by: Allie Spurgeon
Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | 10:50 AM
The Specialized General: Women's Race Report
Hunter and Archer Take WXC Wins in Georgia
Back-to-back weekends of Grand National Cross Country Racing presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) for the women, and Round 3, The Specialized General, was one for the books. A light rain on Friday made for perfect dirt at The General for the ATV's on Saturday, but Mother Nature had other plans for the bikes on Sunday. The downpour started early morning and never stopped, making for one epic mud race. Here's how things shook out in the changing conditions.
With clear skies, prime Georgia dirt, and a few mudholes, the WXC ATV class gave the fans quite the show on Saturday. WXC newcomer, Chloe Harper, grabbed the BNR Motorsports Holeshot, but it quickly became a four way battle for the lead. Only four seconds separated JMR/Action Off-Road/GBC/Moose Racing’s Katelyn Osburn, Elioff Racing/BNR Motorsports/GBC Tires/Fly Racing’s Jessica Elliof, Team Pickens/GBC Tires/Yamaha Racing/Fly Racing’s Traci Pickens, and Hurricane Hannah/Fly Racing/OBOR/HMF’s Hannah Hunter coming in for lap one, and that didn't change for nearly the entire race. Swapping places lap to lap, it was defending champion Hunter who would reach the checkers first.
"I sat in 4th most of the day, I got Kate [Osburn] when she pitted and then made the pass on Jess [Elioff]. I knew I had to pass Traci [Pickens] going into that last lap, we got it done in the fields, just held it wide and we got past her," said 'Hurricane' Hannah.
Osburn who led the first two laps of the race came through the checkers just two seconds behind Hunter. "That was awesome, it was definitely strategy. It felt good to lead again, I led almost every lap. I got passed in the pits by three people, and then I made it up on the last lap to make the passes for second right behind Hannah. I'm looking forward to the next one," Osburn said on the podium.
Jessica Elliof was in the mix of the battle the whole race and came through for a podium finish just under a minute off of Osburn, with pressure for the position from Pickens finishing right on her wheels. "It was fun, I like racing with the girls. The track was a little sketchy, but we made it through and we're still on the podium, so I'm happy," Elliof said.
The WXC Bikes had an entirely different story come Sunday morning. The rain began early morning and continued to flood the track, but that didn't stop the female athletes in the 10am race from lining up to battle.
As the green flag waved, Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede splashed through the standing water to grab her third Trail Jesters Holeshot in a row. Soon after she had a bad crash and was stuck for a moment, she found herself outside the top three. To check in on lap one, it was GASGAS/Over and Out/RG Factory Racing’s Rachel Gutish who held the lead just a couple seconds over KTM/FXR/Enduro Engineering’s Shelby Turner, with defending champion AmPro Yamaha-backed racer, Rachael Archer following close behind. Gutish held the lead through the white flag as Archer made her way into second just 10 seconds behind.
The track at this point had water standing everywhere, the racers had no way of knowing if it was two inches or two feet deep underneath. Gutish had an issue early in the final lap costing her the lead to Archer and losing sight of her, but the race wasn't over yet. Just a couple miles before the finish, Archer found herself stuck as well. As she made her way out, Gutish was on her tail and the race to the checkers was on. Just under the finish line arch, Archer went down, and with nowhere to go, Gutish rode straight over her bike. But Archer had crashed just in time to cross the line and take the win in one heck of a photo finish fashion.
"I felt good, I was just trying to keep the bike alive. I had no front brake and got stuck in a really deep hole at the end, I had to lift my wheel out. Just as I was getting going, I looked behind and Rachel had caught me. So, I was just sprinting trying to get to the finish, trying not to make mistakes. I ended up going down right through the finish, but my handlebars were just through, so I think my transponder beeped when I fell. But we made it and we're on top of the box, so I'm stoked," Archer says on her round 3 win.
Gutish coming in 2nd, nearly on top of Archer said, "the race was super fun, I'm a big fan of the mud, we all know that. Super stoked with how I rode. Archer fell in front of me right under the arch and I sort of ran her over because there was nowhere to go. She crossed the transponder line first, so she won, but I'm super happy with my race."
Steede made a final lap effort to pass Shelby Turner and take the final spot on the podium. "Honestly I'm really proud of myself for making it on the podium, I was sitting in 4th for a while. This is the first time I've really ridden a mud race like this, so I learned a lot and I'm really happy we left the weekend learning so much," said an optimistic Steede.
The WXC eMTB class started their first round of the season off with a bang! After Ashley Hendershot grabbed the holeshot to lead into the woods, it was a nail biting battle between defending champion Specialized/Gear Bicycle Sales’ Ginny McFall and USWE Sports/Void Cycling’s Kelly Jones all the way to the checkered flag. Back and forth over and over for the duration of the race, McFall would come in for the win with Jones less than one second behind her. Newcomer Alexandra Cardoza grabbed the 3rd place position to stand on the podium with Hendershot finishing not far behind.
McFall chiming in on the battle said, "It was awesome, we couldn't have asked for a better race. The conditions were sloppy, but it was great, we had a blast. It was clean racing, good racing, hard racing, so we couldn't have asked for a better one."
Jones said the battle was "amazing, it makes it so much more fun because it's just a battle the entire time. One of us would make a mistake and the other would pass, and we just kept going back and forth. Ginny was ahead in the last lap and kept it upright. I was trying to get passed but I couldn't, so I was just on her wheel, and she took the win. It really made for a fun race, we were chatting and laughing going through the mud the whole time, it was awesome."
In the Women's ATV class, Malia Crump made a final lap effort to take her first win of the year! Anna Nicely who held the lead majority of the race, but she held on after the pass for 2nd. After a back of the pack start, Tory Mittendorf made passes all race to take 3rd place on Saturday.
Despite the conditions on Sunday, it was impressive to see 11 athletes line up in the Women's Bike class, four of which stayed on the lead lap! Ruby Fustini held strong in the mud to grab her first win of the season. Ellie Winland, with a top 3 streak this year took 2nd place. Carly Lee who took the win at the first two rounds stayed consistent in the precipitation to round out your top 3.
Isabella Gouker led the entire race for the ATV Schoolgirl Sr class all the way to the checkers. Madison Luckadoo also stayed on the lead lap for 2nd place, and Ryleigh Dearing took another top 3 finish for the season.
Despite the same podium we've seen 3 rounds in a row in the Girls Supermini Bike class, it wasn't until the last lap that things settled. Zoey Kimble held the mud race lead for four laps with Maddison "MadDog" Harmon close behind. Addison Harris held third until the final lap, dropping the hammer for two passes to make it three wins in a row! Zoey Kimble stayed close for second place, and Harmon took 3rd.
From the hot, dry, Florida sand, to the cold Georgia mud of mad proportions just seven days later, it was a bike week to remember for the Women of GNCC. The next round of GNCC Racing will take place back in Union, South Carolina with the Dunlop Tires Tiger Run on April 1-2, 2023. This will also host the second round of the Specialized Turbo eMTB GNCC National Championship on Saturday at 5 pm. For more information on the event, and to buy tickets online click HERE.
Catch GNCC Pro ATV and Motorcycle Racing free via RacerTV.com all season long. Pro ATV Racing starts Saturday’s at 2pm ET, with the exception of Big Buck, Snowshoe and Ironman events where they will start at 1pm ET. GNCC Pro Motorcycle Racing will begin at 1pm ET on Sunday’s. Later in the year GNCC Racing will premiere on MAVTV with event highlight episodes.
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.
- Facebook: @gnccracing
- Instagram: @gncc_racing
- Twitter: @gnccracing
- YouTube: @racertv
How to Watch
Racer TV and MAVTV are the official homes for coverage of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) events. All 12 rounds, from the season opener in South Carolina to the finale, will air in taped-delayed telecasts on MAVTV, while Racer TV provides live streaming coverage of the 2 p.m. ATV and 1 p.m. motorcycle races from each event. Catch all the action at http://www.mavtv.com/ and http://www.racertv.com/.
About GNCC Racing
The Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, is the world premier cross country 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 2,800 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.