GNCC Riders Honored at ’09 Banquet

December 7, 2009
Courtesy of GNCC
Over 1100 members of the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series racing community arrived at the annual series’ banquet throughout the weekend, held at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown, W.Va., to celebrate the season’s accomplishments for a final time in 2009. The banquets–held on Friday night for ATVs and Saturday night for motorcycles–recognize the top-ten riders in every GNCC class and also present a variety of specialty awards to riders as voted on by their fellow racers and GNCC staff.

Paul Whibley receives his No. 1 plate after winning the championship.
GNCC Bike Champion Paul Whibley received the Rider of the Year Award during the GNCC Annual Banquet.

Snow had begun to fall the day prior, and the Lakeview resort was blanketed with a few inches of snow, as party-goers filed into the banquet hall. While riders, friends, fans and family enjoyed a buffet meal, photos from the year flashed across two projector screens until the awards ceremony began.

On the bike side, GEICO/JG Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki‘s Paul Whibley, the new GNCC Champion, took the Rider of the Year Award after a video highlighting exciting battles in the XC1 class was shown. Open A rider Chris Bach was presented with the Amateur Rider of the Year Award and Chris Meadows, the Super Mini (14-15) champion was presented with the Youth Rider of the Year Award.

Shock Doctor KTM’s Kailub Russell was presented with the Most Improved Rider Award. The 2009 season saw the XC2 Pro Lites rider move from 16th overall to number five. The Sportsmanship Award went to Joshua Strang, who waved Jimmy Jarrett ahead of him to take the second place finish after the two crashed at the General GNCC.

The Bad Ass Award went to the Wright family whose entire family, including father, mother, son and daughter all race in the GNCC Series. The Hard Luck Award was presented to Thad DuVall, who had to work through a difficult rookie XC1 season. Donna Macan was the recipient of the Good Samaritan Award for her efforts arranging fundraisers to send a team of medical professionals to the International Six Days Enduro with the American team that included GNCC riders Nate Kanney, Cory Buttrick, Kurt Caselli and Mandi Mastin.

The women of the JG Off Road Racing Team were presented with the

Rain the day prior to the Klotz Ironman made for some very muddy challenges. Suzukis Josh Strang entering one of the mud holes.
Suzuki’s Josh Strang won the Sportsmanship Award for his show of good sportsmanship conduct.

Rough and Ready Pit Crew award. The Award of Media Excellence went to Dave Smith and Rodney Tomblin for Track Smack Live. Can-Am was named Sponsor of the Year for their funding of the GNCC Television Shows on the Versus Network.

American Suzuki won the Manufacturer’s Cup based on the finishes of each brand’s top two overall riders in each race. The state of Ohio won the State Championship, based on winning the most GNCC Titles of any state.

Teardrops were given In Memoriam to the families of Blake Kelly, Cletus Kuhn and Robbin Shaffer who were lost during the 2009 season to the GNCC family.

The top five riders in each GNCC Class received contingency awards and prizes from sponsors such as Can-Am, Acerbis, Elka, FMF, ITP, Klotz, Maxxis, Moose Racing, Parts Unlimited, Pirelli, Wiseco, Alpinestars, BRP, Cometic, HiPer Technology, Moto Tees, MUD, National Guard, Ogio, Powersports Grafx, Rekluse, Scott, Thor, Tire Balls, Twin Air and Weekend Warrior.

After the awards ceremony, the banquet moved on to the Can-Am After Party, while the live band Eighties Enough played tons of popular hits from the 1980s. Guests danced until the early hours of the morning, as they celebrated the 2009 season. XC2 Lites rider Jason Thomas was presented with the Best Bod Award during a spirited competition.
The 2010 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series kicks off on February 27th- March 2nd as part of Bike Week at the Westgate River Ranch Resort in River Ranch, Florida, ATV’s racing on Sunday, February 28, and bikes racing on Tuesday, March 2.