GNCC Racing

Rnd 5 - Acerbis Loretta Lynn's ATVs: Ballance is Back

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | 12:00 AM

Ballance Back on Top at Acerbis Loretta Lynn's GNCC

(Left to Right) Cook, Ballance and Borich on the podium. Looks like 2005!

Hurricane Mills, Tenn (April 26, 2008) ï¿Â½“ The infamous Killer B’s of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series just pulled themselves back into the 2008 GNCC Championship fight. After an incredibly intense battle at the venerable Acerbis Loretta Lynn’s GNCC, defending GNCC Champion Bill Ballance came through the final corners battling Chris Borich for the win, with the loyal GNCC ATV fans cheering them from the sidelines.

Ballance just held off Borich at the finish.

Ballance emerged with the victory on his Yamaha, Borich took second on his Rockstar/Yoshimura Suzuki and Team Excell Motorsports Bryan Cook grabbed third. Just as critical, runaway GNCC points leader Adam McGill failed to finish when he ran into electrical problems while battling Ballance for the lead on the last lap. McGill’s heartbreak helps Ballance and Borich jump back into the points fray.

“This was more of a relief than anything,” said Ballance, who started the year in a big points deficit when mechanical troubles forced him out of round two of the tour in early March. “It was intense, it was exciting, and it was good to experience that again. We thought a win was coming at any of the last few races, but we’ve just had some bad luck, and you’ll have that with cross-country off-road racing. It was good to finally be up front again and size everyone up.”Â

“The last few races were muddy races, and anything can happen in those,” said Borich, who missed the podium at the last three GNCC rounds. “Everything is good with the Suzuki. I’ve read on the internet that people are wondering what is wrong, but nothing is wrong. The pace slows down in a muddy race and anyone can win. I think on a dry track me and Bill can still do this.”Â

Chris Borich needed to rebound as much as Ballance did, and he did it just about as well.

They weren’t the only ones in the hunt at Loretta’s, though, as the top seven riders entered the last lap separated by eight seconds. Ballance and McGill engaged in the showdown fans had been waiting for, passing and repassing over and over. “The last lap, it was really cool,” said McGill. “Nothing against Bill, but I haven’t seen the same fire in him this year. But on that last lap, it was like he flipped on the light switch! He was just pinning it! We were flying on the last lap! There was a section of ravines, and we were just hitting them pinned. We were probably going 60-70 MPH through there just flying on that road. It was awesome!”Â

Adam McGill was in the hunt for his fourth-straight win until electrical troubles ended his day.

McGill’s teammate Kiser followed closely in third. Borich was a little further back after getting stuck on a steep, rutted climb earlier in the race

McGill had his trouble early also, rolling his machine in the third turn. He made it to sixth by the end of lap one and into the lead on lap two. Ballance stayed with him all day, and the battle went to a new level on the last lap. The entire lead pack set up a sizzling dash for the victory, but it ended for McGill when his machine suddenly turned off while running a close second. “I had two lines picked out on the last uphill,” said McGill. “I knew I could get around him, because I had already done it twice. Going down the downhill, I set myself up to get into that line, and it just shut off. That’s all I knew. I was really bummed out, so bummed, all of the hard work to get up there, all of the chances I was taking to get in that position. Just gone. I couldn’t even limp it across the finish. I was cutting and crossing every wire I could find to try to limp it across.”Â

Seconds later, McGill’s teammate Kiser suffered the same fate when his engine cut out, too. Borich and Cook happily took the podium spots, and Borich kept going right up to Ballance’s rear wheels.

“I was down by maybe a minute at that point, but I just put my head down and started charging,” said Borich. “I had a good drive going there and I got up to Bill. I had a line picked out at the end, but there was a patch of mud and I hit it. It slowed me down and he held on.”Â

Bryan Cook is putting together one heck of a season.
Now he has three podiums and sits second in points.

“I didn’t even know what had happened,” said Ballance. “I heard someone was close to me at the finish line, I thought it was Adam but it turned out to be Chris.”Â

Cook took third ahead of National Guard’s William Yokley and’s Jarrod McClure. Sixth went to GT Thunder Yamaha’s Brandon Sommers, who snagged the ITP Holeshot Award.

At Loretta's, the XC2 riders got guitars as trophies!

In the XC2 Pro-Am division, Joshua Kirkland collected the Rekluse Holeshot Award, but GT Thunder Yamaha's Don Ockerman was able to get the early lead. Ockerman battled with Kyle Martin and Spencer Dickerson and held on to grab his fourth win of the season.

In the morning race, run under very muddy conditions, Tom Clark Motorsports' Angel Atwell took the win and the Morning Race Overall Win Award. Lexie Coulter and Jennifer Albright took second and third overall, also racing in the Women's class. Defending Women's Class Champion Traci Cecco struggled with front suspension issues, leaving the Women's class championship battle as tight as ever.

Sam Williams topped the U2 class on a Kawasaki. Can-Am riders won the rest of the utility classes. Michael Swift won the 4x4 Limited class, Bryan Buckhannon continued his undefeated run in the Open 4x4 class, and Cliffton Beasley also remained undefeated in 4x4 Lites.


The Loretta Lynn’s course, as usual, featured high-speed trails through the woods, with some sandy ground, and some hard pack dirt and shale rock. Rain on Friday night made the course muddy on Saturday morning, but conditions were about perfect by the afternoon.

The simultaneous electrical troubles of both McGill and Kiser’s KTMs led many to believe they had run out of gas. After all, what are the odds of two machines having the exact same mechanical problem at the exact same time? Pretty good, apparently. “I still don’t know what happened,” said McGill on Tuesday after the race. “They were both brand-new bikes. Maybe something happened when they were getting set up. But I have complete confidence in my mechanic and my team. I know we’ll get it fixed and it won’t happen again.”Â

Kiser managed to get his machine restarted and limped to the finish line in eighth. McGill tried hard to get his machine going again, to no avail. “I saw a spectator and said “Hey do you have a pocketknife?” ’ said McGill. “He whipped out a full-on machete! So I just started cutting all the plastic, trying to get to all the wiring. I was cutting big holes, getting under the battery and everything. I just couldn’t get it going. I feel bad now because it was a brand-new machine and I tore it up.”Â

Still facing a deficit in the points, Ballance is ready for the challenge. “It was good to race with Adam,” said Ballance. “I’ve really only seen him once this year, at North Carolina, and I had some problems there. I think it’s going to be good. I see it like instead of just me and Chris (Borich) battling, that we will have a third guy in there.”Â

Joshua Merritt topped the Youth ATV race on Saturday morning. Ryan Early took second overall and won the 90 Modified class ahead of Derric Robinson.

Extra money came in for three riders, Brandon Sommers who won the ITP Holeshot Award, Josh Kirkland who won the Rekluse XC2 Holeshot Award, and Angel Atwell, who won the Morning Race Overall Award.

Atwell grabbed an extra $100 in gas money.

The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series continues with the Wiseco John Penton GNCC in Millfield, Ohio on May 10 and 11.

Acerbis Loretta Lynn's GNCC
Hurricane Mills, TN

1. Bill Ballance Smith's Grove, KY (Yam)
2. Chris Borich Sunbury, PA (Suz)
3. Bryan Cook Casar, NC (Hon)
4. William Yokley Tompkinsville, KY (Hon)
5. Jarrod McClure Kaska, PA (Hon)
6. Brandon Sommers Millersburg, OH (Yam)
7. Ryan Lane Bicknell, IN (Hon)
8. Donald Ockerman Marshall, IL (Yam)
9. Kyle Martin Winona, MO (Hon)
10. Spencer Dickerson Malvern, AR (Hon)

1. ADAM MCGILL 109/3 wins
3. BILL BALLANCE 92/1 win
4. CHRIS BORICH 88/1 win