By: GNCC Racing
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Oct. 31, 2015) – For the second year in a row the XC1 Pro ATV National Championship has been decided at the final round of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC), presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship. Saturday’s AMSOIL Ironman GNCC was a winner-take-all affair in the XC1 class as two of the sport’s biggest names fought to secure the major championship at the 21st running of the Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Ind.
As the green flag dropped for the highly anticipated finale, CST/PirateMX.com/LSR/DeRisi/Tireblocks/SG-backed Adam McGill wasted no time in making his way to the front and claiming the $250 AMSOIL Holeshot Award. And despite a bad jump off the start, N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar’s Walker Fowler quickly made his way up near McGill as they dropped into the woods. However, when they made their way through scoring for the first lap, Fowler had dropped back to 12th, while McGill was just inside the top five.
Fowler was able to quickly pick up the pace after having a small bobble on the first lap and rode aggressively, making his way to fifth by the second lap, ultimately crossing the finish line in fourth. It was not only his eleventh top-five finish, but he also gathered enough points to close the deal on the championship.
“By losing the championship last year I learned a lot,” said Fowler. “I had to pick up the pieces and reset. I cannot thank my family enough; they are really the most important thing in helping me get up here. It is an honor to be the champion of this series. This is surreal.”
The 2015 XC2 Pro Am National Champion, N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar’s Cole Richardson wrapped up the championship at Mountain Ridge and made his XC1 Pro debut at the last round, but suffered mechanical issues. Richardson got out to an early lead and powered himself into the second-place position, proving that he has what it takes to contend for the National title in 2016.
JMR/ATVRiders.com’s Jarrod McClure commanded the lead for a majority of the two-hour race, but started to feel pressure from McGill on the third lap. McGill suffered a mechanical issue, taking him out of the running for the overall win and championship and opening the door for McClure to ride his own race and take home his second overall win of the season.
“I had a good start and was running up front,” said McGill. “I wrecked in the creek crossing, but made my way back up into the lead. The bike was working great and everything was just clicking until the third lap.”
Bithell Racing/Maxxis/Precision’s Chris Bithell pushed his Suzuki throughout the entire race to maintain the third-place position, placing ahead of many of the sport’s best riders and wrapping up the season with a podium finish. In the end it was McClure, Richardson and Bithell who claimed the top three spots on the podium.
Although the XC2 Pro Am Championship was already decided heading into this round, that didn’t slow the competition down. Maryland native Westley Wolfe made his XC2 Pro Am debut and came out with flying colors, ultimately winning his class. JMR/ATVRiders.com’s Randy Hamilton placed second, with Dillinger’s Celtic Pub/Hygear Suspension/Moose/GBC’s Marty Christofferson in third.
It was a bittersweet day as the bikes came to a close for the season in Crawfordsville. Nearly perfect weather conditions surrounded the Ironman Raceway Facility where almost 2,200 riders showed up to compete in America’s premier off-road racing series over the course of two days.
As the green flag dropped for the XC1 Pros, it was N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn who jumped out ahead of the rest of the field, grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award. The quick lead allowed Ashburn to be a consistent threat throughout the entire race.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR-backed Thad Duvall was involved in a first-turn pile up, and once he recovered he was struck with more bad luck with his fuel injector ultimately taking him out of the race.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Josh Strang secured his third overall win and seventh podium finish of the season. Strang was a frontrunner throughout the entire three hours, dominating much of the race and ultimately crossing the finish line with a two-minute lead over second.
AirGroup/Rockstar Energy/Husqvarnas’s Ryan Sipes was the second person to see the checkered flag, but it wasn’t an all-out easy race for him as he fought hard the whole time through lappers.
“I’m committed to this series and having fun with it,” reported Sipes. “I’m getting better; we’ve still got a little ways to go, but we’re getting close. I couldn’t stay off the ground today and the fifth time I went down today I got together with a lapper pretty hard and our bikes tangled up. I was sure that I had the speed to win today and I just need to stay off the ground.”
Ashburn was able to hold onto third overall, making it his seventh top-five finish this season. “This season has been rough compared to last year,” said Ashburn. “We struggled early on and finally got everything dialed in over summer break. I worked hard all break and the results really proved that.”
The XC2 Pro Lites race was a battle from beginning to end with DirtWise/Maxxis/KLIM’s Jason Thomas barely edging out the competition in the fight for the $100 Hot Cams XC2 Holeshot Award. In the end E&H Honda’s Trevor Bollinger stood in the middle of the box for the first time this season. He was followed by Thomas in second and Factory Beta’s Jesse Groemm in third.
The 1:00 p.m. race was broadcast live in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video now. Please click here to view the full three-hour race coverage. In addition to the archived race coverage on RacerTV, a highlight show featuring the event will air on NBC Sports Network Sunday, Dec. 20 at 4:30 p.m. ET. Complete results can be found here.