MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 24, 2015) – As the 2015 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series presented by Maxxis, an AMA National Championship, heads into round three this weekend, a new championship dynamic presents itself in the XC1 Pro ATV class. Adam McGill currently tops the championship standings heading into Saturday’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC and, while it’s still early in the season, the pole position is something that McGill has not experienced since his rookie year in 2008.
With a consistent string of podium finishes in 2014, McGill interjected himself into championship contention amid an intense battle between multi-time GNCC Champion Chris Borich and Walker Fowler. However, one bad race dropped McGill just outside of reach as Borich and Fowler battled it out to the very final moments of the season.
Fowler came out swinging at the season opener, emerging victorious despite an illness throughout the days leading up to the race. Still recovering, Fowler finished third at round two to keep himself within five points of the championship lead heading into round three this Saturday.
Following a third-place finish at round one, six-time GNCC National Champion Chris Borich ran into a mechanical issue at the second round where he ultimately ended his day with zero points toward the championship chase. The Factory Yamaha/SSi/Maxxis Tires-backed rider enters round three with a 34-point deficit from McGill’s lead, but the champ knows there’s plenty of racing left to go in 2015.
It’s been a solid start to the season for Maxxis/B. Neal Motorsports’ Brycen Neal, who earned a career-best second-place finish at the last round. Neal has stepped up his game in 2015 and the young gun has shown great speed and consistency thus far. Bithell Racing/Maxxis/Precision-backed Chris Bithell has been consistent through the first two rounds as well, with two fifth-place finishes behind him. Bithell, too, has shown great speed early on and will be another favorite for race wins as the season continues. Coastal/Waynesburg Yamaha’s Jay Shadron just narrowly finished off the podium at the previous round, which proved to be a breakthrough ride for the young Pennsylvania native. Shadron has proven that he has what it takes to mix it up with the veterans of the sport this season.
N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha/Maxxis/Lonestar’s Cole Richardson experienced some issues at the last round, but the 2014 XC2 Pro Am Champion put forth an impressive come-from-behind finish to capture his second straight win of the season. Richardson currently sits seventh in the overall standings amid a talented field of XC1 Pro competition.
Dillingers/Hygear’s Marty Christofferson sits only ten points behind Richardson in the championship standings as he holds two consistent second-place finishes so far this season. Christofferson has yet to finish in the center of the podium, but the New York native inches his way closer to the top with each round.
With two wins behind him already in the XC1 Bike Pro Class, two-time GNCC National Champion Kailub Russell looks to make it three straight at this weekend’s FMF Steele Creek GNCC, an event that is now considered his home race.
Another North Carolina transplant, Josh Strang, will also attempt to utilize the home-turf advantage this Sunday as he looks to capture his first victory of the season. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider, who is also the 2010 GNCC National Champion, currently sits only ten points back in second place, as he remains the closest rider to Russell’s recent reign over the XC1 Pro class.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR Husqvarna’s Thad DuVall sits in the third-place position following a podium finish at the last round. DuVall holds a two-point advantage over JCR Honda’s Chris Bach, as both riders have maintained consistent top-five finishes through the first two rounds.
N-Fab AmPro Yamaha’s Jordan Ashburn didn’t get the start he was looking for at round one, but the Tennessee native bounced back at the second round to capture fourth overall. Ashburn, who holds the number-three rank from 2014, is a tough competitor and will undoubtedly be a podium contender once again this season. Ashburn’s AmPro Yamaha teammate and XC1 Pro class rookie, Grant Baylor, sits close behind in the overall standings as he continues to build his career in the premier ranks.
Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KR4/FAR’s Nick Davis holds the early lead in the XC2 Pro Lites class with a hard charge from DirtWise/Maxxis/KLIM’s Jason Thomas after only two rounds. The pair each owns a win as they head into round three with a four-point difference in the class standings.
XC2 Pro Lites rookie Craig Delong currently holds the third-place position, with RideMPS.com/AMSOIL/Honda’s Layne Michael in fourth and Factory Beta’s Cory Buttrick rounds out the top five in the class.