Two weeks ago, the Weekend Warrior Titan round of the 2009 Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series threw more than a few surprises to the bike ranks. In muddy conditions, GEICO/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki's Paul Whibley took a decisive win, adding a new level of tension in the season as the points race heats up heading into this weekend's Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
Mullins had a bad first couple of laps but recovered to come in third and take second in the points standings over Josh Strang.
FMF Makita Suzuki's Josh Strang came into the race riding a three-race win streak and held the points lead, but Strang's fourth-place finish in the mud dropped him to third in the points standings, behind teammate Charlie Mullins. But the three are still close together in the points. Whibley is only nine points ahead of Mullins. Only one point separates Mullins from Strang.
The mud rattled Strang, who said he came into the race not mentally prepared for the conditions, despite having won at a slightly-less -muddy Loretta Lynn's GNCC two weeks prior. Mullins recovered from a slow start to slowly move into a leading position to get on the podium. Whibley's teammate Jimmy Jarrett is even getting in on the podium action, with top-three finishes in the last two races.
Round seven of the series travels to the Mountain Ridge GNCC in Somerset, PA, which is drastically different from the other tracks. Mountain Ridge is known for its brutality, with rocks and boulders scattered throughout the track. A win by any of the top three riders will upset the balance and shift the standings again.
Other contenders looking for their first wins of the season include Shock Doctor KTM's duo of Nathan Kanney and Kurt Caselli, Am-Pro FMF Yamaha's Barry Hawk and Thad DuVall, and Husvqvarna's Glenn Kearney.
Kailub Russell leads the XC2 class for KTM headed into the Mountain Ridge in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
In the XC2 class, Shock Doctor KTM's Kailub Russell and Cory Buttrick, GEICO/JG Racing Monster Kawasaki's Scotty Watkins and Monster Energy/Andrews Yamaha's Jason Thomas are leading the march, with the young riders battling back and forth each week as they race for their championship.
At Mountain Ridge, ATVs race on Saturday and bikes race on Sunday. Sunday's pro bike race runs for three hours and begins at 1 p.m. Tickets cost just $15 for the full weekend, and include full pro pit access and autographs.
The track is located in Reels Corner, Pa., on Route 160 just South of the intersection of Route 160 and Route 30. Only 20 minutes from both the Somerset Exit 110 and the Bedford Exit 145 of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
From Somerset, follow Route 281 North to Route 30 then take Route 30 East to Reels Corner and follow Route 160 South to Boone Road. Track is on the left. From Bedford follow Route 30 West to Reels Corner and follow Route 160 South.
About GNCC Racing
The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is America's premier off-road racing series. Founded in 1973, the 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The grueling three-hour GNCC races lead as many as 1,800 riders through tracks ranging in length from eight to 12 miles, competing for more than $3 million in prizes. With varied terrain, including hills, woods, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. For more information, please visit www.gnccracing.com