Borich tops Ballance and Bithell in a GNCC Battle for the Ages and ATVs
The Killer B’s keep battling – and now they’re multiplying. At round three of the Suzuki Grand National Cross Country ATVs Series, the tight and twisting Steele Creek GNCC, Honda’s Chris Borich and Yamaha’s Bill Ballance battled as hard and fast as they ever have, with Borich coming out in an all-time classic by just inches at the finish. Behind them came a third Killer B, pro rookie Chris Bithell on his Honda ATV.
“I’m very happy with this one,” said Borich. “I knew it was going to be pretty tough. I was back to fourth at one point on the last lap. Bill had a good 10 or 15 second lead. I had to just dig down.”
Borich was able to make the final pass in the last mile, and the two superstars, who seemed deadlocked on speed, came racing toward the finish wide-open in a dramatic showdown. Borich made the pass in front of a crowd of screaming fans and held on to win, helping extend his early-season points lead over Ballance.
“It’s a lot of fun to get out there and battle for one, but I’m not one for losing,” said Ballance, who took $100 from ITP for collecting the ITP Holeshot Award. “I don’t like that one bit. It gets a little fire burning and we’ll just try to come back and be that much tougher next race.”
The final pass came down to one line on the last lap. “I didn’t think I would be able to take the line Bill wanted, but if he wasn’t going to take it, I was,” said Borich. “He didn’t take it so that’s how I got him.”
Meanwhile, Bithell was engaged in the fight of his life to try to finish third, battling with Yoshimura Suzuki’s William Yokley. Yokley got stuck and Bithell held on to an emotional third.
“It just feels great to come up here,” said Bithell. “I don’t have words for you. It’s great. I love it. Everybody was battling back and forth. We swapped places so many times the last lap, I just can’t count them. I didn’t get such a great hole shot and I worked my way up and I finally caught up to some of those guys, we started running and running and swapping places. I just kept riding harder and harder and someone else would make a mistake. It just turned out great.”
Another pro rookie, Duane Johnson, finished fourth overall, just a few seconds behind Bithell. Yokley was fifth, and Chris Jenks was in the hunt all day as well and ended up sixth. Seventh went to Michael Houston, with Adam McGill eighth, Andy Lagzdins ninth and Brandon Ballance tenth.
The Steele Creek GNCC drew 1513 individual riders and ATVs between the Youth, ATV and bike classes. The race was taped for an airing on the Outdoor Life Network as part of the Racer TV Series. GNCC TV begins on Saturday, April 1st at 3 p.m. and runs on Saturdays and Wednesdays at 3 p.m. every week.
Yamaha’s Traci Cecco won the morning ATV overall after a big battle with Angel Atwell. Both riders raced in the GNCC Women’s Class. Walker Fowler continued his run through the ATV Youth Ranks with the Youth overall win.
The Suzuki GNCC Series continues in two weeks with the Pirelli Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina. .
Suzuki ATVs Grand National Cross Country Series - Round 3
Steele Creek, Morganton, NC
March 24, 2006
ATV Top Twenty Overall
1. Chris M. Borich Sunbury, PA HON 2:00:43
2. Bill V. Ballance Oakland, KY YAM 2:00:46
3. Chris Bithell Irwin, PA HON 2:01:07
4. Duane Johnson Trenton, MO HON 2:01:12
5. William Yokley Tompkinsville, KY SUZ 2:01:46
6. Chris Jenks Washington, WV HON 2:01:56
7. Michael S. Houston Hickory, NC HON 2:02:48
8. Adam Mcgill West Union, WV HON 2:03:46
9. Andris Lagzdins Baltimore, MD ROL 2:05:21
10. Brandon Ballance Oakland, KY YAM 2:05:24
11. Johnny Gallagher Aurora, OH HON 2:06:05
12. Sean Neidlinger Flagtown, NJ HON 2:06:06
13. James L. Wahl Shillington, PA HON 2:06:24
14. Craig Reed Crawford, TN HON 2:06:27
15. Tyler Lenig Shamokin, PA HON 2:06:34
16. Jeffrey Pickens Lemont Furnace, PA YAM 2:06:57
17. Rhett M. Butler Oak Grove, MO HON 2:07:09
18. Scott Barron New Cumberland, WV HON 2:07:11
19. Jarrod Mcclure Kaska, PA HON 2:07:22
20. Brent Sturdivant Montrose, WV HON 2:08:40