Dunlop Tires Tiger Run: Women’s Race Report
UNION, S.C. (April 12, 2023) - The Dunlop Tires Tiger Run for Round 4 of the 2023 Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Specialized, an AMA National Championship, (GNCC Racing) brought us back to Union, SC for more women's racing on April 1-2! The rain came early Saturday morning during the Micro Racing to make for some slippery conditions early in the day, but by Sunday we had near perfect conditions and even some dust. Once again, the female athletes of GNCC showed up in full force from the micros to the WXC classes to show us what they're made of.
In the WXC Bike class, Rachel Gutish on her GasGas Over and Out machine proves she's Trail Jester's Holeshot material too with a leap into the second turn to take the charge into the woods. Trail Jesters KTM Racing’s Korie Steede soon took over the lead position with AmPro Yamaha’s Rachael Archer tailing close and Gutish moving into the third place position. It looked like we were going to have a repeater of the epic Round 1 battle for the win, but after a nasty crash, Steede found herself back in 3rd as Archer built a strong lead. Steede tried to make a charge, but with an unfortunate mechanical, wasn't able to complete the race. Archer continued a strong ride to see the checkers with a 5 minute lead! Taking back to back wins to tie with Steede on first place finishes so far in the 2023 season it should make for a fun championship battle, but it's still anyone's game!
Gutish would come in for 2nd place after a solid ride, and Shelby Turner would unknowingly take 3rd for her first podium finish of the season on her KTM/FXR/Enduro Engineering machine! Prestin Raines took 4th and Kayla O'neil 5th to round out your top 5 in the WXC.
"I got a terrible start", Rachael Archer said on the podium, "my starter button was a little loose and it slipped down when I went to push it, so I was last off the line. I got into third pretty quickly to keep up with Rachel and Korie. I just tried to flow. All the bumps were backwards from Big Buck, so everything wanted to throw you over the bars, so I was trying to open up the track. I started getting a little arm pump when I was with Korie and she pulled a little gap on me, but then she crashed. I hope she's okay and good for the next round. But I was able to get out front, click up a gear and roll through all the big bumps to get a big lead and I'm stoked to take the win!"
Rachel Gutish, excited for her 125th Pro Podium said, "A big thank you to Layne Michael and his dad for helping me practice starts this morning and teach me all the secrets! The conditions were super rough and gnarly, but I had a lot of fun. I spent the first lap and a half thinking 'this is the best thing ever this is so much fun!', and the stomach bug I had earlier in the week kind of made a reappearance. So, I spent the rest of the race thinking ' ahh I hope I don't throw up in my helmet today!'. I'm super super stoked I made it on the podium with all of that, I couldn't be happier."
Shelby Turner commenting on her first 2023 podium, and last race of the season due to her upcoming double knee reconstruction said, "Yeah it's a huge move for me, I've been struggling all year with my knees, just super hard racing. Every time I'm out there I'm trying my best. It was gnarly out there, there were some bumps and it's like square edgy and rocks that you can't really see so it was actually pretty scary to go fast out there. I was just cruising I had no idea where Korie dropped out I didn't even see her. Everyone was cheering for me and giving me, gas and I was thinking 'man, I don't know why they're so excited right now' until they told me I got third! Nothing better than a surprise like that, happy to be up here with these girls they were riding awesome and putting it on the box today is just awesome. This is my last GNCC for the year so I can go home with a nice plate and some more motivation going into next year."
Steede, unable to complete the final lap said, "Mixed emotions after that one. First 2 laps I was struggling getting comfortable and was trying to just manage the race. I ended up pulling a small gap going into lap 2 and found myself on the ground with a twisted up bike. I stopped a few miles after and luckily, I caught some mechanics to straighten the bike back up for me. Thanks boys! I dropped back to 3rd, and I was pretty far back after a few stops to do some more adjustments. Finally got comfortable & fought my way back to 2nd, just when I thought it would be a cruise from there, I ended up having a mechanical problem that put me out of the race! I have all the right people in my corner. Camp Coker will be a good one."
The WXC ATV class kicked off just after the rain ended on Saturday morning, making for a slippery race! The green flag waved and defending champion, Hannah "Hurricane" Hunter, would grab the BNR Motorsports Holeshot on her Fly Racing/OBOR Tires/HMF machine. The battle for the lead was on for four laps between Hunter and JMR/Action Off-Road/GBC/Moose Racing's Katelyn Osburn. They were back and forth and wheel to wheel until the final lap where Hunter would take over the lead and build a gap before taking the checkered flag. Hannah Hunter with back to back wins to creates a similar situation to the WXC Bike class with two racers taking two wins each so far this season! Katelyn Osburn raced in for 2nd just over a minute behind Hunter. Jessica Elioff on her Elioff Racing/BNR Motorsports/GBC Tires/Fly Racing machine, who won the first two rounds of the season, would have some struggles on lap two, but battled back to 3rd to round out the WXC podium. Multi time champion, Traci Pickens takes 4th, and WXC newcomer, Chloe Harper, takes 5th at the Tiger Run GNCC.
"Yeah, I finally got a holeshot!" Hannah Hunter said, "Kate caught me and we battled pretty much the whole race. She got around me, we hit lappers and I got back around her, then I just put my head down to finish the last lap. I'm feeling great, I'm feeling healthy and ready to go for Round 5."
Osburn said, "I had a good start and Hannah and I kind of checked out. The 4x4's were a little tough to get around at first, but we got around them and it was actually a really fun race. We went back and forth, I had the lead for a little bit, then we got into more lappers and Hannah got me. I caught back up to her, and I tried to split her and a lapper, then I hit a tree and rolled. But I'm solid I got back up and I'm happy to finish second and get another podium."
"It was a slick track you had to be patient, which I struggle with that sometimes." Elliof said in the third place spot on the podium. "Just had to ride smart and push yourself when you could. It was challenging, but we pushed through. I feel pretty good going into the next round. Just continuing to work out in between rounds, pushing myself, eat right, and continuing to push forward."
It was another round of three WXC classes racing with the E-MTB's on Saturday evening!
Alexandra Cardoza grabbed the holeshot to lead the pack into the woods. Tayla Jones, multi-time WXC Bike champion, who suffered injuries in the off season was able to line up again in a different discipline and grab the lead early on. Round 1 winner, Ginny McFall followed closely with Cardoza in 3rd. Jones and McFall battled for the lead, but on lap 2 Jones was able to build a small gap. She maintained it for the final 3 laps to reach the checkers and take the win. Ginny McFall would take 2nd and Cardoza 3rd.
Tayla Jones, excited to be up on the GNCC podium again said, "Yeah I was very unprepared today, I decided last second to line up, and then I snapped the chain just sitting on the starting line! We went and got that fixed, a big shoutout to the Gear Specialized guys for getting that done so fast! I was just pumped to go out there and ride again, it's been a long time since I've been on the track just doing anything. I'm pumped to be out here; I had a fun time. The track was sweet, a little bit muddy, but I loved it. All I wanted to do was have some fun, but when we got out there Ginny was sending it, it was so slippery, I thought 'just don't fall over and be silly out here'. It was such a cool race, I had fun."
Defending champion, Ginny McFall, commented on the podium, "It was a tough one! Tayla definitely played it smart, kept it upright, and chose really good lines. The track was constantly changing lap to lap, so she played it smart and definitely earned the win. Hoping for a little less slick track conditions moving forward, and just keep being consistent and playing it smart!"
"It was definitely good to get out and get on the podium again," said newcomer, Alexandra Cardoza, with another 3rd place ride. "The mud wasn't quite as bad as round 1, but there were some sections that were kind of rough."
The women's classes came in big numbers to race their bikes and quads at Tiger Run! We're excited to see such a solid pipeline of girls eager to make it to the WXC classes.
In the Women's Bike class is looking like it's going to be a tight battle for the championship with only 3 points separating the top 3! Ruby Fustini took another win at Round 4 to compete with Carly Lee's wins at the first two rounds. Ellie Winland with consistent podium rides this season grabbed the 2nd place spot, and Carly Lee would take 3rd.
We certainly have a back to back win trend here for the women with Malia Crump taking another Women's ATV class win! Fighting back from 4th place, it wasn't until the last two laps she would take the lead and win by over 2 minutes. Makenna Bruderly took 2nd place, and Haile Fowler grabbed her first podium of the season for 3rd!
Addison Harris is on another roll this season with four for four wins in the Girls Supermini Sr. class! Harris took the lead on lap 2 to build a gap and see the checkered flag with just under a 2 minute lead. Zoe Kimble, eager to break Harris's streak, battles in for 2nd in the race, and Madison "MadDog" Harmon rounds out the podium.
After a couple podium rides in 2023, Madison Luckadoo takes her first win of the season in the ATV Schoolgirl Sr class! From lap 1 to the checkers, Luckadoo secured a 2 minute win over points leader Isabella Gouker in 2nd, and Ryleigh Dearing in 3rd.
The women's classes of GNCC don't end here! With ATV and Bike Women's C, Women's Vet, and multiple youth classes, there's a place for every female athlete to try their hand at GNCC Racing. Follow along with the stories on Instagram at @Women.Of.Moto! We will see you soon for more racing at the Camp Coker Bullet on April 15 and 16!
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.
To get the latest GNCC Racing clothing and merchandise visit https://www.mototees.com.
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.