GNCC Racing

VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC: WXC Race Report

VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC: WXC Race Report

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 1:15 PM
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | 1:15 PM


Rachel Gutish
(304) 284-0084
[email protected]

VP Racing Fuels Big Buck GNCC: WXC Race Report
Hannah Hunter And Becca Sheets Win Opening Round

Union, SC. (February 26, 2020) – The opening round of the 2020 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, took place last weekend on February 22nd and 23rd. Big Buck has been on the series schedule since 1997, and is a classic GNCC course. It is an open and fast course, but don’t mistake that for being an easy one – it gets plenty rough! The soil is an interesting mix of silt and clay. It is not nearly as sandy as Camp Coker, the other South Carolina GNCC round, but it isn’t the full-on red Georgia clay seen at the General either.

Grabbing the WXC holeshot Saturday in the 11 a.m. race was Angel Magee.
Grabbing the WXC holeshot Saturday in the 11 a.m. race was Angel Magee. Ken Hill

Despite rain early in the week, conditions at Big Buck were the best I’ve seen in years. While there was a bit of standing water in the low spots, the dirt was tacky almost everywhere else. The corners bermed up perfectly and hitting the banked corners at speed was almost like being on a roller coaster. The women’s turnout at Big Buck was incredible – there were 95 total, the most we’ve seen since starting the women’s race reports. Of those, Hannah Hunter and Becca Sheets were the winners in the premier WXC classes.

In the ATV WXC race, Angel Magee pulled the holeshot, with Traci Pickens and Hannah Hunter close behind. Actually, pretty much everyone was close behind – there was less than thirty seconds separating the top seven riders at the end of lap one. Pickens took an alternate line up a hill climb in an attempt to pass Magee, but was instead passed by Hunter, who also passed Magee soon after. At the next two-line section, Pickens and Kassidy Williams were able to pass Magee as well.

On the second lap Hunter and Pickens set a blisteringly fast pace, gapping Williams, who had moved into third, by well over a minute. Sadiee Gorrell, Morgan Solesbee, Angel Magee, and Katelyn Osburn all remained close to Williams, with the five of them battling it out for the final podium position. The rest of the field was down by a substantial margin.

Things really started to get interesting during the gas stop. Hunter and Pickens came into the pits neck and neck. The pit crews fueled both riders as quickly as they could. Pickens’ crew was able to get her our just a bit faster than Hunter. Even after the pit stop the second pack still remained close together heading into the last lap, although they had collectively fallen even further behind the leaders.

Traci Pickens (GBC/Fly/Yamaha) battled to the finish, coming through second in WXC. 
Traci Pickens (GBC/Fly/Yamaha) battled to the finish, coming through second in WXC.  Ken Hill

On the final lap Gorrell was able to pass and break away from Magee and Solesbee, catching back up to Osburn. Osburn and Gorrell then caught back up to Williams. Unfortunately, near the end of the last lap, Osburn and Williams got tangled up and crashed, taking them both out of the race. This cleared the way for Gorrell to take third place, while Magee was fourth and Solesbee was fifth. Sydney Sams took a respectable sixth place finish in her WXC debut, Rileigh Gerges took seventh in what was also her first WXC event, while class veteran Jaida Philips placed eighth. Williams and Osburn still finished ninth and tenth respectively, although they were both a lap down due to their crash.

Gorrell was happy she had managed to work her way up to a podium spot after a race where she had been as far back as seventh: “I was actually in seventh going into the last lap, but I put my head down and pushed as hard as I could. I got around Morgan [Solesbee] and Angel [Magee], then Katelyn [Osburn] and I caught up to Kassidy [Williams]. The two of them got tangled up and I got around them, finishing third for the day. I'm definitely happy with my third place finish!"

Meanwhile, the battle for the win was still going strong between Pickens and Hunter, who had been within seconds of each other the entire race. Although Pickens held the advantage going into the final lap, a poor line choice gave Hunter just enough of an edge to squeeze by and take the lead. Hunter took the win, edging out Pickens by less than one second after a full two hours of racing. When asked about her race, Hunter said “On the last lap I was able to pass for the lead. I knew it wasn't over and tried to ride smart until I crossed the finish line. I'm super pumped on the bike this year and thanks to all my sponsors."

Pickens seemed to enjoy the race saying, “The track conditions were prime which made for awesome racing. I can't express how proud I am of Hannah... I still remember years ago when she was a shy girl who came to my house for a riding lesson, and it's amazing to me how far she has matured in her racing skills over the past few years. I'm happy I had a front row seat to her first win of 2020!"

Hannah Hunter (Malaska Motorsports/HMF/Cecco Racing) captured the first WXC ATV win of 2020, and her second WXC win ever. 
Hannah Hunter (Malaska Motorsports/HMF/Cecco Racing) captured the first WXC ATV win of 2020, and her second WXC win ever.  Ken Hill

Anna Nicely, from Roachdale, Indiana was the winner in the Girls class. She had an impressive five-minute lead over the runner-up Skyler Smith. Rounding out the podium was Mikina Maynard. Andrea Rodgers, last year’s Girls Class champion made the move up to the adult race this season and took home the win in Women’s Amateur.

In the Micro ATV race, Khyler Davis was the top finishing girl, taking the overall win! She was followed by Raelynn Dickerson (22nd), Ashynn Ostrich (26th) and Aryanna Neville (30th).

In the WXC bike race, 2019 champion Tayla Jones grabbed the $100 Trail Jesters WXC holeshot award. Jones was closely followed into the woods by Rachael Archer, Becca Sheets, Rachel Gutish and Mackenzie Tricker. For the first several miles, this group barreled through the woods in a tight pack. Jones was able to stay out front through the entire first lap, though the rest of the riders swapped positions several times. By the end of the lap, only three seconds separated Jones, Sheets and Gutish, with Archer and Tricker roughly ten seconds back from them. After that the riders were spread out quite a bit more, with the next closest rider, Shelby Turner, nearly forty seconds down.

Becca Sheets (BABS Racing Yamaha) was victorious at the season opener in South Carolina.
Becca Sheets (BABS Racing Yamaha) was victorious at the season opener in South Carolina. Ken Hill

Early in lap two, Gutish went down, losing sight of the leaders. About the middle of lap two, Jones also made a mistake, giving Sheets a solid thirty-second lead over second place. Meanwhile, Archer had steadily moved closer to the lead pack, and came through the barrels on lap two right on Gutish’s rear fender. Tricker had slipped back to sixth place, but was less than a second behind Turner, who moved into fifth place.

Archer passed for third very early in lap three, and almost immediately after, Gutish was taken out by a lapped rider and went down hard. By the end of the third lap, the top three had a substantial lead over the rest of the riders, and none of them would sink below a podium position for the remainder of the race. Sheets and Jones each also got tangled up with lappers. Sheets had one big crash involving a lapper, while Jones had several smaller incidents, which she then compounded by overriding to catch back up, resulting in her slamming a tree. Archer was able to capitalize on this to move into second place, with a thirty second lead over Jones going into the final lap.

Though Turner had struggled early on in the race due to a bad start, she was able to gain enough ground on Gutish to make a pass for fourth place near the end of the race. After those two riders, the rest of the field was each spread out by a minute or more, with Tricker in sixth, Brooke Cosner in seventh, Allie Spurgeon in eighth, Alli Phillips in ninth and Taylor Johnson rounding out the top ten.

Going into the final lap, Sheets was trying to be smooth and minimize mistakes after her incident with the lapper. This strategy worked well for her, as she remained unchallenged throughout the last lap and took home the win. When asked about her race, she said "The track was so fun and my bike was working so good - I'm pumped to be back on this Yamaha! I'm so jazzed for this season and ready to keep working and improving. The WXC class is stacked this season and will be one to watch."

Tayla Jones battled throughout the day, and would finish out second overall.
Tayla Jones battled throughout the day, and would finish out second overall. Ken Hill

Archer and Jones had a good battle going right up to the checkered flag, with a better line choice by Jones giving her a second-place finish for the day. She told us “I was pumped to start my race off with a holeshot. I've been working on my starts so I was happy to finally get one. My race kinda went downhill from there. There were some crashes with lapped riders that put me back, then I made a big mistake pushing to catch back up and smashed a tree. My bike and I were both a little beat up, but I was able to get back up and push my way up to second, which I am happy with, and I was able to get some solid points to start off the season."

Meanwhile, Archer was pretty enthusiastic about the race, saying "The track was super awesome, probably one of the coolest GNCCs I've done - except for the number of lapped riders we had to pass (laughs). Tayla and I battled hard at the end, and it ended up coming down to line choice. I'm gutted that she got past me so close to the finish but that's racing!"

Sheets (center), Jones (left) and Archer (right) rounded out the WXC podium on Sunday.
Sheets (center), Jones (left) and Archer (right) rounded out the WXC podium on Sunday. Ken Hill

Gracie Gooch, a frequent visitor to the Girls class podium last season, took home the win at Big Buck. Ellie Winland was second while Nicole Rupert finished third. In the Women’s class Marina Cancro took her first win, while Roni Merrill was the winner in Women’s C.

In the micro bike race, Paisley Harris was the fastest girl, finishing 29th overall. She was followed by Rylee Mattison (34th),  and Matilda Revoyr (37th).

Round two of the series will take place on March 7th and 8th in Palatka, Florida with the Wild Boar GNCC. ATV and Micro racing will take place Saturday and the Bike racing will take place on Sunday.

For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at 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.

Khyler Davis kept that number 1 machine in the center of the podium by earning the Micro ATV overall win.
Khyler Davis kept that number 1 machine in the center of the podium by earning the Micro ATV overall win. Ken Hill

Big Buck GNCC
Union, SC
Round 1 of 13
February 22nd and 23rd

ATV WXC Pro Event Results:

  1. Hannah Hunter (HON) Malaska Motorsports/HMF/Cecco Racing
  2. Traci Pickens (YAM) GBC/Fly/Yamaha
  3. Sadiee Gorrell (YAM) Kenda/Fivesixo Graphics/Custom Axis/Pierce Performance
  4. Angel Magee (HON) Spider Graphics/Custom Axis/ITP Tires
  5. Morgan Solesbee (YAM) DeRisi Racing/Fly/CST Tire
  6. Sydney Sams (HON)
  7. Rileigh Gerges (YAM)
  8. Jaida Phillips (YAM) Rekluse/Tirespine/Estes Motorsports
  9. Kassidy Williams (HON)
  10. Katelyn Osburn (HON) Action Off-Road/Moose Racing/GBC

ATV WXC National Championship Standings:

  1. Hannah Hunter 30
  2. Traci Pickens 25
  3. Sadiee Gorrell 21
  4. Angel Magee 18
  5. Morgan Solesbee 16
  6. Sydney Sams 15
  7. Rileigh Gerges 14
  8. Jaida Phillips 13
  9. Kassidy Williams 12
  10. Katelyn Osburn 11

Bike WXC Pro Event Results:

  1. Becca Sheets (YAM) Maxxis/BABS Racing/Yamaha/Fly
  2. Tayla Jones (HSQ) Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna/Moose
  3. Rachael Archer (YAM) Ampro Yamaha/Moose/PWR
  4. Shelby Turner (KTM) KTM/A&E Racing/FXR/Blud Lubricants/Atlas
  5. Rachel Gutish (BET) Beta USA/Moose/Arai/Mobius
  6. Mackenzie Tricker (KTM) KTM/Enduro Engineering/MEP MX/Fly/Grizzly Peak
  7. Brooke Cosner (KTM) Moose Racing/Wiesco/FMF
  8. Allie Spurgeon (KTM)
  9. Alli Phillips (HQV) LanMills XC/Husqvarna/Moose Racing/Bell
  10. Taylor Johnson (KTM) Trail Jesters KTM

Bike WXC Pro National Championship Standings:

  1. Becca Sheets 30
  2. Tayla Jones 25
  3. Rachael Archer 21
  4. Shelby Turner 18
  5. Rachel Gutish 16
  6. Mackenzie Tricker 15
  7. Brooke Cosner 14
  8. Allie Spurgeon 13
  9. Alli Phillips 12
  10. Taylor Johnson 11

About GNCC Racing

The Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized is the World’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 two and three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 2,400 riders through racetracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks, and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. The series draws talent from all over the U.S., Central America, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. GNCC Racing is televised live on For more information, please visit

How to Watch

Racer TV is the official home for coverage of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 2 p.m. pro ATV and 1 p.m. pro motorcycle races from each event. Catch all the action at

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