Charlie Mullins (above) leads the board for the first-ever GNCC double-header at Loretta Lynn’s. He will try to keep the points lead ahead of the three-way battle with Josh Strang and Paul Whibley.
This one counts of all the marbles-twice! In a typical 13-round Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series schedule, the final round of racing would consist of one three-hour race, awarding 30 points to the winner and usually housing a class champion already. However, due to a pair of rain cancellations earlier in the season, the 2011 season finale will come down to TWO races on the same weekend-an unprecedented test for the world’s fastest off-road motorcycle racers.
This weekend, November 4-6, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch will play host to the first-ever GNCC double-header in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., and the event boasts the dramatic conclusion to an epic three-way battle for off-road supremacy in the world’s most competitive motorcycle series. Three of the sport’s biggest stars-North Carolina’s Charlie Mullins, Australia’s Josh Strang and New Zealand’s Paul Whibley-will settle the 2011 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Championship over the course of one action-packed weekend.
Points leader Charlie Mullins has used his FMF KTM to prove himself one of the most consistent and reliable racers on the circuit, giving him a 38-point lead heading into the final rounds of racing (the bikes will run a make-up round, as compared to a single race for the ATVs). But since the bikes are racing on Friday and Sunday this weekend, there are still 60 points up for grabs between the two races. As we’ve seen with Mullins’ biggest rival – defending champion Josh Strang-anything can happen in three hours of intense racing through the woods, let alone six in the case of Loretta Lynn’s!
The Loretta Lynn’s course is the oldest and most dynamic stop on the GNCC tour, as the hills of Tennessee make for rough and rocky trails with plenty diabolical obstacles in between.
AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley is one of the most tenacious riders on the circuit and the “Axe Man” will stop at nothing to put his YZ450-F in front of the pack. Whibley ran into problems in the beginning of the season, but has come back with vengeance as he’s pulled himself within three points of second place FMF Makita Suzuki rider Josh Strang in the point standings.
Luck has never been on Mullins’ side as far as sealing championships, and this weekend the points leader will be put to the test in two final races to prove that he can claim a championship title amongst the fastest off-road racers in the world.
Several other class championships will wrap up this weekend at the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and the excitement of the season finale will be second to none.
Local riders are invited to race the event as well, as GNCC racing offers classes for riders of all skill and experience levels. The amateur racer entry fee is $40 and riders can sign up at the track.
Spectator passes run $15 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., beginner riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m.
For more information and directions to the event, visit the series website at www.gnccracing.com.