The Motosport.com Snowshoe GNCC marks the halfway point in the 2012 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series as Round 8 of the 13-race tour heads to eastern West Virginia this weekend. The two-way championship battle continues to tighten between current XC1 points leader Paul Whibley and young gun Kailub Russell. With only five points separating first and second place, this weekend’s Snowshoe GNCC has the potential to stir up the points lead once again. But that’s not the only thing to keep an eye out for; there are several wildcard riders that could land a win in the rocky hills of Snowshoe Mountain.
AmPro Yamaha’s Paul Whibley will wear the coveted white background with red numbers aboard his YZF450, indicating he has the points lead for Round 8 this weekend. Whibley solely gained the points lead from Factory FMF/KTM’s Kailub Russell as the two entered Round 7 tied for points and Whibley’s victory gave him a slight edge coming into one of the toughest courses on the circuit.
The Snowshoe course is known for its deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and near-vertical hill climbs, usually throwing an additional element to the already demanding three-hour race. WMR/KTM’s Rory Mead typically excels in technical terrain like Snowshoe. In fact, Mead held the overall lead on time adjustment from the XC2 class in 2011, giving him a confidence boost heading into this weekend’s race. Mead currently holds the fourth place spot in the point standings, only three points behind Factory FMF KTM’s Charlie Mullins.
Shenandoah Honda/Offroadchampion’s Thad DuVall, Williamstown, W. Va., may have the biggest home court advantage on the rocky West Virginia terrain. DuVall currently sits fifth in the series standings with a consistent string of top five finishes this season.
KTM/Fly Racing/WPUSA/PG-backed Privateer Steward Baylor Jr. sat out Round 7 due to a hand injury, but the 17-year-old will compete at Snowshoe this weekend. Baylor swept the first five races this season and since then, it’s been F.A.R Husky’s Andrew DeLong out front. DeLong missed the first two rounds of racing this season, which keeps him back in the fourth place position in points but DeLong has been tough to beat the past two rounds. KR4 Performance’s Jason Thomas still holds the second place spot behind Baylor and the UK native has been slowly inching his way towards the center of the podium, scoring consistent second place finishes.
Four-wheeled ATVs will compete throughout the day on Saturday, June 23, and dirt bikes will race on Sunday, June 24. Local riders are invited to race the event, as GNCC 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 $20 for the full weekend, with pro pit access and pro autographs at no additional charge. On both Saturday and Sunday, youth riders race at 8 a.m., amateur riders race at 10 a.m., and the top amateurs and the pros race at 1 p.m. Special activities include a Craig Morgan concert Saturday evening at 7 p.m., FREE with the purchase of a weekend gate admission.
To get to the track, take US-219 until you see signs for Snowshoe Mountain Resort, follow signs to the top of the mountain.
For more information, check out the official series website at www.GNCCRacing.com or call 304-284-0084.