Ballance Begins Historic GNCC ATV Title Defense on Top
The Florida round of the Can-Am Grand National ATV Cross Country series usually doesn’t treat Team Yamaha’s Bill Ballance very well, but that doesn’t stop him from winning titles at a record pace.And now that the seven-time GNCC Champion has finally started the series off on the right foot with a win at this year’s Parts Unlimited Triton GNCC in Vero Beach , it’s going to be that much tougher for the competition to stop him.
“It’s probably the first time in four of five years that I started the season out right,” said Ballance, who ran up front all the way and ultimately topped East Coast ATV’s Chris Borich for the win. “I’ve been working really hard. I realize I have a chance to do something that no one else has ever done before, and that’s win eight of these championships. I want to thank my wife. She came down here to Florida with me, and she’s been living out of a hotel room for the last nine days and watching the girls, so when I came back from riding at night I could be with the family.”
Ballance actually had to battle with his brother BJ for the lead early, but eventually he made his way around and pulled away to win. His main competition was expected to come from East Coast ATV’s Chris Borich, who won the Florida race in dominant form for the past two years. But Borich had to fight his way from behind to get second.
“I had a bad start, but I think I got the holeshot over the second row,” said Borich. “I must have been a little bit nervous, but I kicked it and it wouldn’t fire. I ate a lot of dust and charged hard, but I had a little arm pump at the beginning. I had a good battle with a few of the guys, but once I made my way by them, I just couldn’t make up any ground.”
A slew of riders battled in podium position throughout the day, including 2005 ATVA National MX Champion Josh Natalie, and sophomore GNCC pro star Chris Bithell. But ultimately a shocker emerged when XC1 Pro Class rookie Taylor Kiser took third.
“I may not have expected it, but all of my fans were expecting me to get up here,” said Kiser, who hails from Alvord , Florida . “This track lends more and more to my style, so we’ll have to see what the rest of the year brings. I had a pretty poor start, but I put my head down and charged through the pack, and made my way through. I don’t have the experience in the woods races further north, yet, so we’ll see.”
William Yokley debuted the Monster Energy/Kawasaki KFX450 with a come-from-behind ride for fourth, with another XC1 rookie, Ryan Morphew, in fifth. BJ Ballance was sixth after leading the first lap of the five-lap event.
Seventh overall went to GT Thunder’s Brandon Sommers, who won the XC2 Pro Am class over Ryan Lane and Don Ockerman. Eighth overall went to Bithell, with Team Excell’s Bryan Cook and GT Thunder’s Chris Jenks in tenth.
In the morning event, Yamaha’s Traci Cecco continued her run of dominance through the Women’s ranks by winning her class and winning the overall. Mike Benson made a switch to the U2 Utility Unlimited class and finished second on a Kawasaki KFX700, and Terry Arick was third with a win in the Super Senior class.
In GNCC ATV Youth racing, Kyle Riley took the overall win.