Smiley Pushes Polaris Predator ATV to Second at Steele Creek GNCC
Mud and rain no match for Mighty Matt
Morganton, NC – The conditions were tough, but factory Polaris racer Matt Smiley was even tougher. Despite racing through rain and mud, Smiley dug deep and moved from nearly a last-place start to card an amazing second-place finish at the Steel Creek round of the Suzuki Grand National Cross Country Series. It was the best finish ever for a Polaris Predator 500, and one step closer to Smiley’s ultimate goal: a win.
Heavy rain greeted the racers Friday at Steele Creek, which led to extremely muddy conditions on Saturday. It also led to some of the best racing ever as the field passed and repassed each other all over the North Carolina hills. All that passing allowed Smiley to work his way forward against the fastest racers in the world.
“My Polaris Predator was working awesome today,” said Smiley. “I got a horrible start, I must have been dead last, but I kept digging. I just kept pulling my way to the front. I got up into second at the end, and I had made up my mind that I wasn’t letting go of it. There was no way anyone was getting by me, I just kept it pinned!”
It worked, as Smiley crossed the finish line in front of a huge crowd of GNCC fans, and their cheers were loud as they showed appreciation for Matt’s never-say-die comeback effort.
“On the last lap, I was in second when we crossed the water, and Chris (Borich) got by me,” said Smiley. “But I wasn’t worried, I knew there would be a few more tough spots. So we got to another mud bog, and I just took a safe line. I almost got stuck on the previous lap, so I took the safe line, and then Chris got stuck. Then I looked behind me, and I knew if I didn’t get stuck I could hold on to second.”
Smiley did, posting the best finish yet for his new factory Polaris effort. “I have to thank Polaris, they are behind me 110 percent, and whatever I ask them for, they help me out with,” said Smiley. “They’re an awesome company to ride for.”
Smiley’s sponsors include Safari Motorsports, Maxxis, Axis Shocks and Klotz Lubricants.
Smiley’s ride wasn’t the only podium performance for a Polaris rider. Brandon Boso took his Polaris Predator 90 to second overall in the first round of the new GNCC Youth ATV Series, a great debut performance.
The next Suzuki GNCC event comes up in two weeks at the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina.
The AMA-sanctioned Suzuki Grand National Cross Country series is America’s premier off-road racing series. The 13-round series is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Cross-country racing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The nearly three-hour long GNCC races lead as many as 1500 riders through tracks ranging from eight to twelve miles in length. With varied terrain including hills, mud, dirt, rocks and motocross sections, GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed. GNCC featured sponsors include Parts Unlimited, ATVParts.Biz Moose, Maxxis, Pirelli, Wiseco, atv, Klotz, FMF and ITP atv parts, and riders compete for over $1.3 million in series prizes and contingency money. The Suzuki GNCC Series airs weekly TV shows on the Outdoor Life Network. Associate sponsors include Moose Utility Division, Scott, Alpinestars, Öhlins, Cometic, Outerwears, Race Tools, Twin Air, SFB Racing, Thor, Motion Pro, MotoTee’s, Warrior and Laeger’s. Media Sponsors include Dirt Rider Magazine, ATV Sport Magazine and Racer X Illustrated ATV.INFO. For more information log on to GNCCRacing.com.