider. After starting outside the top ten, GBC/Fly Racing/HMF/Yamaha’s Johnny Gallagher worked his way through the pack to earn a respectable fifth place in XC1 Pro and sixth overall.

GBC/Canyon Motorsports/Fly Racing’s Landon Wolfe followed Gallagher in seventh overall, while Christofferson had his season best finish in eighth overall.

In the XC2 Pro-Am division, it was GBC/Goldspeed/Custom Axis’ Matthew Lindle who shot out to secure the $100 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award and the early lead. As the checkered flag waved it would be M.R. Unlimited/Hygear Suspension/GBC Tires/Tire Spine’s Devon Feehan to see it first and return to the center of the box. Feehan also scored a top-five overall finish, and was followed by Lindle who held onto second and Ithaca Recreation/Maxxis/Quad Tech/Storm Peak Crossfit’s Hunter Hart in third.

XC2 Pro-Am Podium: (2) Matthew Lindle, (1) Devon Feehan, (3) Hunter Hart.
XC2 Pro-Am Podium: (2) Matthew Lindle, (1) Devon Feehan, (3) Hunter Hart. Ken Hill

Coastal Racing’s Drew Landers not only won the College A (16-21) division, but also finished 12th overall where he was named the top amateur of the day.

After adjusted time, Schoolboy Sr. (14-17) competitor Ronnie Rusch came out with overall amateur honors taking home to overall and class win in the 10 a.m. race.  

Ronnie Rusch topped the charts in the 10 a.m. race, taking home the overall and Schoolboy Sr. class win.
Ronnie Rusch topped the charts in the 10 a.m. race, taking home the overall and Schoolboy Sr. class win. Ken Hill

The 4x4 Pro podium consisted of Cunningham Racing/Can-Am/Maxxis’ Kevin Cunningham who made it four-in-a-row. DeRisi Racing’s Robbie Pecorari placed second, and Team UXC Racing’s Kevin Trantham claimed third in class.

In the WXC division it was Yamaha/GYTR/Maxxis-backed Traci Pickens who claimed gold with Custom Axis/Spider Graphix’s Angel Knox in second and Dillinger's Celtic Pub’s Katelyn Osburn in third.

WXC Podium: (2) Angel Knox, (1) Traci Pickens, (3) Katelyn Osburn.
WXC Podium: (2) Angel Knox, (1) Traci Pickens, (3) Katelyn Osburn. Ken Hill

The 8 a.m. youth race took to the North Carolina woods to begin the day. At the end of the muddy hour-long race it was Casey Simmons who took the overall win. Layne McCormick and Devin Corrothers rounded out the overall podium.

The 1 p.m. race was broadcast LIVE in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video now online by visiting the GNCC LIVE page online.

The 43rd Annual AMSOIL GNCC Series resumes in two weeks, April 22 and 23, with the CST Tires Camp Coker Bullet GNCC in Society Hill, South Carolina. A highlight show featuring the Steele Creek event will air on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, June 4 at 3:00 p.m.

For more information on the series, visit the official website at www.gnccracing.com or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series Facebook page, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

FMF Steele Creek GNCC
Morganton, North Carolina
Round 4 of 13
Saturday, April 8

XC1 Pro Event Results:

  1. Walker Fowler (YAM)
  2. Adam McGill (HON)
  3. Brycen Neal (YAM)
  4. Chris Borich (SUZ)
  5. Johnny Gallagher (YAM)
  6. Landon Wolfe (HON)
  7. Marty Christofferson (HON)
  8. Westley Wolfe (SUZ)
  9. Josh Merritt (YAM)
  10. Randy Hamilton (HON)

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Walker Fowler (120)
  2. Brycen Neal (85)
  3. Adam McGill (78)
  4. Chris Borich (73)
  5. Jarrod McClure (68)
  6. Landon Wolfe (58)
  7. Devon Feehan (55)
  8. Hunter Hart (43)
  9. Marty Christofferson (40)
  10. Johnny Gallagher (36)

*Indicates that the Overall National Championship Standings will determine the 2017 National Champion.

XC2 Pro-Am Event Results:

  1. Devon Feehan (HON)
  2. Matthew Lindle (HON)
  3. Hunter Hart (YAM)
  4. Austin Abney (HON)
  5. Greg Covert (YAM)
  6. Brandon Icard (HON)
  7. Cameron Bruce (YAM)
  8. Kenny Shick (YAM)
  9. Braden Henthorn (HON)
  10. Wyatt Wilkin (HON) 

XC2 Pro-Am Series Standings:

  1. Devon Feehan (115)
  2. Hunter Hart (93)
  3. Matthew Lindle (86)
  4. Greg Covert (78)
  5. Austin Abney (59)
  6. Brandon Icard (54)
  7. Levi Coen (48)
  8. Cameron Bruce (44)
  9. Sam Hough (44)
  10. Kenny Shick (42)