by: Kayla Bolton
Friday, December 16, 2022 | 11:00 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GNCC Racing Celebrates National Champions
This Past Weekend in Morgantown, West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (December 16, 2023) – This past weekend Racer Productions, producer of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship celebrated their 2022 season in Morgantown, West Virginia at the Morgantown Marriott Banquet Hall. Over 100 National Champions were crowned, along with over 16 specialty award winners being recognized over the course of two nights.
On Friday evening the ATV and eMTB Champions and Top 10 in each class were honored throughout the night with top Rider of the Year honors going to Brycen Neal for his first-ever overall GNCC ATV National Championship. The 4x4 Rider of the Year award went to 4x4 Pro Champion, Cody Collier. Saturday evening the Motorcycle Champions and Top 10 in each class were recognized with Rider of the Year going to Jordan Ashburn for his first-ever overall GNCC Bike National Championship.
Specialized would sponsor the Amateur and Youth Rider of the Year awards once again, presenting the winner a Specialized electric mountain bike. Jeremy LeDonne would be awarded the Amateur ATV Rider of the Year as he clinched the Junior A (22+) National Championship this year. The Specialized Turbo eMTB Amateur Rider of the Year went to Cooper Kuneff for his fifth overall finishing position at the end of the season. The Youth Rider of the Year was awarded to Cole Lykins for finishing first overall in the Youth ATV ranks as well as first in the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class Championship standings for 2022. Vet Rider of the Year was awarded to Jeff Pickens after he earned the Vet A (30+) National Championship.
On the Motorcycle side the Specialized Amateur Rider of the Year went to Michael DeLosa who had the highest ranking in National Numbers while racing in an amateur class at the conclusion of the 2022 season. The Specialized Youth Rider of the Year was given to Nicholas DeFeo after winning 11-straight YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class wins as well as youth overall wins this season. The Vet Rider of the Year was awarded to Mark Heresco Jr. of the Vet A (30+) class as he had the highest ranking out of the vet classes this season.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC returned with the Ticket to Ride giveaway, where two winners from each night were chosen at random to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to a unique riding excursion in Moab, Utah. On Friday evening Jeremy VanFossen and Hayden Hunter were picked to attend the UTV ride with a guest of their choice. Then on Saturday it was James Bower and Taylor Johnston that were chosen to go on the motorcycle ride in Moab during the Spring.
Comeback Rider of the Year was awarded to Wesley Smith on Friday evening as he came back from a horrific accident at Tiger Run last season. Smith was life flighted from the event after his ATV landed on him. Smith not only had his facial bones crushed, but an air pocket between his skull and protective membrane on his brain. He would end up having to have surgery where they would have to rebreak bone in his face to release the optic nerve for his eye. Smith was able to comeback last season for 3 races, and then compete a full season this year where he finished runner-up in the Warrior class.
On Friday evening the Pit Crew of the Year was awarded to Mechanic Michael Segers. Not only does Segers maintain 4x4 Pro Champion Cody Collier's ATV, but he assists with numerous other amateur racers' ATVs and manages the upkeep on his own ATV that he rode to a third place position in the 4x4 A class. Then on Saturday evening, the Magna1 Motorsports crew was awarded the Pit Crew of the Year. The Magna1 team earned both XC1 ATV and Motorcycle National Championships, as well as the FMF XC3 Championship, while also helping many amateur and youth racers each weekend at the races.
On the ATV side the Manufacturer Cup would go to Yamaha Motor Corp, and on the Motorcycle side it would go to Husqvarna Motorcycles. Sponsor of the Year was awarded to GBC Powersports Tires on Friday night. GBC has continued to support the series and racers. They stepped up, holding the title sponsor of the Burr Oak GNCC event for the past two years, while also supporting the Moto Hero awards at each round. GBC supplied a set of free Kanati Truck Tires to each Moto Hero during the season.
The coveted State Championship was awarded to Ohio ATV racers that earned a Championship. Those riders included: Brycen Neal, Rick Marino, Cody Collier, Gavin Jenkins, Lionel Trebilcock, Chloe Harper, Erin Hendershot, Kenn Bower, Curtis Crump, Jacob Smallwood, Makenna Smallwood, Bryson Dickerson, Bentley Groves and Brantley Slack. On the bike side it was Pennsylvania taking the State Championship with the following riders earning a National Championship: Cole Whitmer, Lane Whitmer, Grant Davis, Andrew Enman, Owen Barnes, Joe Marsh, Cody Hissem, Keihin Rupp, Ryan Miller, Ray Hench, Dave Lettrich
During the ATV and eMTB celebrations, the series and racers also congratulated Johnny Gallagher and Charlie Mullins on their retirement from professional racing. On Friday and Saturday series celebrated Mr. “Tennnn Seconds” himself, Rodney Tomblin, as he steps down from announcing the series full-time.
Each year GNCC Racing honors those who have passed. This year 12 people were honored, 6 ATV night and 6 on Motorcycle night. “Big” John Knox’s mother, Patricia Knox passed away. Walker Fowler’s grandmother, Joanne Miller-Fowler was honored as well as Jeff Russell’s uncle Lance Russell. Kayla Bolton’s father, Denny Olliver, was honored Friday along with Dana Papanicolas’ grandmother, Vera Lee Humphreys. Jerri Mackey recently lost her father, Harland Headlee who was honored. Last year Steve Leivan lost his father on Christmas Eve, Frank Leivan. Racer, Greg Grimm lost his mother Doris Grimm this year. Fred Andrew’s father passed, Phil Andrews. Longtime Coombs family friend and Racer Productions worker, Mary Yezek passed earlier in the year. GNCC Women racer, Rachel Harris was honored as she also finished second in the championship standings. High Point Raceway’s Jack Holbert was also honored this year as he passed away just a couple of months ago.
The 2023 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series presented by Specialized, kicks off on February 18-19 in Union, South Carolina with Round 1 – Big Buck GNCC. For the full 2023 schedule, click HERE.
For more information on the GNCC 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.
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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 12-round motorcycle and ATV championship and 9-round eMTB 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 2,700 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 RacerTV.com. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Founded in 1924, the AMA is a not-for-profit member-based association whose mission is to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling. As the world's largest motorcycling rights and event sanctioning organization, the AMA advocates for riders' interests at all levels of government and sanctions thousands of competition and recreational events every year. The AMA also provides money-saving discounts on products and services for its members. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, the AMA honors the heroes and heritage of motorcycling. For more information, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com. Not a member? Join the AMA today: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.